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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Youth Musical Theater Company

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Children & Youth, Education, Educational Services, Performing Arts, Youth Development Programs

Mission: YMTC (Youth Musical Theater Company) is a non-profit, Berkeley-based company which produces professional caliber musical theater while providing exceptional theater training to students from the 7th grade through university level. We bring together the Bay Area’s most talented and dedicated young singer/actors with professional directors, designers, and musicians to create theater that takes on challenging and sophisticated musical and dramatic themes, and that is always accompanied by a full, live orchestra. From the time it incorporated as a non-profit in 2004, YMTC has grown into a year round production company, producing three fully mounted musicals as well as small scale workshop productions and training workshops throughout the year. Many YMTC graduates have gone on to study music and theater at some of the best conservatories in the United States and abroad; all of them, wherever they go, take with them confidence, empathy, responsibility, and the capacity to imagine. We passionately believe that when young people have opportunities to participate in exceptional training in the arts, they are becoming not only the next generation of artists and arts appreciators, but the next generation of engaged citizens: empowered to pay attention, communicate, and energetically participate in a collaborative process.

Programs: Musical theater productions. During 2013-14, ymtc mounted three full scale productions, involving about 40 students in each production either on or off stage, being trained by and working alongside 7 to 10 theater professionals. The productions were accompanied by between 6 and 30 professional live musicians. The productions spanned a rehearsal period ranging from 4 to 10 weeks each and were produced in a professional theater venue with a total of 18 performances for the public.

musical theater education workshops. Five separate workshops were offered during the year, each one training from 8 to 24 students. They were taught by professional teaching artists working in theater in the bay area. Enrollment was non-competitive and on a first-come, first-serve basis. Students were taught skills in character development, improvisation techniques, vocal techniques, movement, musical theater literature, dance, audition skills, and good rehearsal practices. In addition, ymtc conducted a workshop, with 20 students, to assist in the development of a new musical, written by an award-winning composer and playwright.

Community Stories

110 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

6 Sonia D.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I began acting in YMTC when I was 14 years old. Being a part of such a strong community that allowed me to express myself creatively while working with others to create something positive (a show!) completely changed my life. I had been acting since I was five years old, however, YMTC really gave me my sea legs as a performer. Jennifer always emphasizes the positive, while still expecting a high level from the youth performers. She thereby makes those participating feel confident in their skills and also raises the bar, helping the performers grow together. I believe that people, especially youth, will rise to the bar that is set for them. In public schools often expectations are set low. Having a chance to be challenged in high school, and to feel like what I loved to do (theatre) was important, changed my life. I am now 22 years old. I just graduated from Boston University with B.F.A in Theatre Arts-Performance. I recently moved back to the Bay Area. I just finished an internship with Berkeley Rep and I am about to be in a dance theatre piece that will be at the San Francisco Fringe festival. I feel lucky to be making theatre in the world! Who knows what this next year will bring, but I feel confident that I have the tools to meet whatever challenges come, and I know that I have the passion and belief in theatre to continue performing. I believe that this all started in a large part with YMTC. During one summer break while I was in school, Jennifer let me be a directing intern for Les Miserables, as well as co-teach some YMTC youth summer workshops. I believe that this inviting of alumni back into the community to be teachers and inspire youth in the way that we were inspired, is yet another amazing and valuable thing that YMTC does. YMTC is incredibly important, now more than ever, because it teaches children that art is fun, vital, and powerful. YMTC teaches positive communication, collaboration, listening, and of course practical techniques of acting, singing, and dancing. But most of all, YMTC gives young performers confidence and an outlet for creative fun, and for that I, and many others I know, will be forever grateful.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I love YMTC. You most likely would stop at the word Youth (in Youth Musical Theatre Company) & probably think it's like an unprofessional & cheap performance and wouldn't care much. Well, if you think that, you would be 100% WRONG. 'Wrong' as in, NOT correct.
Just by seeing the first few minutes of a production they put on, or even the vibe you get from the audience who have seen YMTC performances previously, you can see that so much effort, time, & production is put into the making of the show. Doubt it, just come see a future production. I hear they are doing Sweeney Todd & Urinetown soon! Can't wait!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

