NAHS Theater Arts Selected to Perform at International Thespian Festival | News

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NEW ALBANY – New Albany High School is one of eight theater programs across the country selected to perform at the International Theater Festival.

NAHS Theater Arts has been selected to perform Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” on the main stage of the festival, which runs June 20-24 in Bloomington.

The theater department presented the production in November to the NAHS after the school was selected by Disney Theatricals and Music Theater International to pilot a new version of the musical.

NAHS Director of Theater Arts Amy Miller describes the International Theater Festival as the “Super Bowl of High School Drama.” NAHS is the only school in Indiana selected to perform on the main stage this year, and it will be the first in-person event festival since 2019.

“It’s huge,” Miller said. “Shows across the country are judged on a rubric to be part of those main stage performances. It is a huge honor.

Two years ago, the school was selected to present its production of “My Fair Lady” at the festival, but it was canceled due to COVID-19. Floyd Central High School has also been selected to perform at the festival in 2020.

“A great group of kids are coming back who lost the opportunity in 2020, and it’s super special that they can finally enjoy it and be able to perform in front of 4,000 high school theater kids,” Miller said. “For most of them, the opportunity was last canceled, and they are doubly eager to come back.”

NAHS Theater Arts continues a “legacy of exceptional high school theater,” Miller said. “The program was first presented at the International Theater Festival in 1990, and this summer’s production will be the 11th performance in the history of the school.”

“Getting picked is huge, and most schools are happy in their history to go there once or twice,” Miller said. “We have now been chosen twice in the past three years.

The students devoted long hours to “Beauty and the Beast”, whether they performed on stage or worked behind the scenes with the team. It’s a big production with a lot of moving parts, Miller said,

“The kids want to be here to do this every day, and with the amount of special effects and everything that they had to include in the production, they amaze me every day,” she said.

The November performances of “Beauty and the Beast” were judged on the basis of a rubric with many categories, including acting, directing, choreography, design and management.

When the students heard the news of their selection for the festival, there had been a lot of excitement, including “hugs, screams and cries,” Miller said.

To prepare for the show, students will stage a number of rehearsals before the show, including one rehearsal each month to keep the production fresh in the students’ minds.

Before the students leave for the festival, they will have some dress rehearsals and they will perform the show again in front of the NAHS audience in preparation.

Performing at the festival will involve bringing the whole show to Bloomington, including all of the cast and crew and “hopefully many adult volunteers,” Miller said.






{div class = “gmail_default”} Ellis Gregory and Michael Mingus (left to right) perform in November’s “Beauty and the Beast” at New Albany High School. {/ div}




At the International Thespian Festival, students not only perform but also participate in a week of workshops, university visits, university auditions. They also have the opportunity to meet professionals in the field, according to Miller.

The experience “changes the life of a student who invests in the performing arts,” she said, and it allows her to improve her skills and meet new friends.

“It gives children an experience outside of the four walls of school that will forever shape their skills, whether or not they continue in theater,” Miller said. “They will meet people with whom they will build relationships for life. I still have friends that I met at the Thespian festival.

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