A few words about Project Dance Camp….

Lexie from Aurora:

I have to say I think I’ve grown the most as a dancer this year at PD camp. Personally, I am someone who loves to perform, and I’ve always had the passion to do so. The difficult part for me is believing in myself. Coming to camp, the theme this year, “Inspire” was one so near and dear to my heart because I am inspired by so many amazing people in my life. It’s easy to look at the people around us and think “Wow, what an inspiration they are” or “They’re just such a beautiful person to watch onstage (and off!).” But normally, we don’t consider ourselves a part of that, or ever think we are good enough to BE an inspiration. I am without a doubt a person who feels this way most of the time. I worry constantly about what others are thinking of me, and feeling as if I am not good enough to do anything at all, and the enemy attacks with these words. However this year at camp, I felt the power only ONE can provide through every step, arm movement, facial expression etc. as I performed in showcase. There was so much joy in my heart, and I knew there was no where I would rather be than right on stage, dancing. And not just dancing, but dancing because The Lord called me to do so. It’s so special to remember each and every one of us is called to do something in our lives, no matter if we think it’s something big or minuscule.  And that’s such a beautiful thing to realize. Inspiration comes from Him, and it’s incredible to think we get to be a part of that story.

Gabby from Oak Park:

I started participating in pd camp 5 years ago and fell in love with them. But something happened this last year. I was a senior, so it was my last time being able to go. It crushed me. But God used this last time to really work on me. I’ve never felt closer to God. Being surrounded by fellow Christians dancing for Him was incredible and definitely changed my heart. Even though it is my last time, it was by far the best, most memorable, and most life altering year yet.

I used to just dance because it was fun, but now I will forever dance for my Lord.
I think the most memorable part of Camp for me, was the ballroom class. It was the hardest for me. I had been partnered with a guy who was like 6′ft something and I’m like 4’11. I assumed the choreographer had messed up and thought I was taller than I was or there had been a mistake or something to explain why I had been paired with the tallest guy in the class!!! My shoulder met his lower chest for goodness sake! Well that night I had talked to my dance partner to see if he wanted to switch partners and we agreed; but that night I had prayed about it and changed my mind and figured “ok God, I came here to be challenged and You obviously know what you’re doing, I guess I’ll have to  TRUST You.” I told the teacher the next day that I accepted the challenge… turns out she had faith in me the whole time and never had plans of switching partners. Oh man, that still makes me laugh. Big Thank you to my teacher for challenging me. It payed off and I can now say I’ve been able to dance with the tallest guy!

Elise from Lake County:

I think I grew as a dancer in many different ways during my time at camp, but I think I mostly grew as a dancer because I learned what truly inspires me to dance.

My relationship with God is always changing and growing but when you choose to do everything for His glory you are able to draw closer to him.

I will have to say that I will never forget how close our team gets at camp. After dancing all day and you are at your weakest point physically and emotionally when your team gets together and just talks about anything and everything. We share our struggles, pains, joys and remind each other that we never walk alone. I’ll always remember the promises that we make to each other and crazy stories that are told.

During Project Dance Camp, I realized that I never have to stop dancing, no matter what I want to do with my life as an occupational standpoint I will never have to give up my passion. I have been told by many people I look up to that, ‘you’re a good dancer but a dance career may not be for you,’ and ‘it is so hard for anyone to make it in dance’ but after this week I have been reminded that if dancing is your passion then it will find a way into your life plan. I know now that if I have been inspired to dance then I will dance anywhere because you don’t need a stage to dance on or an audience to dance in front of all you need is music and your feet to make you fly.

Favorite quote at camp: “There are no such things as mistakes, only unexpected solos”

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What are the Spotlight Stars Awards?

What are the Spotlight Stars Awards?

The Spotlight Stars Awards are a celebration of the 2013/14 Spotlight Season. Imagine the Tony Awards but starring and awarding our Spotlight Family.

How does it work?