This group offers exemplary services to Berkeley's children

Volunteer

Rating: 3

When it comes to YMTC, I have mixed feelings- as do most of the people I've talked to. Theater as a whole always has three sides to consider: The audience, the stage, and everything outside of those two worlds that consists of management, advertising, etc. I have had the luck to be part of all three of these worlds at one point or another in varying capacities ranging from actor to production team. People have commented that YMTC shows are filled with the underserving children of wealthy parents. Yes, many of the students who perform with YMTC were lucky enough to be born into providence, but not all of them, and the strong majority are most certainly deserving of their parts in the production. One person who posted previously said that kids leave YMTC with a sense of entitlement, and that roles can be bought- this is a grossly erroneous claim. Many of the actors that I have worked with have proven time and time again through timeliness, proper decorum, and an ability to receive feedback, that they fully understand what is expected of them as actors. The one person I do know who was part of the YMTC community and had a gross sense of entitlement, had this sense long before entering the community, and after graduating has yet maintain high standing with any group they work with. The process the actors are put through, while extremely condensed and not as well organized, bears a striking resemblance to the processes of professional and college companies I have also worked with. The product, which is more often than not slightly substandard, is one community theater, and should not be judged so harshly as one might judge a regional or commercial theater production. Ticket prices I cannot defend. However the things I learned by watching people work and getting involved myself during the rehearsal and technical processes has been invaluable to me and many others over the years, and I have YMTC to thank for that.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

YMTW produces extremely high quality performances. I'm so impressed!

2 Dawon D.

Client Served

Rating: 4

I was in the previous YMTC show RAGTIME! AND I LOVED the opportunity to be in a professional theater production! While being cast as the lead of this show in the role of "Coalhouse Walker Jr." I got to see the show from so many perspectives. One, being that i a former foster child got to play the lead, even though i had never done a musical, that was big for me personally. Two, i noticed that there wasn't a lot of diversity in the cast, I'm not sure how to view that, however, regardless of that the people in the cast are amazing and talent is not even a question when it comes to there shows and productions, i even stayed at one of the cast members house while the production was in play because i had become homeless at the time. Three, i feel as though YMTC has a lot to offer and deserves to be noticed by many, but they should think about how they run the organization, i'll just say that. In closing, overall YMTC is an amazing theater company in which i learned so much from and grew as an artist and a person. YMTC is sadly not apart of my life anymore but i thank them for everything that they have done for me. ~Dawon Davis

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

YMTC produces three astonishing musicals every year. They audition kids from middle school through high school and then, over just a few weeks, blend those kids into an almost-professional troupe of actors, dancers, and singers. Every show is amazing. The director, choreographer, and costume designers put together shows that are a pleasure to behold. I have seen "Fiddler," "Jesus Christ Superstar," and most recently, "West Side Story" during the past few months. YMTC is a Community Treasure and should be regarded as such. We are unbelievably lucky to have them right here in our very own East Bay community. Long May They Perform!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

YMTC has been inspiring me for many years, since long before I became a part of the company. I have seen or been involved with every show since 2008. Every performance is practically perfect in caliber and, what's more, the actors bring a freshness and an emotion to their characters that I have rarely experienced even in many Broadway shows. I have left the theater after every YMTC show I have seen filled with many emotions, a huge deal of inspiration, and a sense of wonder at how a group of teenagers and younger can be counted on to produce such a work of art. I have also performed in many shows with YMTC, and each one of them was a life-altering experience for myself and my peers. Although I could not afford to pay full tuition for these shows, I was never denied the same opportunity to perform that was granted to the actors paying full tuition. I know I am not alone in saying that YMTC has monumentally changed my life for the better.

