Theatre to Perform “Xanadu” at Theatre Fest

By Mara Shapiro

Niles West Theatre will be performing the musical “Xanadu” this year at the Illinois High School Theatre Festival at Illinois State University Jan.5-Jan.7.

The festival is the nation’s largest, non-competitive high school theatre fest. It is in its 37 year and more than 4,000 Illinois high school students come to participate. The festival alternates between Illinois State University and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign every year.

Theatre Director Andrew Sinclair said that submitting “Xanadu” as the production for the judges to look at for submission was the right choice.

“It’s our first time since 2004 to put on a full production…we go every year even if we don’t present. [I chose “Xanadu”] because no other school in Illinois has put it on and it’s cool to share with the whole state,” Sinclair said.

The festival offers workshops, plays that kids can watch and participate in, and there is even an all-state play in which select students become a part of.

Junior Aria Caldwell, stage manager, is excited to perform “Xanadu” again.

“I am so excited! Just to be around all the theatre kids and everyone has something in common. I’m excited for the energy we are going to get from people who actually get us. I am also a little nervous because it is my first show at theatre fest and stage managing,” Caldwell says.

Senior Anahita Karimi, who plays Melpomene/Medusa, agrees with Caldwell.

“It’s really exciting because we get another chance to preform, but it’s also really scary because we have such little time to prepare,” Karimi says.

“We have the right students at the right time and the right production.  We’re excited to show state the level of talent we have… it’s a huge honor,” Sinclair says.