'Chicago: Teen Edition' wins 11 awards from Hennepin Theatre Trust's Spotlight Education program

Alexandria Area High School students performed the show at the school's Performing Arts Center Nov. 17-20.

Tai Auran, middle, playing the role of Billy Flynn in the production of "Chicago: Teen Edition" at the Alexandria Area High School, along with the ensemble cast, sing "All I Care About is Love" during the first act of the show. This production, which won 11 awards, took the stage Nov. 17-20.
Contributed photo / Mark Ripley, Selected Digital Memories
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ALEXANDRIA — The cast, crew, director and anyone else involved in the production of “Chicago: Teen Edition” at the Alexandria Area High School is celebrating not only the success of the show, but also the fact that the high school musical recently won 11 awards.

The show, under the direction of Jessica Chipman, the theater director, was part of Spotlight Education, a program of the Hennepin Theatre Trust. Spotlight Education honors high school theater productions and students across the state by recognizing the extraordinary achievements of young artists both on and off the stage, according to the show's program.

Jessica Chipman

“Chicago: Teen Edition” was performed at the school’s Performing Arts Center Nov. 17-20.

Chipman said that the Spotlight Education Program sends four theater professional evaluators to view high school productions and that those evaluators then provide feedback to students and educators. The feedback, she said, determines the awards.

Alexandria Area High School students, including Parker Zwach and Tai Auran, middle, both seniors, starred in the school's production of "Chicago: Teen Edition." In this number, the two, along with the several other cast members, were singing the song, "We Both Reached for the Gun."
Contributed photo / Mark Ripley, Selected Digital Memories

The awards for “Chicago: Teen Edition” are as follows:


  • Outstanding for Achievement in Musical Theatre
  • Outstanding for Overall Performance
  • Outstanding for Overall Technical Production
  • Outstanding for Ensemble Performance
  • Outstanding for Acting Performance
  • Honor Mention for Vocal Performance
  • Outstanding for Dance Performance
  • Outstanding for Student Orchestra
  • Outstanding for Run Crew
  • Outstanding for Lighting Crew
  • Outstanding for Overall Technical Team

“I'm really proud of our students for their work on ‘Chicago: Teen Edition.’ Our goal was having an experience full of joy in the midst of whatever challenges came our way, and I am happy to say our students succeeded,” said Chipman, who is also a theater arts and English teacher at AAHS. “Seeing our student cast, crew and orchestra recognized by a professional state arts organization like the Hennepin Theatre Trust is just icing on the cake of a truly meaningful, memory-making experience.”

Parker Zwach, left, playing the role of Roxie Hart, and Chloe Reed, who played Velma Kelly, starred in the Alexandria Area High School's production of "Chicago: Teen Edition." In this number, the two were singing, "Nowadays." Zwach, a senior, has been involved in theater since she was 9 years old, while Hart, a junior, has been on stage since the age of 5.
Contributed photo / Mark Ripley, Selected Digital Memories

Chipman also shared a comment from one of the evaluators of the show. Here is what the evaluator said, “The flow of this production from beginning to end was flawless. Every element from the stage to the pit to the booth was beautifully coordinated to bring together a seamless story. It was clear that every person involved in this production worked together as a team to make the magic happen.You should all be so proud of the ownership you have taken over your art as well as the professionalism you demonstrated in bringing the story to life.”

Chicago team.jpg
The cast, crew, orchestra, as well as some of the production team members, for Alexandria Area High School's production of "Chicago: Teen Edition" gather on stage at the Performing Arts Center for a group photo.
Contributed photo

Celeste Edenloff is the special projects editor and a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. She has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in 2016 to once again report on the community she calls home.
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