Mission Statement

Christian Youth Theater develops character and creativity in kids of all ages through quality theater arts training that brings families and communities together while reflecting the Creator. 


  • Treat each individual with respect and significance
  • Develop character traits including discipline, self- confidence, and integrity
  • Bring families together through the use of individual talents and abilities
  • Share the love of Christ in word and deed

Every time I step out onto that stage, I have the opportunity to use my God given talents and passion to portray a soul, a portion of another’s story.

Nina Noelle Russell, CYT Student

Welcome to Christian Youth Theater

Christian Youth Theater (CYT) is an after-school theater arts training program for students ages 4-18. Since its founding in 1981, CYT has grown to be the largest youth theater program in the nation, with Branches across the country training thousands of students a year.

Each local program conducts three ten-week sessions (Fall, Winter, and Spring) teaching drama, voice, dance, and specialty theatrical workshops at weekly two-hour classes. Enrolled students have the opportunity to audition and perform (or work behind-the-scenes) in a Broadway-style musical performed for the community. CYT also offers summer camps for kids ages 4-18, where they will spend a week learning musical theater skills resulting in a showcase performance for family and friends!

CYT stands in the forefront in its commitment to the highest ethical, moral, technical, and artistic standards of excellence. Instructors are professionals, qualified in teaching and/or performing, who understand our mission statement, values, objectives, and goals.

What Does CYT Offer?

CYT offers classes over the course of three sessions during the school year: Fall, Winter, and Spring. Weekly classes last for two hours and run for ten consecutive weeks. A variety of classes are offered in drama, voice, dance, and specialty classes that vary per session. Class sizes are small and offer supervision both inside and outside the classroom.

Parents send their children to CYT classes to learn, and that’s exactly what they will do! At the end of a CYT session, your student will come away with a new or improved skill in the area of emphasis. During the last week of class, a high-energy Showcase is presented by each class to show other students, family, and friends all they’ve learned.

CYT shows are always appropriate for the entire family and are an excellent way to introduce children to the arts at a young age!

CYT produces one Broadway-style musical each session. Enrollment in CYT classes provides students (ages 8-18) the opportunity to audition for their affiliate’s current production.

Students not cast in the show are encouraged to participate in other ways. Depending on age and ability, students (and siblings) can participate on the backstage crew, technical team, or the costume and makeup committees.

Week-long musical theater day camps are offered during the summer months for students ages 4-18. Typical camps include team competitions, drama, dance, music, and craft workshops, theme-related devotionals, and an impressive concluding showcase for family and friends.

CYT Summer Camps are all about fun, friendships, and theatrics. Camps are great yearly tradition for your child!

There are many ways to be part of CYT beyond the stage! CYT programs consist of everything that is not a class, camp, or show. Some of the available programs include CYT@school, HYPE, Improvathon, and the yearly CYT EXPO.

I cannot even begin to describe the impact that CYT has had on my life. There, I was welcomed with open arms, despite all of the flaws I thought made me so undesirable.

Alexandra Gandy, CYT Student

Current Staff Members:

Cherie Benoit

I am originally from Chalmette which is a suburb of New Orleans. I am married to Sean Benoit and we have a daughter and two sons (Kayla -26 Luke -19 and Zach -16). I attended Nicholls State University and graduated with a BA in Psychology with a minor in History. I have worked at The Boys and Girls Clubs of New Orleans, CARC, Normal Life, and CPSB. I currently am a Title I Tutor at Westwood Elementary. I am ecstatic to be the Managing Director at CYT-Lake Charles! I know God has great things in store for our students!

Lisa Leubner

Hi, my name is Lisa Leubner. I am the Finance Director for CYT Lake Charles. I am also the Admissions and Marketing Director at Bishop Noland Episcopal Day School where I have been for the last ten years. I am also the volunteer troop leader for two Girl Scout troops and I am cheer sponsor at EDS. Prior to 2008, I worked as the Marketing Director at the Sleep Disorder Center of Louisiana, Director of Employment and Training at US Unwired, and Employment Manager at Harrah's Casino. I am married to James and we have two daughters that attend EDS, Kaitlin and Jolie. Kaitlin is in 9th grade this year and Jolie is in fifth grade. My hobbies are my family, traveling, and trying new things. I graduated from McNeese State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing but also majored in Business Management.

Amanda Ericson

Amanda Geneux-Ericson is a Shreveport native. She attended Centenary College where she received her Bachelors in Vocal Music Education. She has been a private voice and piano instructor for the past 7 years in the Shreveport area. She is also a theater performer having roles such as Fiona in Shrek as well as Bianca in Kiss Me Kate. She is very excited to join CYT-Lake Charles, as our Artistic Director, after her family's recent move. She is ready to meet and see all of the talented students Lake Charles has to offer!

Jessica Menard

Hi everyone! I am so excited to be the chapter coordinator for CYT-Lake Charles! I worked as a director for a local child care center and have over 8 years experience working with children. I attended McNeese State University where I majored in Early Childhood Development. I am currently living my dream as a wife to my best friend (Carl) and stay at home mom to our three children ( Leslie, McKenzie, and Boston). I feel honored to be a part of this wonderful program. "To me there is no picture so beautiful as smiling, bright-eyed, happy children; no music so sweet as their clear and ringing laughter. " P.T. Barnum

Brittany Menard

I am just so blessed to be Show Coordinator for CYT-Lake Charles! I’ve always had a real love for music and performance but my love of theatre truly came from my niece Leslie who inspired me to audition for my first show after watching her on stage! Now we are hooked and that’s all we do! I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with a few local community theatres and be in productions such as Grease and Hairspray. I’ve met so many amazing people and I love sharing this passion with my family! I reside in Sulphur with my husband DJ and our 2 amazing kiddos Emma and Noah. I look forward to working with your children and helping them to create memories they will never forget!

Once Upon a Time…

In 1980, Paul & Sheryl Russell had the dream of bringing wholesome family entertainment to their community. Along with a small band of theater-loving friends, they mounted a fully-staged production of The Sound of Music in San Diego, CA to a surprising audience of 5,000.

One year later, they started an after-school theater arts program specifically for youth ages 4-18. Their first show, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, had a cast of 24 students and the rest is history.

Nationally, CYT has grown to be the largest children’s theater organization in the country with more than 38 locations in 25 different cities and enrolling 18,000 students annually.

CYT Lake Charles

Mailing Address:
PO BOX 1275
Lake Charles, LA 70602

Phone: 337-244-3424

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