Pittsburg High School Theatre Department has been chosen to perform its fall musical, “Pippin,” on the main stage on opening night of the 2020 Kansas Thespian Festival on Jan. 8 in Wichita — a festival that draws approximately 1,800 high school theatre students and teachers from across the state.
“Pippin” was produced Nov. 15-17 at Memorial Auditorium under the direction of Greg Shaw. Judges attended the Saturday night performance.
"To put it into athletic terms, it's the equivalent of winning 'State'," Shaw said. "We're very honored to have achieved this."
"Pippin" was accompanied by a pit band comprised under the direction of PHS band teacher Cooper Neil. Vocal direction was by Susan Laushman, set design was by Chuck Boyles, technical direction was by Jason Huffman, choreography was by Maggie and Mollie Stephens, costume design was by Todd and Phillip Hoover-Holthus, and lighting design was by Kyle Newby.
Also chosen for the 2020 festival will be Blue Valley Northwest High School, Paola High School, Manhattan High School, and Garden City High School (directed by Pittsburg native Barbara Hilt).
This marks the third time in four years that PHS Theatre has been chosen for the honor; in In 2015, the musical “Band Geeks” was chosen. In 2018, the department’s production of the Broadway musical “Urinetown” was chosen, and also was chosen for the International Thespian Festival that June. In January this year, PHS Theatre's student-directed one-act, "Dog Sees God," won best one-act at the festival which qualified it for the ITF in June.
“We know how hard other schools work to put their productions together, so to be counted as among the top shows in the state makes us all proud and humbled,” Shaw said. “As we saw with 'Urinetown,' it will be the experience of a lifetime for our students because it's a prestigious venue and they'll be performing in front of an audience made up of their peers."
PHS Theatre students also will be competing in individual events at the festival for a chance to win college scholarships and to qualify individually for the International Thespian Festival in June.
Details will be released soon about an encore performance of “Pippin” at Memorial Auditorium that will serve as a practice run before the festival and will serve as a fundraiser to help offset expenses. That performance will be open to the public.
From top: Pippin cast, Pippin band, and Pippin crew