Throwback Thursday – 5 Favorite EXPO 2017 Moments

What a whirlwind. Somehow it’s already January 2018, kids are back in school, and CYT winter sessions are well underway. But today we’re throwing it back to June 2017 when the sun was hot, school was out, and we spent the best four days of the entire summer at the 2017 CYT EXPO!

Last year about 200 students, 120 leaders, and 110 spectators from all across the nation came together in sunny San Diego to “Seize the Day”. Throughout all leadership training sessions, theatre Master Classes, meal times, and activities, here’s a brief look back at 5 of our favorite EXPO 2017 moments.


The photo booth is always a hit and let me tell you, theater kids sure know how to take entertaining pictures. Popular themes include (but are not limited to): pictures with food; spelling CYT with arms; funny faces; dramatic scenes. Don’t worry, the photo booth will be back for 2018!

Find your pictures from the photo booth here! 



Speaker, author, and CYT Chicago alum Jon Jorgenson performed several spoken word pieces and shared how performing can be used to influence people and change lives. He also led a workshop and spent time just hanging out with the students and leadership!

Want to see what Jon’s working on next? Follow his facebook page and subscribe to his YouTube channel!



Who doesn’t love a good laugh? The Improvathon teams train every year for several sessions before coming to EXPO, and their hard work definitely shows! Congrats again to the 2017 Improvathon Finalists – CYT San Diego‘s “Yoda King of New York” and “Newsboyz II Men” – and the 2017 Improvathon Champions, CYT Kansas City‘s “Black and White and Rad All Over”!


4 – PARTY LIKE IT’S 1899

Dressing like a newsboy, watching the Broadway recording of Newsies, and dancing the night away with 200 of friends? That is definitely an example of seizing the day! What kind of radical opening night party will we have this year??



Each morning we had some awesome worship led by CYT alum, students, and friends, but one morning was a little different from the rest. Due to another event taking place next door, we moved our worship outside and had an acoustic set to start off the day! It was definitely a hit. Maybe we’ll have an acoustic set again?

CYT EXPO 2017 was a blast! I know, this post probably made you miss it. But don’t worry, your chance to “be radical” at the 2018 CYT EXPO is coming up fast! Registration opens on February 1!! Get stoked!



My CYT Story: Growing with Friends and Faith

Madison M. from CYT Riverside wanted to share her CYT story with you!

I first started CYT when I was in the fourth grade. I was very nervous about doing it, because I am a very shy person and it is a little hard for me to make friends because of how quiet I am. The first couple classes I sat by myself when it was break time, but then one day I was sitting there for a little bit and this girl named Kiarah came up to me. We started talking and we became good friends. I then started to talk to more people there and I became SUPER CLOSE with some of the people I met my first year. CYT has definitely helped me with my social skills and even my stage presence. One thing I do love about CYT is that it is a place to basically get away from the hard reality of the world and hang out and just praise Jesus with people you love!!!! I am SO EXTREMELY BLESSED the Lord brought CYT into my life, because I have no idea what I would do without it.

Want to share your story? Students, alumni, teachers, directors, patrons, cast, crew, staff members, and any other friend of CYT, these stories are for you to write and the world to read. You can also submit your story to the My CYT Story Competition! Deadline to submit for the 2018 competition is April 1!

My CYT Story: Spreading Joy

The following story was submitted by Katie T. from CYT San Antonio for our 2018 My CYT Story Contest.

Hi! My name is Katie T. and I have been a part of CYT San Antonio for six years! Before CYT, my life was actually pretty good. My view on the world, however, was meh. I actually don’t remember my first day at CYT, which makes me laugh a little, but what I want to talk about is the past year. Godspell. Our fall 2016 show. I honestly was not thrilled about doing this vague show in our small studio, but I auditioned and was privileged to be one of my first lead roles!


