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‘Hairspray’ team at the Thespian Festival

February 19, 2014


Add Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman to your list of reasons to attend Thespian Festival 2014.

The creative partners who wrote the music and lyrics for the much-decorated musical Hairspray (and for Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me, Catch Me If You Can, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) will be at the center of a special performance of Making Magic, Defying Gravity on the Thespian Festival main stage.

The composer and co-lyricists will share stories about their lives in the theatre during the Festival edition of Making Magic, which will also feature a cast of Thespians performing a revue of Shaiman and Wittman songs with working professionals whose Broadway and national tour credits include Wicked, Mamma Mia, and High School Musical.

It will be a second visit to the Festival for Shaiman and Wittman, who were in the audience for the 2008 International Thespian Cast production of Hairspray. The two won a Tony and a Grammy for Hairspray; a Best Musical Tony nomination for Catch Me If You Can; and nominations for two Emmys, a Grammy, and a Golden Globe for their work on the television musical drama Smash. Shaiman has also been nominated for five Academy Awards for his film scores and original songs.

“We are thrilled we got a callback to this year’s Thespian Festival,” Wittman said. “Seeing Hairspray at the Festival was one of the highlights in our professional lives and ‘you can run and tell that.’”

Making Magic, created by EdTA board members Jason Daunter, Gai Jones, and Matt Conover, is a confection of musical theatre and arts education advocacy that has barnstormed along the route of the Wicked tour since January 2012. In nineteen performances it has raised more than $43,000 for Thespian scholarship programs.

Making Magic will open the 2014 Festival, which runs June 23-28, with two performances on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Lied Center main stage. Information on the audition process for student performers interested in being a part of the show can be found in the Festival Opportunities Guide on Schooltheatre.org.

Other main stage productions scheduled at this point include Of Mice and Men, Troupe 5273, Las Vegas Academy; Smokey Joe’s Café, Troupe 3860, Jeffersonville (Indiana) High School; Fiddler on the Roof, Troupe 1539, Edina (Minnesota) High School; Three Sisters, Troupe 88486, Denver School of the Arts; and Time Stands Still, Troupe 69, Dubuque (Iowa) Senior High School.

Festival registration is now open at Schooltheatre.org.