One-on-one with CYT Inc’s Dr. Summer Moshy

CYT is chock full of the most incredible people. From affiliate leadership to volunteers to students to staff, there are phenomenal people everywhere you turn. Recently, CYT Inc’s Curriculum Coordinator, Dr. Summer Moshy, humored me while I peppered her with questions about what she does for CYT and why she thinks the organization is the most special one around.

Summer (right) with CYT Inc's Director of Operations, Heather LaForge

Summer (right) with CYT Inc’s Director of Operations, Dr. Heather LaForge

First things first. You are CYT’s Curriculum Coordinator. Break down for us what that means.
Basically, I organize and maintain all of the available CYT Inc. curriculum materials that we’ve got and make them accessible (via the Curriculum link on the CYT NEXUS) to all of our CYT affiliates for use in planning the class schedule for their respective areas. I try to keep the resources current with accurate listings/descriptions of what materials we have available, so that the Area Coordinators, Managing Directors, and/or Artistic Directors can request what they need for their area teachers. I also facilitate the requests from the ACs, MDs, or ADs for the materials and answer any questions they might have about our current materials.

There are oodles of classes and even more affiliates. Your job sounds busy!
It took me a a while to recover and organize all of the curriculum stuff CYT Inc. has amassed over the past 30 years, but now that that’s done (though we do still unearth buried treasures from time to time!), I’m starting to work on creating new curriculum materials for our affiliates. I also try to solicit materials from our affiliates to enhance the variety and quality of curriculum goodies we have for them. I am also about to send out my first Curriculum Newsletter highlighting what’s new and what’s coming up for CYT Curriculum.

Summer wiith CYT student Emily Smedley at EXPO 2014

Summer wiith CYT student Emily Smedley at EXPO 2014

I’m told you’ve worked with a variety of other theatre programs. What is the main difference you notice about CYT?
The willingness of everyone involved to “give it to God” at the end of the day. To me, it’s comforting to feel that the common denominator among CYT peeps is devotion to a power greater than ourselves.

Continue reading

The journey from CYT student to CYT director (sorta)

You guys. You’re about to meet an extraordinary gem. Caleb Craig is a former CYT San Antonio student, and current intern director for CYT San Diego‘s production of The Addams Family. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with him about CYT life, college life, and future life. Lucky me!

Here's Caleb, ladies & gentlemen.

Here’s Caleb, ladies & gentlemen.

Not so long ago you were a CYT San Antonio student. What were some highlights from your days on the CYT stage? 
I was part of CYT San Antonio’s ambassador group, the Encore! tour group. That has by far been my favorite part of CYT. We had the privilege of working directly with Sandi and Scott Mitchell producing and performing medleys and arrangements of songs from various genres and shows. That group of people have become my closest friends. They’re like family to me.

The Encoure! group with their Artistic Director Sandi Mitchell

The Encore! group with their Artistic Director Sandi Mitchell

Any favorite CYT roles or shows stand out to you?
I was Peter Pan in Disney’s Peter Pan Jr. and it was a dream come true for me. That was my first lead role in any show I’d done. One of my favorite shows that CYT San Antonio put on was definitely The Wizard of Oz. It was filled with so many incredible moments, including a 12-minute quick change from Ms. Gulch to the Wicked Witch of the West. Watching the make-up and costume crew backstage move super fast to completely change the actress’s appearance was something to behold.

caleb2

 

Continue reading

Meet the #Beineke family

The following blog post was written by the CYT San Diego (North County Inland) Area Coordinator Katrina DeRoche. And if you’re in the mood to read truly beautiful insights on the pseudo-families that CYT creates, then today is your lucky day.

addams

Meet the Beineke Family. That’s mom (Alice) & Dad (Mal)…eldest son Lucas is wearing the glasses and the twins are snuggled in there. This little family is one of the reasons I love CYT.

Their names are fictional, but their connection is not. They are the CYT kids playing the Beineke Family in North County Inland’s production of The Addams Family. Watching them bond over the last four weeks has been amazing.  And the beauty of it is that this is a pretty common occurrence. Our kids just love being together no matter their age differences. In fact, I think the range of ages is actually the draw.

In the case of the Beineke family, things started normal enough. Our teens and younger sect often co-mingle. The Beinekes started out doing the usual things like playing games together on their phones and creating their own hashtag on Instagram (#Beineke). Then, I noticed them sitting together while other kids were doing scene work… and eating their meals together… and posing for ‘family portraits’. The smallest Beineke runs into the arms of his 6’6 sophomore ‘Dad’ upon entering the room every rehearsal. The twins cuddle up with ‘Mom’. I’ve watched Lucas and Dad try and get the twins to say who is their favorite… and they care! It’s hilarious and amazing all at the same time.

