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CYT's production of Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast Jr.' enchants Patty Chavez | Sat, Mar 26 2011 05:05 PM

Theater education is more than just offering children an opportunity to explore their artistic and creative talents; it is also a wonderful medium for keeping children active and healthy. It is a disciplined approach to critical thinking, intellectual insight and problem solving. It can boost self-esteem, improve public speaking and confidence. It builds a strong sense of community trust and interpersonal relationships.

These are all skills that can fundamentally impact children’s success in school and beyond — no matter what career they choose.

Unfortunately, due to continued cuts in education funding, art programs are often the first things to go. And in today’s struggling economy where families are scrambling to pay for life staples and keeping up with soaring gas prices, the arts and after-school programs can be difficult to afford.

While many local non-profit theater and art programs, including San Diego Christian Youth Theater (CYT), are facing challenges, they know it is even more necessary to provide these opportunities for children.

For years, CYT has enriched the lives of thousands of our children and young adults by developing leadership, confidence, skills and teamwork through theater education. CYT originated in San Diego in 1981. Since then, CYT has grown to be the largest youth theater organization in the nation. There are affiliates across the country working with thousands of students each year.

Locally as an after-school program, CYT offers theater arts training for student’s ages 4 to 18. Of these, more than 80 youths take part in South County season productions showcasing their singing, dancing and acting talents or crewing backstage and assisting with lighting and stage pieces.

CYT presented this season’s most anticipated production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast Jr.” in Chula Vista at the Mater Dei Catholic High School theater March 4 through 13. Audiences were captivated by dramatic set designs, songs from the award-winning musical and refined performances by local youth. 

The principal cast included Heather Banks as Belle, Patrick Gates as the Beast, Anthony Antoniszyn as Lumiere, Brittany Hopkins as Babette, Sara Wright as Mrs. Potts, Jesse Kendrick as Cogsworth, Kevin McDonald as Gaston, Landen Baldwin as Lefou, Daniel Batchman as Maurice, Hannah Pentico as Madame de la Grande Bouche, Jake Gardner as Monsieur D’arque, Justin Stella and Evan Adam as Chip. Gardner also served as a stunt double for the Beast.

The cast also included townspeople, tavern dancers, other villagers and enchanted objects.
Among the silly girls were Lauren Gray, Raelene Herrera, Christine Nathanson, Jazmine Ruiz, Amy Wawryznski and Jenna Wille.

Jesse Olson portrayed the young prince while Jordan Olson portrayed the enchantress. Masquerated as wolves were Corwin Batchman, Edgar Cortez, Paul Chavez, Diego DeLa Rosa,  Dennis Dizon and Ryan Geisen.

For more information about the after-school program and upcoming productions around the San Diego region, visit the Web site at www.CYTSanDiego.org or call (800) 696-1929.
Patty Chavez is a resident of Chula Vista and a CYT parent volunteer


Entertainment calendar

Ruth French Performing Arts Center

(Eastlake High School campus)


4: Senior parent ASB meeting, 6:30 p.m.
5: Junior parent meeting, 6:30 p.m.
6: Eastlake High School girls soccer banquet, 6 p.m.
7: Eastlake High School boys basketball banquet, 6 p.m.
8: Eastlake High School boys soccer banquet, 6 p.m.
27: Vocal choir festival, 6:30 p.m.
28: Stringfest, 7 p.m.
29-30: Bonita Vista High School dance, 7 p.m.
3: Sweetwater district employee employee recognition reception, 4 p.m.
For information on any of the above listed events, call 397-3855.

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