Hennepin Theatre Trust COVID-19 Updates

Spotlight Showcase - Canceled

Spotlight Showcase 2020 kick-off video

Spotlight Showcase  is a professionally-produced, two-night event highlighting the hard work and talent of the students, teachers, families and community members that are part of the vibrant high school musical theater community in Minnesota. Both nights of Showcase feature a variety of performances, including technical students and orchestra. The individuals and schools that are honored through the Production Assessment evaluation process will be invited to participate at Spotlight Showcase on either June 8 or 9, 2020.

Canceled Spotlight Showcase 2020: June 8 and 9 at the State Theatre

To all our young artists, educators, patrons and supporters: 

We regret to inform you that Spotlight Showcase 2020 is canceled. The event, scheduled for June 8 and 9 at the State Theatre in the Hennepin Theatre District, and the accompanying pre-production and rehearsal period spanning from May 2 to June 9 is also canceled.

This was a difficult decision. Spotlight Showcase is the year-end celebration of hard work in an art form and program that builds confidence, empathy and community. It connects valued young artists to valued professional artists. We decided to cancel this event with consideration of guidance from local, state and national government and Broadway Across America, in the interest of the safety of students, staff and community.

Although we know nothing can replace the celebration of Spotlight Showcase, we encourage you to engage with Spotlight Education through our online masterclass series.

You can also  track our Triple Threat  as well as our Technical Excellence finalists on their journey to the Broadway Experience. And our team is already creatively working on ways to bring the very best programming to our gifted young artists in 2021.

If you are in a position to do so, consider making a gift to Hennepin Theatre Trust to support these activities in your community.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to see the many ways we are continuing our programming to support students in this time of social distancing, and share with anyone you think it might help. You can also read how virtual masterclasses are providing much needed relief, and find inspiration and entertainment on our new content page.

Spotlight Showcase school lineup 2020 (PDF)

Monday, June 8

Bemidji High School
Buffalo High School
Cambridge-Isanti High School
Centennial High School
Champlin Park High School
Concordia Academy
Cretin-Derham Hall High School
DeLaSalle High School
Detroit Lakes High School
Eagan High School
East Ridge High School
Edina High School
Glencoe-Silver Lake Public Schools
Hayfield High School
Henry Sibley High School
Hill-Murray School
Hinckley-Finlayson High School
Hutchinson High School
Little Falls Community High School
Mankato East High School
Minneapolis FAIR School
Minnehaha Academy
Minnetonka High School
Morris Area High School
New Life Academy
North Branch Area High School
Orono High School
Owatonna High School
Park High School
Pierz Healy High School
PiM Arts High School
Prior Lake High School
Saint John’s Preparatory School
Sauk Rapids-Rice High School
Shakopee High School
South St. Paul Secondary School
Southwest Christian High School
Spectrum High School
Spring Lake Park High School
St. Cloud Tech High School
St. Paul Academy and Summit School
St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists
The International School of Minnesota
Thomas Edison High School
VISTA Productions/Theatre Department of Visitation School and Saint Thomas Academy
Watertown Mayer High School
Wayzata High School
Winona Senior High School
Woodbury High School

Tuesday, June 9

Andover High School
Benilde-St. Margaret’s School
Blaine High School
Burnsville High School
Chanhassen High School
Chaska High School
Chisago Lakes High School
Columbia Heights High School
Coon Rapids High School
Creative Arts Secondary School
Duluth East High School
Eastview High School
Elk River High School
Farmington High School
Forest Lake Area High School
Fridley High School
Great River School
Hermantown High School
Irondale High School
Kennedy High School
Lakeville North High School
Lakeville South High School
Legacy Christian Academy
Mahtomedi High School
Maple Grove Senior High School
Mayo High School
Moorhead High School
Mora High School
Mound Westonka High School
Mounds Park Academy
North High School
Osseo Senior High
Robbinsdale Cooper High School
Rogers High School
Rosemount High School
Roseville Area High School
Sartell High School
Simley High School Theatre
St. Croix Preparatory Academy
St. Francis High School
St. Louis Park High School
St. Michael Albertville High School
Stillwater Area High School
Tartan High School
Thomas Jefferson High School
Totino-Grace High School
Triton High School
Waconia High School
Washburn High School
White Bear Lake Area High School
Zimmerman High School

School medley

Every year, Spotlight  schools that participated in the production assessment process AND that receive an Achievement in Musical Theatre Honor are invited to perform a medley from their musical production at the Spotlight Showcase. Medley requirements and scheduling information will be communicated with a school’s primary contact if they become eligible following their receipt of their educational feedback and honors.

Note: In order to be eligible to participate in a school medley at Spotlight Showcase, a school must participate in the production assessment process.

Inter-school numbers

One opportunity for students to be involved in Spotlight Showcase  is to participate in inter-school numbers. The following numbers are included in Spotlight Showcase:

  • Outstanding: Students who received an “outstanding” honor are eligible to participate in this number.
  • Honorable mention: Students who received an “honorable mention” honor are eligible to participate in this number.
  • Seniors: Any senior who participated in the production assessment process is eligible to participate in this number.
  • Featured dancer: 1-2 students who are nominated by the director and can attend all necessary rehearsals are eligible to participate in this number.
  • Finale: Triple Threat finalists and semi-finalists are eligible to participate in this number. (Note: There are some circumstances where other students may participate. If this is the case in any given year, the Spotlight Showcase  staff will communicate that to those students as applicable.)
  • Triple Threat medley: Students who are chosen to be Triple Threat finalists after completing the Triple Threat audition process are eligible to participate in the(se) number(s).