A panel of judges has been selected featuring Spotlight Directors, Staff, Parents, Alum, and complete Strangers! The panel will review each of Spotlight’s THIRTY TWO productions and vote for the followingcategories: Best Musical, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Featured Actor, Best Featured Actress, Best Ensemble, Best Direction, Best Vocal Direction, Best Choreography, Best Featured Ensemble, Best Lighting Design, and Best Hair/Makeup Design.

Once the votes come in, the top five nominations for each category will be announced and eligible for the Golden Star.

What will the night of the awards be like?

We are going all out for our black tie event! Attendees will enter the theater by way of the red carpet where photographers and videographers await. While waiting in the lobby, patrons will be able to enjoy appetizers as well as cocktails and soda as they mingle and view the silent auction items.

Once in the theater and the show begins, our host will treat guests to a night of awards, testimonies, music and performances from the Best Musical nominees!

Who can come?

We want everyone to be there to support the nominees and the organization. Our goal is to have one night where our whole family and their friends can come together to celebrate the last year. We are also reaching out to press and donors to help us make next year even bigger and better.

What exactly are the June 14th auditions for? 

We are planning huge production numbers to be performed at the ceremony.  So, we need a cast of 16-28 dancer/singers to perform in the big numbers! The auditions will begin with a really exciting dance audition and then you may be asked to come back that evening for a vocal audition.  More information about the auditions can be found at http://www.spotlight.org/news

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Getting to Know Keith

How did you first get involved with Spotlight?
I first got involved with CYT/Spotlight when I was 9, I took 2 classes in DuPage and I went to 2 auditions and I chickened out both times.  Then when I was 12 I did an Aurora Park District summer show and met the Molica’s, Hauser’s & Petit’s at the end of the show they told me about CYT and how much fun it was, I decided to try it again and I signed up for classes and auditioned for Pocahontas.  I was hooked from then.


Dupage’s production of Hairspray. Spring 2014

Can you tell us how Spotlight has impacted your life in a positive way?
Spotlight has had a huge positive impact in my life.  Before Spotlight I would let things and other kids upset me and I would get mad about it and then I would do/say stupid things. I did not have many friends I could trust or be able to talk to. Since joining Spotlight I have made numerous friends that I know I can talk to about anything and a lot of times I don’t have to even say anything, they can tell something is wrong and come up to me or just be there. These same friends have been my role models by example as they have shown me different ways to handle different situations in a positive way.  The kids, teachers/directors and parents have also shown me that it’s ok to be me no matter what and have encouraged it.  I have carried all of things I have learned from spotlight to my life outside of Spotlight and try to be that same type of role model by example.  I have also been able to understand the importance of having God in my life and that he is responsible for leading me to Spotlight.


Keith and his mom, Nancy.

Has Spotlight done anything to bring you and your mom closer to each other?
I think Spotlight has brought me and my Mom closer than we were.  We have always been close since it’s always just been us two but there was a time where I was embarrassed to “hang out” with her but not anymore. I have seen how much she does for me and I love and appreciate everything she does.


Keith and the cast of Shrek.





What did it mean to you to play Shrek this year in Lake County?
Playing Shrek this year was a dream come true!!!  I can’t even try to explain how excited I was when I read the cast list. It was such a great experience in every aspect. I was challenged vocally and in my acting. I have many favorite shows for different reasons but Shrek is definitely #1.

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New Season… New You!

I’m sure most of you have seen the video release of the 2014/2015 Season of Shows for Spotlight by now. And I’m also sure you’ve already begun planning out your year and imagining what each production will be like in your home county.

With this new season looming, I’d like to challenge you to pray about the ways God will change and grow you as you participate in the shows. Whether you find your place in the cast, in the crew, or even just in the audience, He has proven over and over that He uses Spotlight shows to touch our lives.

How will you become a better friend?….. Find ways to offer encouragement to a friend during the audition process.  Seek out new families during break and invite them into your conversations.  Support your friends from other counties by attending their shows.

How will you become a better son or daughter?….. Be sure to thank your parent(s) for help with transportation to and from rehearsal.  Take the time to write a word of thanks to them in your bio!  Offer to help with some of their volunteering tasks for the show!

