December 29, 2011 at 8:36 a.m.
This year, a record 56 schools, including 13 new schools and nine from greater Minnesota, performed musicals made possible by the collaboration of almost 5,000 students and seen by an estimated 105,000 audience members.
Chisago Lake High School presented Hello, Dolly! November 17-20.
A list of the fall 2011 honorees by school and category is available online at HennepinTheatreTrust.org.
The SpotLight Musical Theatre Program honors high school musicals and students by recognizing their extraordinary achievements and develop young talent in Minnesota's high school musical theatre programs. Chisago Lakes High School and its musical theatre students will also be honored at SpotLight's culminating event, the seventh annual SpotLight Showcase, scheduled this year for 7 p.m., Monday, June 11, at the Orpheum Theatre. This gala evening celebrates and honors high school musical theatre accomplishments by featuring dynamic student performances mixed with award presentations. Last year's event sold out and featured nearly 1,000 Minnesota students performing on the Orpheum stage. Tickets will go on sale at a later date.
Dave Seaburg, the director of the CLHS musicals stated, " We are all proud of the accomplishments of the cast of Hello, Dolly! It is exciting to have their work recognized by the Hennepin Theater Trust Spotlight Program. It is our first year in the program and it has been a very positive experience. The students learned a lot from the experts that came to see our production. We look forward to participating again next year."
Linda Eder, SpotLight spokesperson, Broadway actress and Drama Desk-nominated vocalist, commented, "At a time when arts education budgets are being cut, giving young people opportunities to work together on school musicals is so important. Performing opens up a new world for some kids that didn't even know they have the ability until they're involved."
Hennepin Theatre Trust, non-profit owner of the historic Orpheum, State, Pantages and the newly developed New Century Theatres, is an independent organization dedicated to enriching the vibrant cultural atmosphere of the Twin Cities and to arts-inspired community cultural development. The Trust established the SpotLight Musical Theatre Program after recognizing that none existed in Minnesota to honor excellence in high school musical theatre. The Trust supports participating schools by providing high-quality learning, performing and creative experiences for students to develop and empower the next generation of innovative leaders.
SpotLight's benefits include the opportunity to work with local and national theatre educators and musical theatre professionals who offer training, insight through critical feedback and on-site school workshops. A group of evaluators is retained by the Trust to assess each production with constructive written commentary and nominate honorees. Categories include outstanding performance in leading, supporting and featured roles, outstanding performance by a chorus, dance ensemble and student orchestra, outstanding overall performance of a musical and outstanding overall production of a musical. Shows are not compared or ranked against each other, so categories may have multiple honorees. Schools annually apply to participate and pay a nominal administration fee. SpotLight advocates for the importance of high school musical theatre education to support the statewide community of theatre artists, teachers and families who participate in this art form.