More information and sign-ups will be available in Spring 2020.

Technical students

Any technical student who participated in the production assessment process have the opportunity to assist with various technical aspects throughout Showcase rehearsal week and the show itself. Some areas of engagement are:

  • Load-In: Technical students can assist the State Theatre union crew with the load-in of the Spotlight Showcase. Students help hang lights, run cables, set up screens, program boards, etc.
  • Stage management: Students will have the opportunity to shadow our stage managers during Showcase rehearsal week to learn more about company management and stage management.

Sign-ups and more information will be available in Spring 2020.

Student musicians

Student musicians that participated in the production assessment process can participate in the orchestra number during Spotlight Showcase. Students must attend a rehearsal prior to Showcase rehearsal week in order to receive and learn the music. These rehearsals will be held and Spotlight schools around the Twin Cities metro, and will be communicated to schools and students. Students must be able to play in both showcases in order to be a student musician.

Student writers

Spotlight students will have the opportunity to participate in the creation of the Spotlight Showcase script every spring prior to Showcase rehearsal week. Students will work with our lead script writer to create the overall messaging and content for the Showcase  script. If you are a Spotlight  student interested in being a student writer for Showcase  2020, please email SpotlightEducation@HennepinTheatreTrust.org.

Featured dancer

Every Spotlight  school can to nominate two (2) dancers to participate in the featured dancers number performed at Spotlight Showcase. Students nominated will attend an all-day masterclass led by our choreographer, where they will develop their dance vocabulary and technique as well as learn the all of the choreography for the featured dancer number. Schools must submit their dancers no later than March 30, 2020.

If you have any questions regarding Showcase  participation, please email us at SpotlightEducation@HennepinTheatreTrust.org.

Community Engagement Award

The Community Engagement Award is given to a school(s) that goes above and beyond the performance to make a difference within the community. This award challenges schools to use the production to make connections creatively and innovatively, fill a need, resolve conflict, provide extended services, and/or to engage the community.

Some things to consider:

  • What are some of the complex themes within your production and how can those affect the community?
  • Was the musical chosen to coincide with a social, political economic and/or community initiative?
  • Is there contextual information that you are providing in innovative ways — such as post show discussions or programs in conjunction with neighborhood organizations?
  • What positive change or learning has come as a direct result of working with the community?
  • How will the impact of this production be seen/felt after the show has closed?

There may be multiple recipients for this award. Special consideration is given to projects and initiatives that are student driven and inspired by or directly related to the themes and/or content of your musical production.

If your school is interested in applying for this award, please contact SpotlightEducation@HennepinTheatreTrust.org for the link to your customized application. All applications and supporting materials must be received by Friday, May 15, 2020.

Theatre Educator Award

Spotlight Education  occasionally will recognize an outstanding educator for their work with theater students and the advancement of arts education.

Submit a nomination for the Spotlight Education Theater Educator Award 2020 by May 15, 2020.


Triple Threat Award


Spotlight Education  recognizes individual performances through the Triple Threat Award, which honors students (juniors and seniors) who excel in three areas — dancing, singing and acting — in addition to leadership in the community.

For award consideration, students submit a portfolio of their work. Spotlight Education  staff chooses a group to attend a live audition and a live callback, where a panel of local artists select finalists.

During Showcase  rehearsal week, Triple Threat finalists learn and rehearse a number to be performed at the Spotlight Showcase. They also participate in vocal lessons and rehearse other featured moments during the show.

At Spotlight Showcase, the finalists perform live and four winners are recognized. The honorees receive an all-expenses paid trip to New York, where they attend Broadway shows, meet with industry professionals and participate in workshops to hone their triple threat skills. The Spotlight Education  Triple Threat Broadway Experience is presented by Sun Country Airlines.

Jimmy Awards

The Broadway League has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Jimmy Awards® due to the ongoing crisis with COVID-19. This decision was made out of respect for the health and safety of the many students, families, theatre professionals, and fans who attend and participate in this national program each year.

Each year, Spotlight Education sponsors two student representatives to participate in the Jimmy Awards®, a talent showcase in New York recognizing the country’s best high school performers. The National High School Musical Theatre Awards™ (the Jimmy® Awards) are a national celebration of outstanding student achievement, recognizing individual artistry in vocal, dance and acting performance, and elevating the importance of theater arts education in schools. The Jimmy Awards are presented by The Broadway League Foundation. Spotlight Education’s involvement in the Jimmy Awards is possible with support from United Properties.

Technical Theater Excellence


It is with great pride that we announce our new Technical Theater Excellence Honor. Two graduating seniors will travel to New York City for a curated career pathways experience.

Any graduating senior who engages in technical theater is eligible for this recognition, regardless of discipline. This experience will provide students with expanded knowledge, tools and connections to further their technical careers.

Students interested in participating in the above offerings must submit a portfolio with the information below. Please look carefully at the dates and times. Finalists must be available for all performances and rehearsals.

Submission deadline: April 15, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.