Rehearsals were a blast, but show week was when my life truly took a turn. I have a terrible habit of comparing myself. To everyone. All the time. I still do. But the first time we performed the show in costume and under the lights, the story of Jesus finally came together for me. I realized that He didn’t care if I sang as well as her or looked as good as her. He died on the cross so we would strive to look more like Him to share His love with others and eventually spend forever with Him.

Right then and there on stage, I felt a joy so indescribable and amazing and wonderful. Joy became my favorite word and I longed to share it.So I started a bible study for younger girls in CYT who might be facing the same things I did. Don’t get me wrong, I still compare myself and CYT isn’t a perfect place. But the entire world looks different because of what CYT gave me. It gave me a taste of the joy Christ offers and an outlet to use that joy and do what I love. Recently, I’ve gone through three really hard shows, all of which I learned something new about myself. Even more recently, I’ve preformed in three absolutely wonderful shows, all of which I learned something new about myself. I choreographed two summer camps, both of which I ADORED and learned something about myself.

Finally I came to the realization that CYT truly isn’t just a performance based company. “Building character one stage at a time.” I have seen that play out in my life so incredibly clearly. Thank you CYT for giving me my best friend. For giving me a family so close it’s awkward. For providing me opportunities to grow. And most of all, for showing me a glimpse of the incredible joy God has to offer. There are so many more things I could share about HYPE, Encore. Players, etc… but instead I pray that CYT will continue to impact kids who see life as meh. I pray that they will see that Christ calls us to live life abundantly. And that CYT will help them do that. I adore CYT with all my heart and can easily say I would not be me without it. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Want to submit your story to the 2018 My CYT Story Competition? Deadline is April 1.

DISCLAIMER: Though, all complete stories submitted will be forwarded to their respective area’s leadership for judging as part of the 2018 My CYT Story Competition, not all stories will be published on this blog. Likewise, having your story published on the blog does not guarantee that your story has been selected as a Regional Winner.

We Are CYT: Working Hard and Removing Limits

CYT isn’t just having an impact on students, but on the whole family! Sunday, November 5, CYT Fredericksburg mom Heather O. posted on her facebook how much hard work CYT can be, but how the end results are worth every moment. CYT Fredericksburg closed one of their fall shows, The Little Mermaid, that afternoon. Check out her story!

As we close The Little Mermaid (and look forward to Super Saturday for James and the Giant Peach), I’m sitting here relatively exhausted, eating dinner after bedtime, first I’ve really been still since before 9AM.

My feet are tired, but my heart is full. So for those of you closing a show, for those of you about to open, those of you “taking a (well-deserved) break,” and those of you just starting to consider this whole Theater Life Thing…

CYT requires hard work, mental and emotional effort, late nights and early mornings (sometimes back to back!), doing of homework in moving cars, emergency trips to walmart and CVS, sore muscles, stubbed toes, blisters, parent committees, crock pot dinners and fast food dinners, lots and LOTS of family teamwork AND committee teamwork, class fees, production fees, ticket block activation, bruised (no, let’s say, ‘adjusted’) egos, bruised elbows, learning new skill sets, carpools, trips to urgent care, and going outside of comfort zones! (And that’s just in the first two years!!)

But what CYT GIVES… CYT gives friendships forged in a common purpose, laughter, tears, triumphs, watching my introvert daughter SHINE on stage in the most hideous dress I could create, other people’s children who I now love as my own, a common ground for siblings no matter their age difference, role models in a wide variety of ages, watching my introvert husband make connections and even friends, finding purposes for odd combinations of God-given skills and talents, watching the work of God in the lives of the children youth and adults, hearing grade-school children lead an audience of strangers in prayer, watching a group of inexperienced strangers morph into a capable and unified team, watching my youngest walk into school still sporting yesterday’s stage makeup without a care about what others think of it, watching children grow into teens, watching ensemble members become featured dancers and leads, friends who know just when to walk behind you activating their fart noise app, seeing kids who are viewed as quirky in other places find this place where their “weird” is not only accepted but CELEBRATED, having at least 20 people a day ask how my ankle is doing, trusting the director to pull the best out of your child in an empowering and supportive way, having someone who knows you well enough to know when to tell you to shut up and walk away (you know who you are!), having friendships so strong that one of you can screw up (ahem, me!) and you both yell at each other and then when you’re done yelling you still love each other (you know who you are, too!), friends who see your untapped potential and challenge you to do something you’ve never done before. CYT gives confidence AND humility. It gives kids (and adults!) the chance to find their limits, and then remove them! And THAT’S just in the first two years…

