Hennepin Theatre Trust COVID-19 Updates

Hennepin Theatre Trust cancels its annual Spotlight Showcase

April 28, 2020

The two-night event highlighting the accomplishments of Minnesota high school musical theater programs and students was originally scheduled for June 8-9

MINNEAPOLIS (April 28, 2020) Hennepin Theatre Trust announced the annual Spotlight Showcase will be canceled in accordance with the guidelines outlined by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz for the health and safety of the community. Spotlight Showcase is the year-end celebration of the Trust’s Spotlight Education program and was originally scheduled for June 8-9 at the historic State Theatre in the Hennepin Theatre District.

Ticket holders may choose to donate the value of their tickets to the Trust, otherwise they will receive a refund at their point of purchase.

Annually, the Trust serves more than 8,000 high school students statewide and brings nearly 600,000 people to the Hennepin Theatre District to experience art on the street and stage. Donating the value of tickets enables continued support of programs such as Spotlight Education, which promote the community and introduce new audiences to the arts. To donate tickets, contact the Trust at  donors@HennepinTheatreTrust.org.

Spotlight Showcase highlights the hard work and talents of more than 1,600 of the state’s finest musical theater students and programs with live performances. Schools and students are also recognized for excellence in categories including individual performance, overall productions and technical achievement.

While the annual celebration will not take place, plans to honor outstanding students are moving forward for the Triple Threat and Technical Theatre Excellence honors. These outstanding students are praised for their excellence in either singing, acting and dancing or technical skills and aptitude, in addition to demonstrating community leadership, teamwork and artistry. Honorees in both categories will be named at a later date.

In past years, Triple Threat honors students have been honored with the Spotlight Education Triple Threat Broadway Experience, fueled by Sun Country Airlines. The unique experience is an all-expenses paid trip to New York City where the Triple Threat Award winners will meet with industry professionals, participate in workshops and attend Broadway shows.

Additionally, Spotlight Education sponsors two student representatives to participate in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards™ (the Jimmy® Awards), a talent showcase presented by The Broadway League Foundation, in New York to recognize the country’s best high school performers. Unfortunately, the 2020 Jimmy Awards have been canceled.

Due to COVID-19, alternate plans for honorees are being arranged and will be announced at a later date.

The Trust’s education department has been offering online learning opportunities for Spotlight students as soon as social distancing measures were enacted in response to COVID-19. These events were typically hosted live in the Trust’s event center. In addition to masterclasses twice a week, the Trust launched a new live series called Spotlight 15, where teaching artists lead 15-minute sessions on topics ranging from warming up the body to vocal coaching.

Now in its 15th year, Spotlight Education provides valuable educational, performing and creative experiences for high school students in more than 100 schools in Minnesota. Students 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 – theatrical review writing instruction, production assessments and Spotlight Showcase.

These activities help foster essential lifelong skills such as collaboration, critical thinking, problem-solving and self-expression. Through this advocacy, the Trust supports the statewide community of high school musical theater artists, teachers and families.

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

The Trust will continue to adapt its programming schedule per State of Minnesota recommendations and guidelines for the well-being of audiences, staff, cast and crew. Additional updates will be provided at HennepinTheatreTrust.org/updates.

Please note that the Trust can only provide service options for tickets purchased directly from the Hennepin Theatre Trust Box Office or Ticketmaster. The Trust is not responsible for the procedures or refund policies of secondary ticket providers or other sources.


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 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.