Crescent City Lights Youth Theater Announces 21st Season
NEW ORLEANS -- When the young actors at Crescent City Lights Youth Theater take the stage this summer – although they range in age from only 8 to 15 years -- they will be part of a “coming of age” event as the program celebrates 21 years of providing quality children’s theater in New Orleans.
Founder and Executive Director Julie Condy said she started CCLYT, formerly known as Summer Stages, to teach young people theatre skills. Now she knows that these aspiring thespians and their families learn much more than how to merely playing a role on stage.
“One of the most important things the Crescent City Lights Youth Theater offers is the opportunity to learn 21st century job and life skills in an affirming theatre setting,” Condy said. “The cast learns to build their confidence on and off stage. By the time the production opens, they are ready to go out in front of a hundred people – without fear! And their families are so proud of their efforts!”
Condy, whose background is in classical vocal music (she sings with the New Orleans Opera Association), founded CCLYT because she saw the lack of quality children’s theatre in the city. On a shoestring budget and a lot of determination, she developed this award-winning youth theater company which performs musical intended for young performers. The name of the company changed to Crescent City Lights Youth Theater, when, after Hurricane Katrina, a partnership was forged with New Orleans Recreation Development Commission. CCLYT was named the Best Kept Secret from the Downtown Development District in 2012 and has won outstanding achievement awards at the Junior Theater Festival in Atlanta from 2011 to 2013.
CCLYT alumni use their theater skills in a variety of ways both in and out of school. While in school, CCLYT alums become elected class leaders, debate team champions as well as performers in their school musicals. As adults, CCLYT alums are in a variety of professions from professional performing artists to teachers to lawyers to advertising executives. They all fondly remember their CCLYT days as the “best summers of our lives!”
QUOTE FROM FORMER STUDENT Shayla, then 9 now 18 and attending college after having had the lead in many musicals at her high school. “Needless to say my mom made me go to auditions! I was so scared I thought I was going to pass out! Low and behold the first time out the shoot I snatched a lead role! Then opening night came and I stepped on stage………my heart filled with joy! I know what it meant now when everyone always said they feel like home. I finally found where I belonged! My home……on stage.”
2014 Season of two productions
The first production, a New Orleans premiere is “Main Street Kids’ Club: A Mathstart Musical,” inspired by the award-winning book series by Stuart Murphy. This musical tells a tale of adventure, mystery, friendship and math. Six stories, each focusing on a different mathematical concept have been cleverly woven together and adapted by the creators of "Schoolhouse Rock Live" with music by Scott Ferguson.
Main Street Kids Club Performance Dates: Friday to Sunday, July 11-13 and July 18-20.
The second production, “Sleepover,” is an original musical from the TADA Youth Theater in NYC. In Sleepover, Mia is finally allowed to have her first sleepover party--for girls only. Too bad the girls don't know the boys are crashing the party. This delightful, hilarious musical has all the antics of a great slumber party. With great songs like "Sleepwalker" and "Pizza Boys Deliver," this audience favorite promises to be fun for the whole family! With a cast of 22+ kids ages of 9-15, this is a delightful production of a CCLYT favorite.
Sleepover Performance Dates: Friday to Sunday, August 15-17 and August 22-24.
The production staff for both musicals includes: staging director, Lisa Picone, who holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of New Orleans and is a two-time Big Easy Award winner and a regular in the New Orleans theatre scene; choreographer, Miguel Malespin, has danced from coast to coast and is thrilled to be back with the company where he worked in 2002; producing director and musical/vocal director, Julie Condy, who has produced over 40 musicals and appeared in over 150 opera performances; and Edward Cox, scenic designer, is a multi-award-winning actor/ director/designer has given hundreds of indelible performances over his 50 years in the entertainment business which got a jump start on the NORD Theatre stage.
Performance schedule: Friday, 7:30 pm; Saturday, 1:00 pm and Sunday, 3:00 pm at the NORD Ty Tracy Theatre, Gallier Hall, 1st floor, 545 St. Charles Ave. (Enter via Lafayette St. entrance.)
Advance tickets are available for $15 at www.crescentcitylights.org.