Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Critical Review student reviewer program gives Metro-area high school students the opportunity to attend and review touring Broadway productions, SpotLight Musical Theatre Program events, workshops to develop writing skills, and other opportunities depending on availability. Critical Review teaches communication skills and enhances critical thinking and creative response. As part of Critical Review, students receive study guides and press kits before the show, learn from experts including local theatre critics, playwrights and actors who teach workshops in lighting design to choreography, and in some cases, have expanded access to the Broadway touring cast and crew.
Students post their reviews and interact online through our Critical Review Clubhouse (online access is required for participation). Students are accepted through an application process.
This program is free of cost to participants thanks to the generous underwriting of Fred and Ann Moore.
Visit the Critical Review Clubhouse to see stellar reviews of stellar shows!
- To develop and enhance critical thinking, self-expression and analytical writing skills
- To provide a unique and engaging forum for students learning outside of the classroom
- To provide high school students the opportunity to develop an appreciation for live theatre
Elements of the Program
- Participants see up to eight live theatre performances, often touring Broadway productions, at the Orpheum, State, Pantages or New Century Theatres and write reviews
- Opportunity to review press materials provided to the professional media
- Workshops with professionals in the theatre and journalism fields
- Tour of one of the Trust's Historic theatres
- Student reviews posted on the Hennepin Theatre Trust website and SpotLight's Critical Review reviewer site
The application period closed on October 11, 2013. The application will reopen for the 2014-2015 season in the fall of 2014.
What participants are saying:
“I LOVE Critical Review so much! Going to see all of those plays was so amazing. I really appreciate what the program has done for me.”
-Diamond Billinger, Critical Review student
“Fiddler on the Roof is one of the best performances I have seen this year, tied with Wicked and Spring Awakening. There is no one better than Chaim Topol to tell the classic story of family hardship and change.”
-Sara Sommers, Critical Review student
“I have loved Rent ever since I saw the movie. Being able to see the stage version with two of the original cast members was beyond amazing. It was so much fun and definitely an experience I’ll always remember.”
-Alicia Battle, Critical Review student
- Les Miserables
- We Will Rock You
- Phantom of the Opera
- Mamma Mia
- Peter and the Starcatcher
- Beauty and the Beast
- Catch Me If You Can
- Priscilla Queen of the Desert
- The Book of Mormon
- Mary Poppins
- War Horse
For more information about SpotLight's Critical Review Program please contact:
Sarah Paquin, Education and Community Engagement Coordinator
Melissa Ferlaak, Director of Education and Community Engagement