Landon B. from CYT Santa Cruz experienced how CYT is unique when it comes to theater companies. The CYT family is something special that will always be there to welcome you! Read his story!

This summer, I took part in my first theatrical experience outside of CYT or the dance company I train with, which is based in Christian beliefs. It was with a professional company, Cabrillo Stage, which puts on fabulous productions that I have enjoyed watching. I auditioned and was cast in their production of the Addams Family Musical as an ancestor, something that had been on my bucket list ever since I worked a spotlight for CYT Santa Cruz’s production. I was so excited to work with the artistic team and cast for this show, especially because quite a few of them were from CYT as well.

The production experience was AMAZING. We had a fantastic artistic team, who directed us in a show that was exquisite in all accounts, whether it was the incredible vocals, the powerful dance, or the insightful acting. The cast was tight-knit, and we made it through a lot of hard stuff that went down with this particular show. The times I was onstage were some of the most fun I have had in my short time as an on-stage performer.

But there was something missing.

After the final bow, the final curtain, the cast party, I had no big emotional reaction, other than being proud of my young friend from CYT who played Pugsley, who did an amazing job and was sad to be done with the show.

I was confused.

Normally, I feel at least a touch of the melancholy as I say goodbye to a show. Yes, I felt disappointed that I wouldn’t be doing the show with the same cast again, but I didn’t cry. Not a single tear fell from my eyes (and believe me, that’s unusual). I couldn’t figure out why, and it was quite strange. Well, tonight, not 24 hours after closing Addams, I realized why.

Let’s pause for some background.

CYT Santa Cruz has recently launched a CCT, and their first production is Godspell, a show I honestly knew very little about before tonight. I would have auditioned, but was already doing Addams Family and a production of Swan Lake, and didn’t feel like I could devote the time necessary to be involved. It was hard to say no, especially because so many of my dearest friends were taking part in it. I had come to terms with not being involved at all, and just coming to support them by seeing the show.

But that was not God’s plan.

During CYT’s National Expo, I was prompted by a good friend of mine to ask if they needed help on the stage-management side of things for Godspell, as I would be able to help once I finished the run of the Addams family. I followed up, and was asked to come on as the assistant stage-manager.

Flash back to the present.

I went to rehearsal tonight with no idea of what I was about to walk into. I hadn’t been in very close contact with many of these people, and knew I was walking in on something that I wasn’t really a part of. At least, that’s what I thought. Tonight was the night they were blocking the final scenes, from the final parable through the last supper, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I was at first unfazed, as the tone of the last parable is somewhat corny, since Godspell was written by a secular writer.

Then they moved into the final hours of Jesus’ life.

As I watched my friends pour their all into conveying this beautiful story of redemption, I was struck with deep emotion. Here was a group of people, united under the common goal of performing live theater for a greater purpose; giving glory to our almighty God, the one who sent his ONLY son to die a horrible, miserable, ruthless death on the cross as payment for any sin, past and future, that we might commit. Watching my good friend and mentor Conrad Useldinger portray the chaotic, confused, scared character of Judas brought me to tears, as did the performance of all the other people in the room. And when we gathered in a prayer circle afterwards, that was when the plentiful tears came.

And came, and came, and came.

I finally realized what I had been missing, and it was the unity that CYT and CCT bring. Being united under a common goal of bringing glory to Elohim, no matter what petty human vices we may fall into. It was then in that circle that, that I am never really gone, and that we will always have the knowledge that we perform for the same end goal.

The family we have at CYT and CCT are deeply special. I hope you cherish every moment you spend with your own community, and realize, as I did tonight, that truly “We Are CYT”.

God bless.

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