June 7, 2019

Students from Mankato East High School and Cretin-Derham Hall High School, recognized for their excellence in singing, acting and dancing, will represent Minnesota at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards™

William Dusek (Cretin-Derham High School), Phoebe Kayobe (Dear Evan Hansen cast member) and Lauren Senden (Mankato East High School). Photo courtesy of Hennepin Theatre Trust.

MINNEAPOLIS—Hennepin Theatre Trust announced today that Lauren Senden (Mankato East High School) and Wiliam Dusek (Cretin-Derham High School) will represent Minnesota at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards™ (the Jimmy® Awards) – a national celebration of outstanding achievement, recognizing individual artistry in vocal, dance and acting performance.

The announcement was made today at the State Theatre by Phoebe Koyabe, a cast member from the national tour of the Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen, following a Q&A with Spotlight Education students preparing for the 14th annual Spotlight Showcase Monday, June 10 and Tuesday, June 11 at the historic State Theatre (805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis).

The Jimmy® Awards are presented by The Broadway League Foundation. The week-long experience includes rehearsals, master classes, private coaching and interviews with theater professionals. The week culminates with the live awards show on Monday, June 24 at Broadway’s Minkoff Theatre, hosted by Dear Evan Hansen original Broadway cast member Ben Platt (Evan Hansen), in New York City, where the Jimmy® Awards for Best Performance by an Actor and Best Performance by an Actress are presented.

William Dusek (Cretin-Derham High School), Phoebe Kayobe (Dear Evan Hansen cast member) and Lauren Senden (Mankato East High School). Photo courtesy of Hennepin Theatre Trust. Available for download at: http://bit.ly/Spotlight18-19

Lauren Senden is a senior at Mankato East High School where she participated in productions including Into the Woods as Baker’s Wife, Tarzan as Jane, In the Heights as Daniela and High School Musical as Sharpay Evans. She has received an Outstanding Spotlight award for her performance in a leading role for all four musicals throughout her high school career. Next fall, Senden will be attending Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music to pursue Musical Theatre in their BM program.

William Dusek is a senior at Cretin-Derham Hall and has participated in Spotlight for four years. He has also earned past Spotlight awards including three Outstanding Performances in a Leading Role for Usnavi in In The Heights, Billy Lawlor in 42nd Street, and Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar. Dusek was one of four Triple Threat Finalists in 2018, and participated in the Triple Threat Broadway Experience fueled by Sun Country. In the fall, he will be attending Illinois Wesleyan University School of Theatre Arts pursuing a BFA in Musical Theatre.

Spotlight Education engages Minnesota high school students in the performing arts, as the flagship education program of the Trust. Laura Osnes, a Minnesota native, Broadway performer and former Spotlight Education participant, is the program’s ambassador.

The Trust recognizes outstanding individual achievement through participation with the Jimmy® Awards and naming Triple Threat Award winners for junior or senior high school students who excel in singing, acting and dancing. More than 100 students submitted application portfolios. The number of applicants was narrowed down to a group of 55 semi-finalists who were invited to audition for a panel of local artists and Trust staff members. Twenty-six students were named as finalists.

Now in its 14th year, Spotlight Education provides valuable educational, performing and creative experiences for high school students in 102 schools throughout the state. These activities help foster essential lifelong skills such as collaboration, critical thinking, problem-solving and self-expression.

Through Spotlight Education, students enrolled in their high school musical theatre programs receive professional training and guidance to enhance their artistic, technical and performing skills. The wide-ranging program’s four key components are masterclasses, Critical Review, production assessments and Spotlight Showcase.

Spotlight Showcase runs June 10-11 at the historic State Theatre and highlights the hard work and talents of 1,600 of the state’s finest musical theatre students and programs with live performances. Schools and students are also recognized for excellence in categories including individual performance, overall productions and technical achievement.

Four Triple Threat Award winners will be announced at Spotlight Showcase. Winners are honored with the Triple Threat Broadway Experience, an all-expenses paid trip to New York City that includes exclusive Broadway opportunities such as meeting with industry professionals, participating in specialized workshops and attending Broadway shows.

Tickets for Spotlight Showcase are on sale now at the State Theatre Box Office, charge-by-phone at (800) 982-2787 and online at HennepinTheatreTrust.org.

Monday June 10 7 p.m. State Theatre $18
Tuesday June 11 7 p.m. State Theatre $18

A limited number of “Friends of Spotlight” tickets, which includes priority seating and a donation to the Spotlight Education program, are available for $25 to $100 by ordering at HennepinTheatreTrust.org.

All pricing includes a Building Restoration Fee of $1.50.

Spotlight Education is made possible with generous support from Sun Country Airlines. Hennepin Theatre Trust’s representation at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards™ (the Jimmy® Awards) is funded by United Properties.

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 new event center at 900 Hennepin 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 HennepinTheatreTrust.org.

The Spotlight Education program is funded, in part, by the Minnesota State Arts Board through the arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the Legacy Amendment vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.