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Hennepin Theatre Trust announces Minnesota’s nominees for the 2021 National High School Musical Theatre Awards® and the Triple Threat Broadway Experience finalists

June 4, 2021

Students from Fridley and Minnetonka will be recognized for their excellence in singing, dancing and acting on Tuesday, June 15 during the streaming presentation of Spotlight Showcase 2021: Spotlight Belongs To Us

MINNEAPOLIS (June 4, 2021) — Hennepin Theatre Trust announced today that high school students Halle Audette (Totino-Grace High School, Fridley) and Zachary Sullivan (Minnetonka High School) will represent Minnesota at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards® (The Jimmy Awards®). The national celebration, presented by The Broadway League Foundation, recognizes outstanding achievement and individual artistry of singing, dancing and acting. The announcement was made today during a rehearsal for the Trust’s Spotlight Showcase 2021: Spotlight Belongs To Us on Tuesday, June 15 at 6:30 p.m.

The Jimmy Awards® has, in past years, invited two nominees from regional ceremonies to New York City to participate in a theatre intensive including coaching and rehearsals with Broadway professionals in preparation for a one-night-only talent showcase on a Broadway stage. Due to the ongoing health concerns with COVID-19, this year’s program will be completely virtual and take place on Thursday, July 15. All coaching, rehearsals, and activities will take place online for the 72 nominees from 36 regions around the U.S. This will culminate with two talented students presented with a Best Performance by an Actress and Best Performance by an Actor award with a total of 20 awards and scholarships available to participants.

Audette and Sullivan were selected among 24 finalists in Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Spotlight Education Triple Threat Awards. The finalists are junior and senior high school students with expertise in singing, dancing, acting and leadership. They were named after being evaluated through their performance auditions, a written essay and personal interviews. In addition to The Jimmy Awards® nominees, four finalists will be awarded with the Triple Threat Broadway Experience* fueled by Sun Country Airlines, an all-expenses paid trip to New York City, where they will attend Broadway shows, meet with industry professionals and participate in workshops to hone their skills.

This year’s 24 finalists are:

  • Halle Audette (Totino-Grace High School, Fridley)
  • Carter Bannwarth (East Ridge High School, Woodbury)
  • Kennedy Brown (Maple Grove Senior High)
  • Camryn Connolly (Tartan High School, Oakdale)
  • Ashlyn Cox (Farmington High School)
  • Louisa Darr (Edina High School)
  • Hannah Ervin (Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists)
  • Marie Finch-Koinuma (Homeschool)
  • Cindy Hansen (Maple Grove Senior High)
  • Delaney Hunter (Minnesota Connections Academy, St. Paul)
  • Kameron Johnson (Kennedy High School, Bloomington)
  • Kobe Johnson (Kennedy High School, Bloomington)
  • Audrey Klein (Prior Lake High School)
  • Paige Klemenhagen (Stillwater Area High School)
  • Grecia Lopez (St. Cloud Tech High School)
  • Nolan Montcalm (St. Michael-Albertville Senior High School)
  • Lukas Nederloe (Thomas Edison Senior High School, Minneapolis)
  • Chris Owusu (Maple Grove Senior High)
  • Maryn Reader (Minnetonka High School)
  • Abigail Reynolds (PiM Arts High School, Eden Prairie)
  • Kieran Rowe (DeLaSalle High School, Minneapolis)
  • Audrey Schwartz (Eagan High School)
  • Zachary Sullivan (Minnetonka High School)
  • Nate Turcotte (Minnetonka High School)

In addition to the Triple Threat Awards, the Trust will recognize two deserving students for their achievements in technical theater excellence. This year’s six Technical Theater Career Pathway finalists include:

  • Dominic Bradburn (Minnetonka High School)
  • Veronica Kostka (DeLaSalle High School, Minneapolis)
  • Katy Lacy (Chanhassen High School)
  • Lizzie Nelson (Visitation School-VISTA Productions, Mendota Heights)
  • Caden Riley (PiM Arts High School, Eden Prairie)
  • Cordelia Stoeckel (Saint Francis High School)

Technical Theater Career Pathway recognizes graduating senior students who demonstrate an expertise in carpentry, wardrobe, electrics, audio, lighting and management. Upon selection as a finalist, they will be assigned to professional mentors and work closely on the creation of Spotlight Showcase and surrounding pre- and post-show events. Their organization, innovation and collaboration in the rehearsal process will determine the two winners of the Technical Theater Career Pathway, an all-expenses paid trip to New York*, where students observe, meet and train alongside top technical theater professionals.

 Winners for the Triple Threat Broadway Experience and the Technical Theater Career Pathway will be announced during Spotlight Showcase 2021: Spotlight Belongs To Us.

Spotlight Education organizers have launched a new way for students to integrate their theatrical passion and creative skills in a unique way with the new Student Publicist role. Students engaged in the Critical Review or Student Liaison programs with expertise in writing, marketing, and social media are eligible to apply. Following an evaluation based on their writing skills, personal interview and accolades, the Student Publicist will work closely with Spotlight staff to create content and promote Spotlight Showcase and accompanying pre- and post-show events. For the inaugural year, two students have been selected:

  • Jillian Elton (Buffalo High School)
  • Maria Kolb (Woodbury High School)

Spotlight Showcase 2021: Spotlight Belongs To Us is the Trust’s annual event that formally recognizes the extraordinary achievements, hard work and talents of the students and educators who make up the vibrant high school theater community across Minnesota. The professionally filmed event will be streamed online and feature both live and pre-recorded content. This year’s uplifting theme, Spotlight Belongs To Us, celebrates the spirit of unity among all participants in the Spotlight Education network.

The suggested donation to watch Spotlight Showcase 2021: Spotlight Belongs To Us is $15 which supports future Spotlight Education programming. Register at to make your donation and receive your viewing link.

Tuesday June 15 6:30 p.m. Online

The evening will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a live pre-show event with students, guests and a few surprises. At 7 p.m., Spotlight Showcase 2021: Spotlight Belongs To Us will feature a variety of performances, honors, and guest appearances filmed at host schools and venues around the state; including Hennepin Avenue in front of the State Theatre in the Hennepin Theatre District in downtown Minneapolis. The newly-announced Triple Threat winners will close out the evening with a special livestreaming performance.

Spotlight Education is an essential part of arts education in many Minnesota schools. Annually, the program helps nearly 8,000 students in more than 100 high schools build confidence, critical thinking, empathy, sense of community and knowledge of theater. The program supplements and enhances arts curricula through masterclasses, theater review writing and production assessments increasing equitable access to quality theater education:

All filming will be in accordance with the guidelines outlined by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz for the health and safety of the community.

Spotlight Education is made possible with support from PNC Bank, Sun Country Airlines, Hilton and United Properties.
*Travel will take place in 2022 or 2023 due to COVID-19

Follow Spotlight Education at:
Instagram: @spotlight_MN
Facebook: /SpotlightMN
Twitter: @spotlightMN

Hennepin Theatre Trust drives cultural and economic vitality in Minnesota through leadership of the dynamic Hennepin Theatre District in downtown Minneapolis and educational programming that reaches every area of the state. Its historic theatres — Orpheum, State and Pantages — and event center at 900 Hennepin Avenue light up Hennepin Avenue with top-tier entertainment, including the best of Broadway and a wide variety of arts programming. Hennepin Theatre Trust is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Learn more at

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.