Volunteer

Rating: 3

I have thought long and hard about whether to write a review for YMTC, obviously, I have decided that a review is worthy of my time. I am not a parent, relative, actor, or professional judging this company, I am a teenager who has done backstage work for YMTC going on three years now. At first, looking at all the glowing reviews from parents - I was a bit aggravated, YMTC is not perfect, there are many flaws in this program, and people suggesting that it's life changing and so incredible and professional - while valid, doesn't exactly ring completely true. However, I do not agree with the people on here saying that YMTC is a complete and utter waste, and should not be supported, yes, YMTC has its flaws, it isn't perfect, no company is, but to say that because they flooded your inbox they're a bad Youth Theatre company? I don't think so. For me, YMTC has been a good, if not great way to gain experience. Yes, many of the kids who study with YMTC have money, and yes the tuition is a lot, but whoever said that it's for rich kids must not have heard about Ragtime - over half the students were on tuition assistance. As for the quality of the YMTC shows, it's community theatre, not broadway. It isn't going to be as perfect or as polished. I personally have seen some incredible YMTC shows, Ragtime being among them. Now YMTC does have it's problems - communication being one of them. I have continually felt that I was given far too much responsibility and not enough credit for nearly every show I've worked on with YMTC. I have worked incredibly hard, only to be demoted time and time again. Now this is partly my fault - but I also feel that the people in charge of YMTC have so much on their plate that sometimes they let everything else slide. Still, I have gotten great experience working backstage on YMTC shows, and I am proud of the caliber of the productions i have worked on and helped to produce. Is YMTC perfect? No, absolutely not, but it's growing and changing, and to sell it short and not give it and the people who run it the benefit of the doubt would be a complete and utter travesty.

Jan Elise S.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

YMTC's West Side Story was spectacular! The dancing, the singing, the acting! It was better than the movie--which was fantastic--because it was a huge cast of young people who had so much talent, the audience was entranced! What a treat! I could have come back and seen them again the next night, but they were sold out!

Andy8

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've been thrilled to be a part of three YMTC shows (and plan on being in many many more). Never before in any aspect of my life have I been treated with as much respect as a professional despite my 15 years of age. Beyond this, I now have three distinct new families to rely on and grow with. Being in a YMTC show provides a perfect blend of meeting new people and quickly falling in love with them and a very real and very professional theater experience. Jennifer Boesing is, hands down, a genius in her unique interpretation and execution of all shows obsqure and well-loved; she provides Broadway quality musical theater with a fraction of a Broadway budget by inspiring and relying on the kids in her shows instead of doubting their ability on the basis of their age. It has been an absolute blessing to be a part of the YMTC community these past few years, and I am certain that the geniuses now running the company will continue to astonish bay area natives and kids alike as they work to create masterful theater.

Dana15

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

There should be a sixth star choice for YMTC! My wife and I have been to almost every show for the last five years. They just keep getting better and better. Everyone from the Director to the youngest and newest actor gives 110% at every show. With the new sound crew, sound being the bain of proformances, even sound is almost perfect. You NEED to see these shows. West Side Story just completed had 45 actors, actresses and a 31 piece orchestra. The best production ever!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I began seeing YMTC shows because of a wonderful young man I new who was performing in them. I had no idea when I saw his first show that I was going to be attending the 'Theater'. It is easy to forget that the show is primarily young people. The talent, sets, direction, music, house management is all exceptional. This company is committed to offering scholarships to young people who would otherwise not be able to be involved... i could go on and on. This company is a gift to our community and I am proud to support them and recommend that you check out one of their shows- you are sure to be moved!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My husband and I have been to three performances by YMTC, and they have been outstanding. These young people work hard and perform as if they were on Broadway. One of the many aspects of this organization that impresses us is the 'taking on' of challenging material. We are happy to pay admission and are also donors. We are looking forward to seeing many more YMTC shows.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

YMTC is afaabulous group of zvery talented young people who perform with professional polish and technique. Congratulations to Jennifer who inspires these young people to perform as young professionals.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My child has been in two YMTC productions, one as a cast member and one as part of the production staff. Each production was its own new community; the way in which that community developed over the many weeks from audition to closing night was a lesson for me, and I hope for the kids, in how hard work and a shared goal can create a spectacular result. Speaking of which, this is not your average "kids, let's put on a show" youth theater company: the quality is outstanding. We went to the most recent production even though our child wasn't involved, and if that's not an endorsement, I don't know what is!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My first experience with YMTC was "Jesus Christ Superstar" which was awesome and amazing. We just recently saw "West Side Story" which was also fabulous. The young adults were incredible performers, the sets were beautiful and fun, and the experience was delightful. We will not miss another show!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

At age 73 and lover of musicals, you can imagine how many West Side Stories I've seen, (I was even in one!) but this one presented by Youth Musical theater ranks a 5 star chills-down-the-spine winner. There are no 'kids' here, but rather incredible believable talented All-Stars. It''s a great show directed by Jennifer Boesing - we were teary, we were elated and thrilled, I vote 5 stars! Annie Hershey, El Sobrante, CA.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our son was a YMTC member for the final years of high school. All of his and our interactions with the organization - teachers, administration and volunteers - were thoroughly positive. He came with some experience in acting, but singing and dancing were new to him. With the help of the YMTC directors he grew tremendously through his experience. if it had not been for the generous scholarship program, he would not have been able to participate. YMTC passes on a valuable sense of community, respect for the individual and the collective art of theater that we wholeheartedly support and commend.