Thank you, Heather, for sharing from your heart! CYT truly is a place where kids and adults can grow individually, build valuable relationships, find and then remove each of their limits them one by one, setting the bar higher each time.



In the Fredericksburg area? Check out their next show, James and the Giant Peach! They open Friday, November 17, and run for two weekends! Get your tickets today!

How has CYT affected YOUR life? Share your story with us!

Houston On the Mend With Help From Friends

In one of our last posts, we shared how CYT’s across the nation were banding together to support those affected by the Houston flood in August. CYT families donated funds, sent cards, and offered encouragement and prayer for those who lost their homes. At the time of the hurricane, CYT Houston was in the middle of auditions for one of their area’s fall shows. Now they’re resting and recovering after two full weekends of performances.

Shrek the Musical Jr. opened on Friday, October 27, with about 60 students performing! With set pieces from CYT Lafayette and some costumes from CYT San Antonio, Houston is on the mend. Houses are still being repaired and things aren’t quite back to “normal”, but CYT families were going to rehearsals, pushed through tech, and had a fabulous run!

It’s amazing how, time and time again, everything always comes together. CYT Houston’s other area is getting ready to open their second fall show, Tarzan, this weekend! The show has 4 performances – one Friday, November 10, two Saturday, November 11, and one Sunday, November 12. If you’re in the area, get your tickets today!! Way to go, CYT Houston! We Are CYT!

Facing Your Fears

CYT students aren’t the only ones with a CYT story to share. Check out this story from CYT San Diego mom, musical director, and teacher, Robyn S.! CYT really is changing lives, one stage at a time!

This girl, my daughter Hope…today she faced her biggest fear…performing in front of a large audience. She woke up this morning telling us she had a nightmare that she ruined the entire show for everyone! But we got to the theater and many other friends (like Maddie here) assured her she’d do great.

Maddie (12) and Hope (8)

Before her first number she took a deep breath, smiled at me and said “Mommy, I’m gonna be brave, I can do this!” And she sure did! After our 2 shows she said “Mommy, I love performing with my friends!” And that’s really what it’s all about…facing your fears with your friends by your side.

We’re always looking for new stories! Share your story with us!

My CYT Story: Another Home

The following story was submitted by Emily N. from CYT Lafayette for our 2018 My CYT Story Contest.

In May of 2011, my family and I went to see CYT Lafayette’s Beauty and the Beast. Although only in the second grade, I was blown away. I saw the kids up on stage and decided I wanted to do that. So that summer, I signed up for camp. I loved camp so much that in the winter, I begged my mom to sign me up for classes. It was kind of a big deal because I live about 30 minutes away from Lafayette. She finally said yes and I did my first acting class. I absolutely LOVED it! That spring I auditioned and got cast in my first show, Aladdin. Being up on stage just made me feel at home. But the thing I loved most about CYT, was the family I had. The bond I had with my cast and fellow classmates was unbreakable. 6 years later, I’m auditioning for my 7th show and I cannot wait. My friends and I have shared so many memories together and I cannot wait to share even more. I have grown closer to God through worship and learned how to perform for Him. CYT didn’t just help me love theater, but it gave me another place I can call home.


Want to submit your story to the 2018 My CYT Story Competition? Deadline is April 1.

DISCLAIMER: Though, all complete stories submitted will be forwarded to their respective area’s leadership for judging as part of the 2018 My CYT Story Competition, not all stories will be published on this blog. Likewise, having your story published on the blog does not guarantee that your story has been selected as a Regional Winner.