Lots of folks would instantly think about how lucky the younger kids are to get that kind of attention from teens, but I think of how much our teens love the invitation to still play. I think about how good it must feel for them to have someone hang on their every word. They feel valued.

You see, school can be rough. High school is full of social stress and posturing. Here at CYT, we create a space where students ages 8-18 can interact and build real relationships. They can be themselves… wacky and loving at the same time. We create a supportive environment where the teens can lead prayer one day and then be led in prayer by a nine-year-old the next. What’s better than that? To me, nothing. #CYTfamily


You can see the Beineke family in action in The Addams Family, which runs Oct 25 – Nov 2 (Tickets & info HERE).

CYT San Diego celebrates at the Director’s Choice Awards

DCA8

It may just be me, but I think a love of theater directly results in a love of awards shows.

I know at least CYT San Diego agrees because they have the Director’s Choice Awards – CYT’s version of Hollywood’s Academy Awards! Each year CYT nominates the best of the best in each category from the Fall, Winter, and Spring sessions of shows around the county. The artistic director, the managing director, and a selected committee review all the shows and nominate outstanding work.

The accumulation of the year comes together in a special evening with an exciting awards show featuring some of the top musical numbers from the previous year (important tidbit: it also features a red carpet!) Winners are announced that evening at this special gala event.

Below are some pics from this year’s DCA’s, as well as the list of winners. Congrats everyone!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

BEST CREW
Courtney Wolfe – The Sound of Music

BEST ENSEMBLE
Greg Power – Rapunzel
Asher Smith – Rapunzel
Ryan Tafolla – Rapunzel
Jeremy Power – Rapunzel

BEST ACTOR IN COMEDIC ROLE
Loren Fernandez – as Donkey

BEST ACTRESS IN COMEDIC ROLE
Emily Smedley – as Miss Flannery

BEST ACTOR IN FEATURED ROLE
Trevor Cruse – as Drake

BEST ACTRESS IN FEATURED ROLE
Tierra Gonzalea – as Tiger Lily

BEST ACTOR 12 & UNDER
Nicky Redd – as JoJo

BEST ACTRESS 12 & UNDER
Summer Zazo-Waterman – as Little Pocahontas

BEST MALE SOLO
Josh Powers – Shrek

BEST FEMALE SOLO
Cari Callen – School House Rock

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Anthony Escobedo – as Trevor Graydon

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Ashley Bassett – as Omar

BEST VILLIAN
Liam Galleher – as Lord Farquaad

BEST ACTRESS
Alyssa Towmbly – as Fiona

BEST ACTOR
Roy Bennett – as Tom Sawyer

BEST DANCE NUMBER
Danielle Levas – Forget About the Boy

BEST MUSICAL NUMBER
Kelli Kelley – It’s in the BIBLE

BEST PRODUCTION NUMBER
Daniel Collins – Do-Re-Me

MVP
Cara Filley

AREA SHOW OF THE YEAR
North County Inland – Thoroughly Modern Millie
San Diego East County – Annie
San Diego East County – The Sound of Music
Tri City – Tom Sawyer
South County – Shrek

SHOW OF THE YEAR 2014
Shrek – South County

What a CYT Director wants you to know about Auditions

The below post was written by Heather LaForge, CYT Inc’s multitasking Director of Operations and CYT San Diego show director. Enjoy!

Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 9.52.57 AM

As each new CYT session approaches, students across the country scramble, frantically trying to choose that perfect audition song. Your mind brims with questions. Does it fit my vocal range? Does it align with the show? Can I demonstrate my acting abilities through it? Nerves run high and dreams get stressful as students await…dun-dun-dun…audition day.

Students, did you know that your directors are feeling many of the same emotions as you? Audition day is just as nerve-wracking to us! For months we are thinking, pondering, wondering how we will do this show. Scripts are read over and over again. Cuts are made. Question marks riddle the score. And all this is done in anticipation of just who will be cast in these roles.

You see, there’s so much work to be done in preparation for a show. But until we know who is cast, we can’t really visualize what the show will be. Then auditions arrive and we are greeted by you all. You all who are filled with nerves and excitement. You all who are praying desperately that God would calm you enough so you don’t get weird nervous shaky voice. You all who remind us so much of ourselves when we were your age but of whom we think they are so much braver, better, stronger than I ever was.

The secret, friends, is that while you are desperately trying to appear calm, so are we. The big smile we give you is real. Because we have had those dreams where literally no one shows up to auditions and we are left to cast our own gerbil as the role of Annie. So when you are there in front of us, with your brave voice, and strong character, and (hooray!) you can pirouette too, we are thrilled. Because with your talent and eagerness, and our guidance, this show will go on.