How will you become a better student?….. Challenge yourself to be respectful to the directing team at every rehearsal.  You’d be surprised at how much more you can get out of a rehearsal!  Find time to practice every day and see how much it improves your performance.  Meet deadlines head on by having your lines and songs memorized before the official due date!

How can you glorify God even more?….. It is astonishing how God honoring Spotlight shows truly are, but imagine how much farther you could go if you spent a little more time in God’s word and in prayer!  Giving your performance over to God as an offering is a truly humbling experience.  “The point” is the point!!



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The things we’ve learned….

These three young women shared with us a few of the things they’ve learned during their time with Spotlight Youth Theater.  We’ll definitely miss them on the stage, but they are a part of the Spotlight family forever :-)

Hannah Robinson
Hannah has been a part of Spotlight for 3 years and has performed in 7 shows.  She graduated this fall by playing Frog in Kenosha’s production of Frog and Toad.

We asked Hannah what life lessons she learned while being a part of Spotlight…

Any part is what you make of it! If you choose to make the part amazing then it will be amazing no matter how big or small!

Becca Leland

I am graduating with NW Cook’s Tom Sawyer but my first show was last Fall. I had decided (very last minute) to join Spotlight during my gap year between becca1high school and college. I thought it would just be something fun to do with friends, but little did I know spotlight would give me much more than good memories. A couple weeks ago I attended an open mic night that my younger sister and her band were playing at. When we got there, my sister suggested that my friend and I signup last minute and sing a duet. I would have never in a thousand years agreed to do it if Spotlight hadn’t shown me my love for performing and given me confidence in my voice. I can’t thank Spotlight and the people who touched my life through it enough.

Sarah Babuk

I graduated from spotlight following the winter show in Oak Park in 2013, and since then, I have had quite a bit of insight into how much my life was shaped by ‘The Little County That Could.’  When we first began doing shows, we had no HYPE, no leadership teams; we didn’t even have the sibling system until a few shows in. 1545861_706534919357082_1665262916_nThat meant that, simply because I was older than most there, I was automatically viewed as a leader among the students. And when I first started spotlight, my behavior both around students and on social media was unacceptable. Thankfully, the parents within my county loved me enough to hold me accountable to my actions. They called me out on questionable Facebook posts, confronted me about the vocabulary I used, and lived their lives as an example of how I should live my own.  There were moments when I hated those who called me out on my bad judgment, times where I was stubborn and refused to change. But now I see so clearly how God intended me to live my life as a leader, and I have the training to go forth from here. Thank you, Oak Park.

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Luke Hentzell’s story

12 year old cancer survivor becomes star on the stage

Click the above link to watch a news segment on the incredible survivor story from Luke Hentzell!

Luke is in the cast of Oliver! in Spotlight Milwaukee and has been an inspiration to the entire cast and crew!

Way to go Luke!

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Extreme Schwartz: A look at the life and works of Stephen Schwartz

A few things to know….

  • He was born in 1948 in New York City
  • He studied music at Julliard while he was in High School
  • He earned his BFA in Drama from Carnegie Mellon University
  • He has composed or written lyrics for over 20 stage musicals and movies
  • He spells his name with a PH not a V

Here are some of the Shows that might be featured in this Summer’s Overnight Camps!!…

This musical is largely based on the Gospel of Matthew and features stories and modern musical numbers that take their lyrics from parables and text from the bible.
Popular songs that you may know: Day By Day and Light of the World

This show follows a performance troupe lead by the Leading Player as they tell the story of a young prince who is searching for meaning and significance in his life.
Popular songs that you may know: Corner of the Sky and Magic to Do


This musical is based on the book of Genesis.  The first act follows the story of Adam, Eve, Cain, and Abel.  The second act tells the story of Noah and the Flood.
Popular songs that you may know: The Spark of Creation and In Whatever Time We Have



Wicked tells the story of what happened in Oz before Dorothy dropped in!
Popular songs that you may know: Defying Gravity and Popular….let’s be honest… you probably have the entire soundtrack memorized :-)


This is an animated film that follows the life of Moses as told through the book of Exodus.
Popular songs that you may know: When You Believe and Deliver Us

download (4)

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