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D155 News

May 16
EVITA Wins IHSMTA Best Scenic Design
Cary-Grove’s production of EVITA won Best Scenic Design image2 (2).JPGfrom Broadway in Chicago’s Illinois High School Music Theater Awards. Congratulations to Mike Schiestel, Jeff Petersdorff, Chris West, Wendy Guss, and the entire EVITA tech crew!

Cary-Grove earned five nominations and​​ is the only school in the state of Illinois to earn nominations in each category. The Best Actor and Actress categories have 12 nominees each and the Directing, Scenic Design, and Production categories have five nominees each.


Best Actress (Haley Gustafson)

Best Actor (Corey Barlow)

Best Direction

Best Scenic Design

Best Production


The musical at Cary-Grove is a school-wide effort. The entire production included 175 students, including 85 students in the cast, and 15 adults who oversaw various areas. Auditions were held the week before winter break in December and they began rehearsing when classes resumed in January.


IMG_7364.jpg“The ensemble members rehearsed three or four days a week and the leads practiced six days a week. Each rehearsal ran between two and three hours,” said Rob Boncosky, director.


They had nearly three months to practice and build a set. Twenty-two students assisted with different construction aspects. The design of the set was a collaborative effort between the technical director, director, and choreographer. They spent about 17 hours a week building for about one month. Art students painted the set in about ten days.


“Working with the kids to bring a collaborative vision to life in front of our eyes was so much fun. The members of the cast were the ones driving us to deliver the best product possible with their constant praise, excitement, and the level of professionalism that they show to their craft,” Mike Schiestel, Tech Director.


Two students were nominated for Best Actress and Best IMG_7334.jpgActor. They will participate in an all day workshop featuring Adam Jacobs who is playing Aladdin in the National Tour of ALADDIN.


“Being nominated, 1 of 12, for the Best Actor in all of Illinois for the second time is an absolute honor! This recognition gives me encouragement to continue performing like I want to,” said Corey Barlow.


Copy of Evita007.jpgHe plans to pursue a career in acting and will attend the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where he will be studying Musical Theatre and Opera performance in the new Lyric Theatre Program.


“These nominations, and particularly the nomination for Best Production, serve to recognize everyone who had a hand in crafting Evita; cast, crew, directors, choreographers- the list goes on. There is no one person solely responsible for the success of this show. Simply put, I am indescribably proud of EVITA. To be nominated means that we did our job: we created art,” said Haley Gustafson.


Next year Haley plans to move to New York and she has already signed with a talent agency which has a branch there.  


EVITA ran March 10 - 18. This year, 74 high school musicals participated in IHSMTA.


“We sold out every performance. In fact, we sold out faster for EVITA than any other show in CG history,” said Boncosky.


Last year, Cary-Grove won Best Production for its performance of CINDERELLA.


“I could not be more proud of all those involved with this show.  I am blessed to work with a team of adults and group of students who constantly amaze me with their passion and commitment,” said Boncosky.



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