Valley Youth Theatre to Celebrate 25th Anniversary with Concert, 3/22

Valley Youth Theatre to Celebrate 25th Anniversary with Concert, 3/22For the second time in its 25-year history, Valley Youth Theatre (VYT) is gathering alumni for a benefit concert, so the non-profit theatre may remain "fee-free" to its mainstage performers.

"During our 20th Anniversary alumni concert," said Producing Artistic Director Bobb Cooper, "we packed nearly a thousand people into Symphony Hall. On March 22, we plan to fill every seat at the Herberger!"

The 2009 alumni concert raised more than $65,000 to fund outreach programs such as VYT's award-winning Literacy and the Arts program which helps inner-city students improve reading and literacy skills.

This year, monies raised by the 25th Anniversary alumni concert will help keep cast members from having to pay-to-play, provide their own costumes, or meet a ticket quota -which is not uncommon with some theatre companies in the Valley.

"We don't think performers should pay to participate," said Cooper. "That's why VYT provides a professional learning experience at no charge."

Around 70 alumni are expected to perform at the event that features songs from 25 shows over the past 25 years including Annie, Cinderella, Grease, Legally Blonde, Shrek, Sound of Music and West Side Story.

One of the alumna scheduled to attend is Katie Casey (nee Rex) who met her husband Joe during The Secret Garden in 1999. They were married eight years later.

"VYT not only brought us together as a couple," said Casey, "it gave us a home-away-from-home and life skills that have helped us to become successful working adults and parents."

All solos, duets, trios and choral arrangements will be conducted by VYT's Resident Music Director Mark Fearey. "We're even doing a mash up of You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown and Snoopy!" said Fearey.

Ticket prices start at $23.50, plus fees, and are now on sale at http://herbergertheater.org/vyt_alumni or by calling the Herberger Theater Center box office at 602.252.8497.

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