Area actors perform in SpotLight Showcase at Orpheum

Four area high schools were among 56 schools honored for accomplishments in musical theater in the 2012-13 SpotLight Musical Theater Program.

St. Francis High School: "Grease" Photo submitted

St. Francis High School: “Grease” Photo submitted

Theater students from Andover, Anoka, Blaine and St. Francis high schools were celebrated at the eighth annual SpotLight Showcase June 3 held at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis.

The event is sponsored by Hennepin Theatre Trust and dedicated to arts-inspired, community cultural development.

Students performed selections from their school shows for each other and other audience members at the awards presentation.

The school groups also combined their talents and performed selections jointly as part of the end-of-the-school-year celebration.

This is the fifth year Andover High School has participated in the SpotLight Program.

“The students love performing at the Orpheum,” said Ann Johnson, theater director at Andover High. “It’s not often that they have the opportunity to perform for a full house of 2,500 people.”

Among area school musicals included in this year’s SpotLight Program were: Andover High School, “The Mystery of Edwin Drood;” Anoka High School, “Legally Blonde: The Musical” and “All Shook Up;” Blaine High School, “Hello, Dolly!;” and St. Francis High School, “Grease.”

To qualify for the program, the trust sends professional-artist adjucators to high schools to assess and constructively critique their shows. Shows are not compared or ranked against each other.

For the SpotLight Showcase, students are honored in the following categories: Outstanding performance in leading, supporting and featured roles; outstanding performance by a chorus, dance ensemble and student orchestra; and outstanding overall performance of a musical and outstanding overall production of a musical.

Additionally, honors are awarded for technical achievement and community engagement.

As a particular highlight, two students are also named Triple Threat Award winners. They earn a trip to New York City, courtesy of Hennepin Theatre Trust, where they receive private singing and acting coaching, take dance classes at Broadway Dance Center and meet with industry professionals about the business of Broadway.

The two Triple Threat winners also have the opportunity to participate in a private audition with Telsey and Company and to see some Broadway shows.

Schools apply annually to participate and pay a nominal administration fee to participate in the SpotLight Program.

“For students interested in theater, they get the opportunity to work at the Orpheum with very talented musicians, choreographers, directors, etc.,” Johnson said. “Meeting more people and seeing how many avenues there are to pursue is always beneficial.”

Elyse Kaner is at elyse.kaner@ecm-inc.com

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