Many audience members called Burnsville High School Theatre Guild’s fall production of “The Music Man” outstanding, but it was also the official rating of the show according to Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Spotlight Education program.
Spotlight Education is a program by Hennepin Theatre Trust in Minneapolis that honors and supports high school theater students in 94 high schools throughout Minnesota, including Burnsville High School. This is BHS’s first year being part of the program.
BHS theater Director Amy Stead praised both the program and the theater students.
“I was wonderfully surprised and proud that ‘Music Man’ received an outstanding mark from Spotlight,” she said. “The one thing I am very pleased about is that they sent two experts out to our final dress rehearsal, and they gave very detailed and constructive notes to the cast and crew.”
Along with the production’s overall “Outstanding” rating, BHS seniors Maddie Stuart and Daniel Akah received “Outstanding” ratings for their performances as Marian Paroo and Harold Hill, respectively. Senior Sofia Versalles-Duffert also received an “Outstanding” rating in her role as Eulalie Shinn.
In technical roles, BHS senior and production stage manager Shealyn McMahon received an “Outstanding” rating for her work, as did senior and lighting designer Greg Johnson and senior and sound designer Thomas Dang.
Because the production earned an “Outstanding” mark, the entire cast will be performing a 4 minute medley at the Spotlight Showcase in June at the Orpheum. In addition, the individuals who earned “Outstanding” and “Honorable Mention” ratings will also perform in an opening number with other Spotlight school outstanding and honorable mention recipients.
Not only did the students receive professional critiques, but they have also participated in several other real-world opportunities this year, including attending a Broadway show, “Aladdin,” at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis. Students had the opportunity to arrive early and meet with the show’s stage manager and running crew, ask questions, and watch as the professionals conducted sound and stage checks.
On Jan. 20, a group of technical crew students in the theater guild will take a master class at the Orpheum Theatre about technical roles. Later this spring, the entire guild will take a class with Broadway performers about how to audition for shows.
The theater guild plans to work with Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Spotlight Education program in future theatrical productions in the coming years.
“Our experience with Hennepin Theatre Trust has been wonderful this year. We are excited to hear what feedback they will have for “Mary Poppins” and our future shows,” Stead said.
Learn more about the Hennepin Theatre Trust Spotlight Education program at www.hennepintheatretrust.org/spotlight-education.
List of awards received by Burnsville High School Theatre Guild:
Overall Production: Outstanding
Overall Performance: Honorable Mention
Achievement in Musical Theater: Honorable Mention
Ensemble Performance: Honorable Mention
Vocal Performance by an Ensemble: Honorable Mention
Movement/Dance Performance by an Ensemble: Outstanding
Student Orchestra: Outstanding
Overall Technical Team: Outstanding
Costume Crew: Outstanding
Technical Crew: Outstanding
Light & Sound Board Operators: Outstanding
Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role: Daniel Akah as Harold Hill and Maddie Stuart as Marian Paroo
Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role: Sofia Versalles-Duffert as Eulalie Shinn
Honorable Mention for Performance in a Supporting Role: Andre Finney as Olin, Jon Butler as Jacey, Maxwell Taylor as Ewart and Sam Schuneman as Oliver
Outstanding in Technical Leadership: Stage Manager Shealyn McMahon, Sound Designer Thomas Dang and Lighting Designer Greg Johnson
Honorable Mention in Technical Leadership: Gavin Oliveras as Deck Captain, Aviva Leverty as Hair/Makeup Designer, Jayde Grass as Costumer and Mikayla Moss/Elianna Panos as Prop Designers.
Evaluator Shout Out*: Will Alvey and Isaac Nelson
*Shout Outs are a new new distinction to give recognition to students who caught the attention of the evaluators. It is not an honor that results in a performance in Showcase, but rather just another way that the evaluators can recognize all performers that are doing stand out work.
NOTE: STORY BY JUSTIN AMAKER, BURNSVILLE HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR AND DISTRICT 191 COMMUNICATIONS INTERN.