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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

41 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.

Lakshmi K.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I saw the YMTC production of West Side Story yesterday and it was amazing! The actors, the music ... everything was so professional. I am a huge fan of Luna Lewis and she shone like the star that she is in this production (keep an eye out for Luna, America!). I love this company, I see every production that I'm able to. Thank you for including them in your search for the 10 great arts and culture non-profits in the U.S. I'm pulling for YMTC to win!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

The first YMTC production we saw was "West Side Story," 8 years ago. Since then, we have seen many of their shows, and have always been mightily impressed with what professional work these kids do. Our son participated in 2 shows, and had a great time working with the group. The kids really learn about working hard together, about being dependable members of the group, about putting in a lot of work and seeing the rewards for doing so, and, of course, about singing and dancing and acting. Their scholarship program allows kids who would not otherwise afford to participate in the program to do so. They are a real asset to our community. The 2012 "WSS" was fabulous!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I attended the performance of "West Side Story" this weekend and was incredibly impressed by the quality of every aspect - from the talent and skills of the actors, to the fabulous costumes, to the set design and scene changes. I know every word of this musical, and they were spot on in every nuance. The energy of the young actors singing and dancing their hearts out was infectious. It deserves every bit of support available for both the dedicated teachers and hard-working students. We need as many experiences of joy in our lives we can find - and I had an evening of it with YMTC. Bravo!

Dawn27

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I saw my first YMTC show, Ragtime, in the spring of 2012 and immediately signed up on their email list (something I usually avoid at all costs). We just saw West Side Story last night and I am truly hooked on this theater company. Besides the talent of the youth involved, I love the creativity that is woven into these professional-level productions - the choreography in Ragtime, the use of lighting and color in West Side Story... I am so looking forward to our future together as company and patron.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been to several performances and am amazed at the quality of the performances. I also attended a fundraiser and spoke with young people benefiting from this non profit. Their stories convinced me of how much this group is doing for young people.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

i thought that the show was sensational and it was very well put. the actors was magnificent and the singing and dancing was incredibly well choreographed and i had chills when i saw the death of rif and bernardo. i think that everyone had a good time and i enjoyed it.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

GREAT show. My 14 year old grandson, this was his first YMTC season and he did not even have a speaking part, said it was the best summer EVER. Every parent I spoke to raved about the experience for their child - both in fun and so much in how much they learned. YMTC deserves the recognition it has received.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This was a wonderful performance with a cast of young singers and dancers trained and supported by volunteers. The caliber of acting was on par with some of the professional musical production I have seen in the past. This is a great non-profit group prividing education and training for our young people. Superb!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I saw my first YMTC show tonight, West Side Story, and was extremely impressed by the talent and production quality. It is simply hard to believe the performers are high school students. AMAZING. AMAZING. AMAZING.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Just went to a production of West Side Story tonight and it was amazing! The cast was excellent, great singing, great dancing, great overall performance. Everything worked. The live orchestra was also amazing. I strongly support YMTC for giving youth a chance to learn musical theater by being involved in professional-level productions.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I just saw YMTC's production of West Side Story. Outstanding staging, direction and choreography, with great performances by an amazingly talented cast headed by Joshua Herman, Sophia Sinsheimer, Marnina Wirtschafter, Andrew Humann, and Jaron Liclican. Looking forward to the company's next production.

2 Diane38

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

YMTC shows are beautiful--full live orchestras accompany fabulous singers and dancers (guys too!) who are compelling actors as well. Most importantly, participants in YMTC productions are challenged to grapple with the diverse perspectives of the characters, discuss the themes and conflicts in the play, and think about the context in which a show was written. YMTC is not afraid to move outside of the box. In West Side Story the dream sequence, danced to the song most known for the words "There's a place for us," ends with mixed and same gender couples holding hands in a procession. YMTC is a place where so many students realize their potential, while building a supportive and thoughtful community of young people.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have seen two YMTC performances and been completely impressed by both Ragtime and Westside Story. The singing, acting, choreography and direction are first rate. I was also impressed by the wonderful 30+ piece orchestra. This has truly changed the lives of several of the actors I know. I am watching them through these performances grow, mature and become professionals before my eyes. I am looking forward to the next production.

1 Ann Z.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've been attending YMTC shows for many years, and after seeing (and being amazed by) the first show I saw 8 or 9 years ago, I started bringing friends with me. I am sure they were expecting your typical "high school musical," but without exception, every friend was blown away by the talent and professional production quality (and they have all become regular attendees also!). Usually a few minutes into the first number, they look at me in amazement, and within 10 minutes they are completely transported. YMTC is a fantastic community asset - great training and experience for the kids, and wonderful entertainment for the audience. What is really impressive is the depth of engagement the kids have with really challenging material - both technically and in terms of content: Parade, Ragtime, West Side Story, Into the Woods - this is not "kid stuff," but the young cast is so adept and well directed that the materials feels new again.

Chalk K.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I don't have any children participating in YMTC, but the children I have known who are in the productions have all come away from the experience with new confidence, composure, relational skills, and astounding teamwork attitudes - not to mention the performance boosts they get, which have improved kids I have seen over the years by many octane levels - these kids are literally wowing the audience! Learning acting and singing they way YMTC teaches them, promotes empathy, tolerance and opens the hearts of those who are on stage, and those who are watching the stage. I have seen kids get into physical shape, improve their interactions with people, learn about their society, widen their minds ... you name it, it is worked on, in YMTC! I love this organization and on a personal level I believe all who participate in it bring a lot of joy into the world.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

YMTC is a tremendous program, both for the kids that participate and for the general public. For the kids, they get a real opportunity to work hard and be part of creating something incredible. And, in a time when real feedback seems increasingly rare, Jennifer and her staff treat the kids like professionals, giving good, supportive but real critique. And, for the public in general, seeing a YMTC show reminds us that with a lot of work and dedication, we really can create something magical. Bravo YMTC!!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

YMTC offers amazing performance opportunities in musical theater to students who could otherwise not afford the chance. Their productions are top notch!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Put it this way. After seeing a number of YMTC productions, I had the opportunity to see "Wicked" at the Orphium in San Francisco. It was about 5% better than any of the YMTC productions, and that might be due to the elaborate big budget props!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

YMTC is the best youth company I have seen anywhere! Their productions are eagerly anticipated by the community and usually sold out. My daughter studied briefly with Jennifer and YMTC and her experience was life changing. She started with a little raw talent but virtually no training and in a short period of time made major breakthroughs in her vocal range and ability. She is now singing light opera in addition to Musical Theatre. We had to move out of state last year and she really misses her friends and teachers at YMTC, and I miss their wonderful productions. Highly recommended.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Youth Musical Theater Company is so important in the community. It provides professional level acting experience for youth. I was in the audience for their production of "Ragtime," and I was shocked to learn that the oldest actor was in his early 20's. I was shocked because they were so good, so well rehearsed, and seemed to be so experienced. This production also required singing and dancing, which were also excellent. My 13 year old friend was in the production, and his parents told me that of all his experiences with different companies, this one stood out because the director held very high standards for his cast. We need this company to thrive so that not only cast members can benefit, but also audiences from the community. They are very very inspiring.