When the cast and crew of Union High School’s production of the musical comedy “Catch Me if You Can” takes the stage next week, the applause offered by each audience isn’t the only feedback they will receive. This year, the Union Fine Arts Department has enrolled in the Iowa High School Musical Theatre Awards, a relatively new program designed to celebrate the work high school students do in the area of Musical Theatre. Union’s 2015 entry into this event is their spring musical production, “Catch Me If You Can,” which will be presented at Union High School in La Porte City March 20- 21.

According to desmoinesperformingarts.org, the Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards, presented by Des Moines Performing Arts, celebrates the extraordinary achievements of young musical theater artists. The program aims to create visibility and support for high school musical theater programs and to highlight the importance of arts education.

Panels of community adjudicators comprised of performing arts educators and professionals will attend and review each participating school’s production. Students and directors receive valuable constructive feedback that can be used to improve and strengthen their future work. Based on reviews and scores, schools ultimately receive awards in honor of their achievements in categories such as choreography, design, lead and supporting performers, and overall musical production.

The Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards is designed to be celebratory rather than competitive in nature. Any student or school at an outstanding level is recognized for their achievement. Multiple honorees may be named in each category as performances merit.

The year culminates in a professionally produced Awards Showcase event featuring outstanding student performances. Held in June on the Des Moines Civic Center stage, the Awards Showcase is open to the public.

“We have always been proud of the quality work our students produce in the fine arts at Union,” said Co-Director, Tim J. Mitchell.

“Our philosophy at Union is always to strive to improve in each arts medium in which we participate. When we learned of this program, which includes theatre professionals attending our performance and giving constructive feedback, we jumped at the chance to help take our performance to the next level. This will be a great experience for all of our students involved in the production,” he added.

Reserved tickets for Union High School’s production of “Catch Me If You Can may be purchased for $5 each on weekdays between the hours of 7:30 AM and 3:30 PM at the Union High School office. beginning Thursday, March 5th. For more information about the production, contact Tim J. Mitchell at t_mitchell@union.k12.ia.us