One of the best kept secrets in town is ‘vytal’ to our community

Valley Youth Theatre has sent alumni to Hollywood. To Broadway. To boardrooms across America.

Some of the most brilliant theatre in the Valley has been produced by VYT. It has shaped stars of television, screen and Broadway. It has produced alumni who have taken the skills developed at VYT to excellence in the practice of law, education, business, law enforcement, politics (yup, POLITICS!) and more.

Sara Dial

And yet, somehow, VYT still remains one of the best kept secrets in town.

Many are aware that VYT was the training ground for such high profile talent as Golden Globe and Oscar winning actress Emma Stone, American Idol winner and Grammy nominated recording artist Jordin Sparks, star of ABC Family’s hit TV series Baby Daddy Chelsea Kane, Orange is the New Black & Broadway hit Waitress Kimiko Glenn, Nick Cartell of Broadway’s Cirque du Soleil Paramour and Scandalous (amongst others) and Max Crumm of Broadway’s Grease. Name dropping just a few.

Those attending VYT performances are blown away by the talent and production values of this organization. So you ask, “How on earth could youth performers be so accomplished?”

The secret is in the mix.

Children audition and are cast based exclusively upon their talent, with no fee to be included in the production. Their socio-economic status doesn’t matter. Parents are enthusiastically encouraged to participate in the production process by sewing costumes, working on sets, helping front of house and more.

VYT is a community. An intrinsic part of this community is volunteerism.

Valley Youth Theatre participants are taught to take their roles seriously — both on and off the stage. To work hard and to be positive. They are expected to have an enduring impact on the lives of other children through several of VYT’s free outreach programs for under-served children such as Sponsor-a-Seat, Hope Kids and Literacy in the Arts. VYT kids give back. They foster community.

Hope Ozer

They are the leaders of the next generation.

The most important thread that holds Valley Youth Theatre together is its leadership — VYT’s “Dream Team”: Award-winning Producing Artistic Director Bobb Cooper, Resident Costume Designer Karol Cooper and Resident Musical Director Mark Fearey.

For the past 21 years at its helm, with their talent, devotion and tenacity, they have transformed a small, fledgling theater company into a world class youth development organization. How? By putting children first. By providing them with a safe environment to be who they are and to pursue their dreams.

So many speak of the stars they’ve shaped. We see the thousands of children who are poised, confident, successful adults in all walks of life.

We have experienced the metamorphosis of so many young people who have been impacted by each of them. We admire their talent, their love and belief that all things are possible – and their utmost belief in the potential of all children.

So “VYTal” are they to the children’s lives they’ve impacted both on stage and off.

Thus, it is fitting and with great pride that the Board of Directors of VYT has chosen to bestow upon the “Dream Team” the 2017 VYTality Award, Valley Youth Theatre Applauds Leadership Impacting Today’s Youth, for their 21 years of devoted service.

They share this coveted award with past honorees including: Kax Herberger, Gwen and Doug Parker and Jerry Colangelo.

We would be delighted if you would join us for the “2017 VYTal Affair: Soirée in the Swamp” on Saturday evening, Aug. 19 at the Herberger Theater Center.

Help us celebrate the “Dream Team” as the Individual Honorees along with Corporate Honoree Fennemore Craig, P.C. as they are presented with the 2017 VYTality Awards for their service to our community. It’s certain to be a Shrek-tacular night!

Proceeds from this evening of merriment and live performances from Shrek the Musical (featuring VYT stars) support another season of award-winning programs and productions where youth find the inspiration to be the very best they can be.

For tickets to this magical evening, visit

Tickets for the Aug. 11-27 run of VYT’s Shrek the Musical at the Herberger are available at, or by calling the VYT Box Office at 602-253-8188.

Editor’s note: Sara Dial is president and CEO of Sara Dial & Associates and the board chair of Valley Youth Theatre. Town of Paradise Valley resident Hope H. Ozer is founding Board Chair Emeritus of Valley Youth Theatre and has been devoted to VYT since 1989. Email them at and

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