I’m looking forward to my auditions next week. Praying for all of you as you prep your songs across this country; and I’m praying for all you directors too.

CYT alumni wins full-ride scholarship to Berklee School of Music

CYT San Diego alumni Jackie Foster’s life just changed. She is this year’s only winner of a 4-year, $150K scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Below is the full article from the San Diego Union Tribune that reinforces what a stellar performer she is and how much she deserves this amazing opportunity. Way to go, Jackie!

Jackie Foster performs in concert. The 18-year-old Poway resident has been singing for audiences since her CYT days she was 8 years old. (Photo credit: Steve Abruzzo)

Jackie Foster performs in concert. The 18-year-old Poway resident has been singing for audiences since her CYT days she was 8 years old. (Photo credit: Steve Abruzzo)

Jackie Foster is destined for a singing career, and the Berklee College of Music is willing to bet on it.

This summer, the 18-year-old Poway High graduate was awarded a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to the private, contemporary music conservatory in Boston. The Berklee Lollapalooza Endowed Scholarship — worth more than $150,000 — is awarded to just one student each year, and faculty member Marty Walsh is convinced the school got it right with Foster.

“Jackie’s got a really bright future,” said Walsh, who first met Foster four years ago when she attended a rock music camp at Berklee. “She just has the whole thing going on. As a singer, she’s absolutely astounding, but she can also sing harmonies. She’s got charisma, the moves, the looks and a great attitude. When she walks in a room, she lights it up.”

For Foster, getting a full ride to her dream school is the “mind-blowing” next step of a journey that began 10 years ago, when she first sang in front of an audience.

“This is all I’ve ever wanted to do,” she said. “When I step on stage with the lights and a mike in my hand, it’s pure joy. Being able to share with others the gift that I was given — that amazes me. That’s what I live for.”

Music was a big part of Foster’s childhood. Rock and jazz music was always on the stereo at home, and by the age of 5 she surprised her parents with her robust, note-perfect accompaniment to the cast album for “The Phantom of the Opera.” At 7, she started performing in musicals with Christian Youth Theatre and by age 8, she was taking private voice lessons in jazz, pop, rock, R&B and classical music. She also studied piano and guitar.

Jackie playing the role of Wendy in CYT San Diego's production of Peter Pan

Jackie playing the role of Wendy in CYT San Diego’s production of Peter Pan

At Poway High, she toured nationally in the school’s show choir and sang vocals for the student jazz band. Her singing skills helped her win the crown as Miss Poway in 2013. She has also tried out for NBC’s “The Voice” and Fox’s “American Idol” and has competed in numerous singing contests, including Poway’s Got Talent, RB Idol and the San Diego County Fair’s SuperStar. Win or lose, Foster said she appreciates any opportunity for constructive feedback.

Continue reading

CYT student named 2015 Distinguished Young Woman of California

Marisa Gomez 2

Marisa Gomez will represent the state at the National Finals in Mobile, Alabama

CYT San Diego student Marisa Gomez is an amazing young woman. So much so that she was just named the 2015 Distinguished Young Woman of California! Founded in 1958, Distinguished Young Women is the largest and oldest national scholarship program for high school girls. Out of 29 girls in this year’s State Finals, Marisa claimed the title. Below is the official press release.

Congrats Marisa!

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Marisa Gomez from San Diego has been selected to represent the Distinguished Young Women of California Class of 2015. Twenty-nine outstanding young women from across the state spent the week in Bakersfield rehearsing for the program and participating in community events, which culminated with the State Finals on July 26 at Harvey Auditorium. The young women competed in the categories of scholastics (20%), interview (25%), talent (25%), fitness (15%), and self-expression (15%).

Marisa is a rising senior at Academy of Our Lady of Peace, and her parents are Manual Gomez and the late Maria Gomez. She participates in extracurricular activities such as Christian Youth Theatre and speech team. Marisa aspires to attend Princeton, Yale or Fordham University and become a lawyer or psychologist. She will represent California at the National Finals of Distinguished Young Women in June 2015 in Mobile, Alabama.

Marisa Gomez 1

“Distinguished Young Women has given me amazing role models and opened so many new doors for me,” said Marisa Gomez, 2015 Distinguished Young Woman of California. “I’m honored to represent my DYW sisters this next year, and I am so grateful and excited to be given the opportunity to spread awareness of this program and make a difference through it!”

Marisa earned $15,000 in cash scholarships during the state program. An additional $24,500 in scholarships were awarded to other participants during the preliminary and final nights of the program.

Continue reading