We Are CYT: Family Across the Nation

In late August, on the same weekend as auditions for their fall show, CYT Houston families evacuated their homes when Hurricane Harvey flooded their city. Their homes were damaged, possessions lost, and lives were changed. But during their time of need, families from CYT Baton Rouge, LafayetteFront Range, New York City, Waco, and Chicago all mailed letters, made donations, and sent gift cards to CYT Houston to help. 

Less than two months later, the families are back in their homes but things have still not completely returned to normal. However, the students are back at classes and rehearsals, and the CYT Houston families are working hard to put on one of their fall shows, Shrek the Musical Jr.But they’re not doing it alone. Shrek is coming together with a little help from their neighbor, CYT Lafayette!

This weekend, on October 8, CYT Lafayette closed their own production of Shrek the Musical Jr.! Instead of tearing down the set or putting it into storage, it’s getting put to good use and sent over to CYT Houston for their production! Check out what Gerald B., the CYT Lafayette Executive Director, has to share!

“First of all it was a real privilege to have Houston visit our show and are honored that we could give back to the CYT affiliate that was the inspiration to start CYT Lafayette 9 years ago!

Many people know how devastating the flood was in Louisiana last year and how hard it was on our families and the community. The support we received from the CYT affiliates was over whelming so it was an easy decision to jump in and help. Their dads have had little time to focus on CYT with so many people needing help with their homes. It’s the least we could do to help support them.

Two Houston Dads (Ari and Richard) drove to Lafayette with the truck and arrived in Lafayette around 2:30. They got to watch the show then started load out with our dads around 5:30. The sets were a little two large for the truck so they spent an hour or so making as much fit as possible. We wrapped up around 8pm and sent them on their way. The staff also agreed to help with expenses for their trip so we included a gift card for $450.

Praying they have a great show! Blessings from Lafayette!

We are CYT!”

Why we do it…

CYT Founders, Paul & Sheryl Russell, recently received the following letter from a CYT parent, Amy Kennard, who watched her daughter, Kylie, perform in a CYT San Diego production of Godspell. It is reprinted here (along with personal pictures ) with her permission. Enjoy!

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Godspell, 2015

Hello Russell Clan!
I didn’t get a chance to say hi to either of you (Paul and Janie) at the show earlier today but once again felt like I had to write!  I hope you enjoyed it.  I know it’s been quite the experience for Kylie…and for me!  In the midst of all the songs, scenes, and dance numbers I’ve ever watched my daughter perform in…none has compared to watching her face in the scene where Jesus died.  In three seconds my hugest prayer as a parent was answered…because I didn’t see her acting.  I saw her reacting as any of us would were we put in a situation to watch our Savior suffer.  She understood what He did for her!  Although I had not seen any of the rehearsals, she had come home from the night they blocked that scene telling me how sad she felt.  How cool to get to experience that place in your heart on stage…and what a confirmation for a mom to see her daughter “get it”!
Kylie in Godspell.

Kylie in Godspell.

So I write to say thank you…

thank you for creating a theater group that does shows like Godspell.
thank you for creating a theater group with other believers doing shows like Godspell that my daughter gets to fellowship with.
thanks for giving my girl the chance to be a part of telling the greatest story ever told…the chance to be on stage doing what she loves while being a light to the world!
Cast of Godspell

Cast of Godspell

I know it may not be a financial winner for CYT, but like I told Angela and Wendy…I so applaud you for choosing it!
Thankful once again!
Amy
You’re welcome, Amy. It is truly our pleasure. 

 

8 Reasons to Work for CYT – by Sarah Preston, CYT Santa Cruz

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About the Author: Sarah Preston started with CYT Santa Cruz in the spring of 2012. Since then, she has Stage Managed multiple productions, coached Improv, taught class and CYT@School, coordinated summer camps, assisted in fundraising, and serves as HYPE Advisor.

After 10 years of working with kids, I can honestly say I have never been more challenged and inspired than during my time with CYT Santa Cruz. It has changed the way I think about kids, artistry, families, and ministry.

Here are my 8 Reasons to Work for CYT

1. CYT makes you laugh

Once at auditions, an 18 year old (improv kid of course) sang “If You’re Happy and You Know It” as his audition song. His final verse?

If you’re happy and you know it give a wink
If you’re happy and you know it give a wink
If you’re happy and want a creepy way to show it
If you’re happy and you know it give a wink

I always cherish moments like this because the kids remind me not to take things so seriously. So often I can get wrapped up in the craziness of shows, classes, CYT@School, HYPE etc that I forget about the real reason I work for CYT: to serve God by serving kids. When a kid tells a funny joke or makes a funny face, it awakens the Child-loving Holy Spirit inside my heart.

2. The kids give you perspective.

As HYPE Advisor, I try to encourage critical thinking during our meetings. Continue reading

A CYT exclusive interview with the star of Broadway’s Aladdin!

Get ready because this is the probably the coolest thing you’ve ever seen.

CYT NYC recently interviewed Adam Jacobs who plays Aladdin on Broadway (yes, actual Broadway). They originally filmed the interview to show to CYT students in New York who were doing an Aladdin Workshop as their Fall class. But it was just too awesome to not share with the entire CYT world.

Adam is friends with CYT NYC’s Artistic Director Carrie Cooper from their NYU days (lucky!), and he invited her into his dressing room (on actual Broadway) to do the interview.

You’ll love it, take a look!

Obviously a super duper huge thanks goes to Adam for taking the time to do this, and to Carrie for going to NYU and becoming friends with people who go on to perform on actual Broadway.

CYT Tucson getting some press for The Addams Family!

CYT Tucson is premiering The Addams Family on October 17th, and they’ve been making press rounds in anticipation of the opening.

Members of the cast were recently featured on a morning talk show in Tucson. Check them out in the video below!

Tickets for The Addams Family can be purchased HERE.

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.

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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).

Two performances of CYT NYC’s Seussical Jr sponsored by local non-profit

The students in CYT NYC‘s production of Seussical Jr! got to take part in a very special day thanks to St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters. The local non-profit food pantry and shelter in NYC sponsored two performances of the CYT production and sent two children’s groups, Figure Skating in Harlem and Dream Charter School, to attend the Dr. Seuss-themed show.

What a blessing for everyone involved!

Below is a picture collage from the write-up that StFFP recently published about their festive day.

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 3.47.50 PM Check out what else CYT NYC is up to by going their website or visiting them on Facebook!