Hennepin Theatre Trust Announces Its 2017-2018 Spotlight Education Jimmy Award Nominees

Hennepin Theatre Trust Announces Its 2017-2018 Spotlight Education Jimmy Award NomineesHennepin Theatre Trust announced today that Britta Cowan (Chaska High School) and Jackson Grove (Alexandria Area 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 cast members from the Broadway musical CHICAGO, Lauren Gemelli and Dan Gutierrez, following a Q&A with Spotlight Education students preparing for 13th annual Spotlight Showcase June 11-12 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 25 at Broadway's Minkoff Theatre in New York City, where the Jimmy Awards for Best Performance by an Actor and Best Performance by an Actress are presented.

Lauren Gemelli (CHICAGO cast member), Britta Cowan (Chaska High School), Jackson Grove (Alexandria Area High School), Dan Gutierrez (CHICAGO cast member). Photo by Hennepin Theatre Trust. Available for download at: http://bit.ly/Spotlight17-18

Britta Cowan is a senior at Chaska High School where she participated in productions including Footloose as Ariel Moore, Anything Goes as Reno Sweeney, Xanadu as Calliope and Singin' in the Rain as Kathy Selden. She has received a Spotlight award for her performance in a leading role for all four musicals throughout her high school career. Next fall, Britta will be attending the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music to pursue Musical Theatre in their BFA program.

Jackson Grove is a senior at Alexandria Area High School. He has been in every musical since his freshman year and choreographed two. He has also earned past Spotlight awards including two Outstanding Performances in a Leading Role for Jesse in Tuck Everlasting and Ren in Footloose, and a Technical Achievement Nomination for Outstanding Choreography. In the fall, Jackson will be attending the Boston Conservatory at Berklee 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 51 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 13th year, Spotlight Education provides valuable educational, performing and creative experiences for high school students in 94 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 11-12 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 who will each have the opportunity to engage in the Triple Threat Broadway Experience. The all-expenses paid trip to New York City includes meeting with industry professionals, participating in 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.

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