Diana22

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love everything about the good work of YMTC. I think they put on stellar musical productions and that they are a major part of the education and training for many young musicians in this part of California. They deserve all the accolades that a grateful community has given it over the last decade. Thank you Huffington for recognizing the achievements of Jennifer Boesing, Dave Moeshler & others in guiding Berkeley's Youth Musical Theater Company.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My family's first exposure to YMTC was their production of Les Mis, and I still can't get over their polished and professional production. I've seen every performance since. My daughter took, and loved, YMTC workshops. She credits YMTC for her subsequent involvement in college chorus and a capella groups. Jennifer's talents as a teacher and director have been well stated by others. Yep, fantastic. I'd like to add that I have also been impressed by the awareness these young performers develop for the social context of the musicals they perform. I came away from Les Mis, for example, feeling these kids really grasped realities of that era. I also appreciate that the company stepped out of Broadway with"Mothers of Ludlow", a new production about the Ludlow miner's strike. I am looking forward to their next production.

Francie B.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

The professional production values and talent of this show reached far beyond my expectations. The set design, choreography and music were creative and well rehearsed and again very professional. I would encourage all teens interested in Musical Theater in the SF Bay Area to audition for this incredible company. They would have a very rich and diverse experience working with their peers who share a vision and love of musical theater and dance.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

My daughters and I saw West Side Story and thoroughly enjoyed it. The talent was far beyond what we were expecting in a "Youth" organization. The orchestra was outstanding, the sets were simple yet professional and appropriate, and the lead actors were convincing enough to recommend bringing a tissue. WELL DONE!!!!

Susan110

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What a professional show! I was so impressed with the high level of talent, energy, dedication of the cast. The Jet boys, especially, blew me away. They all did, really. To be able to dance, act and sing so flawlessly is quite an accomplishment for kids ranging in age from middle-schoolers through college. Bravo to the cast and crew of West Side Story!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

YMTC is a Youth Musical Theater Company, with emphasize of “Youth.” Nevertheless, their productions are amazing! For example, last winter they preformed Ragtime. In my humble opinion, it was better than the original Broadway production. The director (Jennifer Boesing) and her stuff are doing wonderful job in bringing the young actors to perform at the highest level.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This last season I saw YMTC's production of Ragtime as was blown away. I had seen their other shows and had really enjoyed them, but this was far different. I see many plays and I am a very harsh critic, but Ragtime was among the best shows I had seen from any company, including top equity companies, in years. So I was so delighted to join the cast of YMTC's West Side Story this summer. It was the best experience I have had as an actor in over ten years. As a professional actor with over over thirty-five years in the business, and having been in over one hundred plays, I can honestly say these guys have it. The leadership, the student actors, the quality of the production were all above board and just amazing. I have never been more proud to have shared the stage with any group of actors. These "kids" taught me and reminded me what a joy it is to act on stage. I'm sure that in fifty years, when I am in my nineties, I will remember the summer of 2012 and the wonderful young actors I learned from at YMTC.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a teacher and director of theatre productions I am always encouraging my students to seek out quality training and education beyond what I provide. YMTC provides high-level, solid professional training beacause students have the opportunity to work with professional directors, musicians and choreographers. It has been thrilling for me to observe several of my students over the last several years perform challenging roles in a supportive and inspiring environment. While the productions are entertaining, there is a depth and emotion to these student performers characterizations that is remarkable.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I recently saw a performance of West Side Story put on by YMTC. My friend and I enjoyed it immensely. It was very professional all around. We did not know of this group and will purchase tickets for their next wonderful show!

