Spotlight Showcase returns to the State Theatre to shine a spotlight on Minnesota high school theater students and programs June 12-13, 2023

April 24, 2023

Hennepin Theatre Trust will recognize participants in the Spotlight Education program with honors and feature live performances by Minnesota students

MINNEAPOLIS (April 24, 2023) — Hennepin Theatre Trust announced today Spotlight Showcase 2023, Minnesota’s largest annual celebration of high school theater, is returning to the historic State Theatre (805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis) on Monday, June 12 and Tuesday, June 13 at 7:30 p.m. With honors and live performances, Spotlight Showcase celebrates high schools and students who participate in the Trust’s Spotlight Education program.

Every year, more than 1,600 students participate in the awards and recognition event, presented by Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Spotlight Education program follow a year of participating in the Spotlight-evaluated shows, students from across Minnesota will take the stage at the historic State Theatre. Appearances are also made by educators, community members and alumni. Spotlight Showcase proudly employs professional staff from both the Twin Cities and Broadway to collaborate with students across all areas of theater.

Tickets go on sale Thursday, April 27 at 10 a.m. to the general public at the State Theatre Box Office (805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis) and online at

Monday June 12 7:30 p.m. State Theatre $20-100
Tuesday June 13 7:30 p.m. State Theatre $20-100

Support the work of Spotlight Education:

  • Level 1 ($100): Supports educational feedback by a teaching artist for each Spotlight evaluated production.
  • Level 2 ($75): Supports workshops for high school performers, technicians and musicians led by local and national teaching artists.
  • Level 3 ($50): Supports Spotlight’s monthly “Musical Theatre in a Minute” virtual series.
  • Level 4 ($30): Supports “Unpacking the Show,“ a resource that enhances the way educators approach theater critically and responsibly.
  • Standard ($20): single ticket

Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Spotlight Education program is an essential part of arts education in many Minnesota schools. Each year, the program helps nearly 8,000 students in more than 100 high schools build confidence, critical thinking, empathy, a sense of community, knowledge and appreciation of theater. Spotlight Education supplements and enhances arts curricula through production assessments, workshops and arts journalism, increasing equitable access to quality theater education. Additionally, Spotlight Education partners with community organizations and elementary schools to create inclusive and sustainable arts experiences:

Production Assessments
For Minnesota high school students and school communities, Spotlight Education’s Production Assessment is the only noncompetitive, integrated theater experience among all state-wide high school programs. Providing educational feedback and formal recognition allows theater arts programs to flourish and creates meaningful ways to build confidence, critical thinking, knowledge and appreciation of all aspects of theater.

Spotlight Showcase
Spotlight Showcase, the Trust’s annual recognition event, is Minnesota’s largest celebration of high school theater and provides 1,600 students the opportunity to perform at the historic State Theatre. Additionally, Spotlight Education partners with community organizations and elementary schools to create inclusive and sustainable arts experiences.

Student Opportunities
Spotlight facilitates in-person and virtual workshops for students to learn new skills, build community and connect with leading industry professionals. Spotlight opportunities supplement and enhance theater curriculum and introduce students to the world of professional theater from both a local and national perspective. Students who attend a Spotlight high school can attend any session for free.

Disney Musicals in Schools
Disney Musicals in Schools (DMIS) is a program that develops sustainable musical theater programs in public elementary schools. Hennepin Theatre Trust pairs professional teaching artists with teams of school-based educators to produce a 30-minute version of a Disney musical, helping to foster positive relationships between students, faculty, staff, parents and the community. DMIS helps to develop the wide spectrum of skills needed when producing a piece of musical theater, including critical thinking, problem solving, ensemble building, communication, self-confidence and interpersonal skills.

Critical Review
Critical Review is a rigorous writing program that aims to develop critical thinking skills through arts journalism. Students attend and review productions through Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Broadway Season and participate in workshops led by experts in the fields of musical theater, writing and journalism. Student reviews are edited for content and style, discussed with program leaders, and posted through an online portal. Internet access is a requirement to participate.

New York Experiences
Each year, Spotlight Education escorts students to New York City to participate in: The Triple Threat New York Experience fueled by Sun Country Airlines, the Technical Theater New York Experience, and The National High School Musical Theatre Awards (The Jimmy® Awards) made possible by United Properties. During the New York Experience trips, students participate in workshops, meet and train alongside industry professionals and see Broadway and Off-Broadway shows.

Bank of America Student Leaders Program
The Student Leaders program offers Hennepin Theatre Trust the opportunity to connect on a deeper level with Bank of America, supporting their ongoing commitment to youth employment and economic mobility. This program recognizes high school students who lead and serve in their own communities and beyond. This 8-week paid internship program helps to equip student Leaders with working experience and tools to help make communities better.

Professional Development Series
Spotlight Education partners with locally and nationally recognized professional development programs to facilitate learning opportunities for Minnesota theater educators. Sessions focus on building professional skills, accessibility in the classroom, equity and inclusion and other areas of arts and theater pedagogy. These low- and no-cost offerings strengthen our relationships with statewide stakeholders and equip our school-based partners to better serve artists and students.

Spotlight Education Teaching Artists in Residence Program
The Spotlight Education Teaching Artists in Residence is a cohort of Minnesota-based artists who engage in a year-long residency with Spotlight Education. This group is made up of theater artists with a strong interest in developing their capacities as educators. Teaching Artists receive an annual stipend as well as pedagogical training from industry leaders, access to company-wide professional development programming and the opportunity to deeply engage with Spotlight programming on every level.

Unpacking the Show
Unpacking The Show is a resource program that equips educators (and by extension, students and audiences) with tools to critically and responsibly approach the canon of musical theatre. The program’s objective is to dig deeper into the dramaturgical content of the musicals produced at the high school level and to develop, in collaboration with directors and educators, a set of best practices on discussing and staging these stories so that everyone in the room feels safe and heard.

Spotlight Education is made possible with support from PNC Bank, Sun Country Airlines, United Properties and Interstate Parking.

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