“SpongeBob Musical” earns top honors for DHS

SpongeBob cast

Decorah High School’s Fall 2023 production of “The SpongeBob Musical” received Outstanding Musical Production, Outstanding Ensemble, and Outstanding Student Orchestra honors from the Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards (IHSMTA). A group of cast members will perform an excerpt from the show at the 2024 IHSMTA Showcase on Thursday, May 30, at the Des Moines Civic Center. The Awards Showcase will be live streamed at IowaPBS.org.
“SpongeBob was an amazing experience for all of us, and we’re so proud that our company was recognized for their contributions,” says Karen Trewin, producer, codirector, and choreographer. “Being selected among the top high school musicals in the state is a remendous honor for our cast, crew, orchestra, and director team.”
Cast members Libby Phillips (SpongeBob SquarePants) and Gabriel Hiner (Squidward Q. Tentacles) were recognized for Outstanding Performance in a Principal Role. Both auditioned and qualified for IHSMTA’s “Triple Threat” Award, which recognizes outstanding work in singing, acting, and dancing. They will receive individual coaching on solo pieces, work with a New York City-based choreographer and music director, and collaborate with other high achieving students from other schools during the showcase.
They will also audition to represent Iowa at the National High School Musical Theater Awards in New York City.
Four cast members received Special Recognition for Performance in a Principal Role: June Breitenbach-Dirks as Sandy Cheeks; Oliver Brummel as Patrick Star; Davis Coppola as Patchy the Pirate; and Ezra Vorvick as Sheldon J. Plankton.
“Our students consistently astound us with their dedication to delivering exceptional performances,” says Jason Rausch, music director. “We emphasize the power of storytelling–weaving together music, character, and technical precision to create memorable experiences for our audiences. Seeing our students’ efforts acknowledged is truly gratifying.”
DHS also received Special Recognition for Community Engagement for the Krusty Krab lunch event sponsored by the school’s chapter of the National Honor Society.

The production staff for The SpongeBob Musical also includes Karmyn Bakken, stage manager; Chris Hadley, technical director; Jensen Korsness, choreographer; and Kristen Underwood, co-director/costume designer.
The SpongeBob Musical is the fourth production honored by IHSMTA since DHS started participating in the adjudicated program in 2017. The program was canceled in 2020. Decorah High School produces fall musicals every two years with a student variety show offered during alternate years.

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