Julie69

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I think this company produces STELLAR productions. Unfortunately due to the state of the lack of funds for the arts in general, it does cost a lot to be in the production, however they do offer scholarships and do not cast based on ability to pay. I've met the directors and know some company members and roles are strictly based on talent and suitability for the role. They work very hard and as I said the show are top notch. Keeping the arts alive and thriving is important!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My first contact with YMTC was a December 2010/Jan 2011 a few days after returning from a 12-day trip to London where I saw 18+ West End theatre productions including many musicals such as Mama Mia (yes, some days, I went to two or more!). So, the bar was set pretty high when I attened my first YMTC show which was Parade. It was a masterful production set in the South of the early 20th Century. As a psycholinguist, I was astounded at the authenticity of the English dialect of these youthful performers. My astonishment at their language performance was matched by my astonishment at the performers acting abilities and singing abilities (the orchestra was 1st-rate as well). These youthful performers were every bit as compelling as artists on stage as the global megastars that I'd just seen in London! It was an extraordinary evening for me and I've been to most of YMTC's performances since. All have been singularly outstanding. I should say that none of this would be possible without the single-minded, one-pointed, dedication of YMTC's passionate director, Jennifer Boesing. Her unwavering committment to getting only the best possible from each of her talented cast members in terms of acting and voice is laudable. She is the great unsung heroine in this marvellous company. She gives life and a future to her kids in the unique way that only she can. My hat is off to her EVERY time I witness one of her many achievements. West Side Story -- a couple of weeks ago --- was so extradorinary that the performers brought tears to these jade eyes and cheeks of mine -- not once but on several occasions (-: Long may YMTC maintain such standards of excellence!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

It seems to me and many others that the student actors who audition for this company basically pay to be in their productions. Leaving out many theatre students who can't afford to pay to be in a play. Yes they do offer scholarships.. But bottom line the students pay to be on stage while the producers make money from the Kids and their parents. The company is also busy casting "ringers" - who they pad their productions with. These ringers don't pay to be in the shows and at times are paid to be part of the production. Consider these thoughts before awarding this company any honors.

Karen86

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I saw this group's work for the first time this month when I attended their production of West Side Story. This age group is the future, which is of course an overused phrase, but I was truly thrilled for the future of Music Theatre. I had two friends involved with the show so while I was visiting from LA, my family and I wanted to be supportive. I'm a Music Theatre actress/singer with Broadway credits, my husband is a composer and my daughter attends a performing arts high school in LA. We were all so impressed and so pleased that we happened to be in town during the run of the show. We had a delightful evening and were so taken with the attention to details and the acting commitment of the company. We cared about the characters and felt a true cohesiveness in the company as actors and as characters. What a lucky group of young adults to be a part of this company with what is undoubtably a group of dedicated professionals calling the shots. If I lived in the area I would love to be a part of what is going on in this company. Seeing talented kids like this is invigorating and reminds me of why I got into this business in the first place. It's exciting to see them at this stage with so much ahead of them. Bravo to all involved!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

YMTC is the reason I do theater. In high school YMTC took me on as an assistant stage manager, despite my complete lack of experience, and showed me the ropes. Before long I was stage managing full-fledged productions for them. And now, after coming back to YMTC for many summers, I've graduated from Oberlin College with a degree in theater and a passion in life. YMTC showed me the power of theater, for both participants and audiences. YMTC taught me how to collaborate effectively, and how to stay level-headed in high-stress situations (both invaluable skills). YMTC taught me how to teach, and showed me that it's possible to create an environment wherein everyone feels respected, safe, and encouraged to discover their full potential. And not only did YMTC embrace these values, they did so while holding themselves to an incredible artistic standard. They still do, which is why I still go to every YMTC production I can. I continue to be blown away both by the amazing performances (both onstage and off), and by the knowledge that every young person on the stage, or backstage, or in the booth, is feeling some version of the excitement, joy, and gratitude that I still feel for this amazing company.

Advisor

Rating: 5

Aside from the astounding quality of the shows, I think the very special thing about YMTC is the absolute commitment to training the kids with real challenges and real skills. This organization truly, truly gives enormous benefit to its community and to the arts everywhere... Be on the lookout in the coming years for prodigious accomplishments by their alumni. We are lucky to have YMTC.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter participated in YMTC productions for 3 years during high school, and I volunteered at times too. The adults behind it, whether producers, directors, choreographers, or set designers, are extremely talented and professional. What they brought out in the kids is nothing short of amazing. While these kids are only in high school, honestly, many of the productions rivaled professional theater shows. My daughter really blossomed and gained skills and confidence that will serve her for the rest of her life. Several of her peers have moved on to professional careers of their own. I am so grateful that YMTC is around to provide such a wonderful program for the kids, and great pleasure to the audiences as well.