THE CORE TEAM
DONNA SUE DEGUZMAN
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WRITER, DIRECTOR, ACTOR
A graduate of the Performing Arts School at Syracuse University, Ms. Deguzman has a long history of working with youth in Bridgeport, CT. She has written, directed and produced over 45 original shows with youth in Bridgeport. She began in 1993 at the McGivney Community Center where she Directed and Produced, “Marginal Saints” written by Lee Gundershire which became an overnight sensation at the Downtown Cabaret Theater and went on to win a place at the International New York Theater Festival. The program started with 20 students and became 60 middle and high school students within a year. They wrote plays, public service announcements and talk shows around teen pregnancy. (Which at the time was at an all time high) She was then hired to expand the Regional Center For the Arts from an interdistrict program to magnet status with the state. In the process she brought accolades from the Governor, Mayor, and Bridgeport community when winning the American High School Theater Festival award in Scotland. Raising almost $100,000.00 she took 30 youth to Scotland with an original show called, “Peacocks and Peanuts.” She became co-founder of the successful company, Original Works Inc until 2010. In 2011 she co-founded her second company with her late husband, Creative Youth Productions Inc. (CYP) As Executive Director she continues to secure contracts with the State, Bridgeport Board of Education, City of Bridgeport and numerous local funders such as Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, David & Eunice Bigelow Foundation, Paul Newman Foundation, and many others. She was one of the first to fight for youth to receive stipends and job descriptions in the company instead of intern positions. CYP now has returning students from College who are on staff for the program along with a dozen youth in middle and high school who receive stipends throughout the school year. Her graduates of the program are now scattered in cities like NYC, Chicago and LA working as playwrights, directors and actors in the entertainment industry. The high school graduation rate among the youth leaders is 100%. (This being the mission of the Bridgeport Public School District.) She continues to be an advocate for young people by using the performing arts to transcend and empower young people giving them the opportunity to have success in their lives.
Creative Youth Productions Inc. (CYP) was founded on October 14th, 2011 as a not-for-profit corporation with an ongoing mission to develop youth leaders through the performing arts in Bridgeport, CT. Jonas and Donna Sue Deguzman co-founders worked tirelessly to ensure the beginning of CYP. Falling short of $825.00 from their fundraising goals to make CYP a legitimate 501c non-for-profit organization they both in December of 2010 put together the $825.00 foregoing Christmas to get the company started. Jonas Deguzman worked as a volunteer for the company while he maintained a full-time job with the Bridgeport Housing Authority in Bridgeport. Unfortunately, Jonas Deguzman passed suddenly in October of 2012 leaving Donna Sue Deguzman to carry on the mission. With some touch and go years nearly losing the company altogether.
MASTER MUSIC COMPOSER/ DIRECTOR OF THE MUSIC DEPARTMENT
Matthew DeTroy has been the Theatrical Music department head for 4 years. He’s worked collaboratively with our musically gifted artists to create original compositions and music for our very own productions. He studies at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Matthew works as an instructor for the KEYS program, teaching piano lessons throughout the Bridgeport school system. He has elevated and faithfully supported the CYP Music Department, creating CYP’s very first album of music for our play “Behind Closed Doors,” collaboratively with the youth of CYP’s programming. Matthew enjoys working with young artists and credits CYP for providing him with another platform to help students be creative and explore the creative process of music. “Music is the universal language and a way to tell stories, to communicate and connect on an emotional and deeper level.”
KEITH “ KENNY SPRITE” SHAW, JR.
DIRECTOR OF THE THEATER DEPT. / ASSISTANT MUSIC PRODUCER
Kenny has been a powerhouse leader at Creative Youth Productions for over 11 years of his youth. He returns to CYP at 23 after receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Audio Production From Western Connecticut State University. Kenny has starred in shows such as, “From Shades to Hollywood Lights,” “Under the Gun”, “This is Me”, and Chasing Freedom. He effortlessly became a triple threat performer, taking on acting and dancing in the most recent filming of Episode 1,2, and 3 of “Behind Closed Doors.” Kenny has consistently exhibited a passion for creating art and supporting young artists, he transitioned into his new position as Director of Music Production for the Sound Production Department, where he will be the coordinator in producing new material for CYP singers and assisting in underscoring film pieces. “CYP has opened up my talent for acting, singing and dance as well as shown me the importance of improv and songwriting.”
HEAD OF STYLING DEPARTMENT, ACTOR, SINGER, SONGWRITER
Leandra has been with CYP for 13 years. She started in the 9th grade, became a youth leader and then a graduate of the CYP program. After studying at Housatonic Community College, she returned to CYP as a staff member and is now the Department Head of the styling Department. Leandra has written and directed numerous sketches and plays. She was the lead actress in the touring production of “ Dying To Live” and “The Spanish Soap Opera”. She won a mini grant to direct an anti-underage drinking film called, “Sixteen Candles”. She also snagged a lead role, and produced the original soundtrack for the movie, “5k Motion,” produced in CT with 4Peace, The New Haven Police Department, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of CT to stop Gun Violence. Leandra remains focused on creating artistic concepts and executing the makeup and hair for all of CYP’s productions. She also has started and opened her own business, where she works as a Lash Technician.
DIRECTOR OF VOCALS
Kali is 22 years old and has been with CYP for over a decade. She has been writing original songs since she joined including being part of the team that developed Annie, The Remix which took over 6 months. She has been a solo artist singing for the company for almost every production and coaching young singers at the same time. Most recently she was the writer and solo performer for “Decisions” in Episode 3. Kali works with the Theatrical Music Department weekly in working on new songs with other youth.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY/FILM DEPARTMENT