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Pittsburg High School Theatre Department’s production “Big Fish,” a musical, has been chosen for a statewide honor: a performance on the main stage at the 2023 Kansas State Thespian Festival on Jan. 6.

In the weeks leading up to that, PHS Theatre will be busy rehearsing, planning, and offering one last showing of “Big Fish” to the public in Pittsburg before packing everything up for the trip. 

That performance, planned for 7 p.m. Jan. 3 at PHS, will help the cast, crew, and band rehearse the show one final time before State. It also will serve as a fundraiser; rather than sell tickets, the students will accept donations at the door and during intermission.

Five schools from high schools across Kansas are selected to perform at the festival each year after being judged. This marks the fourth time since 2016 that PHS Theatre has been chosen for the honor: The school performed "Band Geeks" in 2016, "Urinetown" in 2018, and "Pippin" in 2020.

Additionally, in 2019, Pittsburg High School’s student-directed one-act, “Dog Sees God,” performed at State and was chosen for the International Thespian Festival.  

“Big Fish” was produced Nov. 17-19 at PHS under the direction of Breana Clark in her first year leading PHS Theatre.

The show was accompanied by a pit band of student musicians. Music direction was by Susan Laushman and Cooper Neil; set design and technical direction was by Chuck Boyles; and choreography was by Maggie and Molly Stephens. 

Held annually in January at the Hyatt Regency Wichita and Century II Performing Arts and Convention Center, the festival draws approximately 1,800 high school theater students and their teachers from across the state.

Students from PHS Theatre regularly attend the festival to participate in workshops taught by college theater professors, high school drama teachers, and guest artists from around the country. 

College recruiters are at the festival, and students compete in individual events for a chance to win college scholarships and to qualify individually for the International Thespian Festival in June.

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Big Fish State send-off January 3 at 7:00 pm at Pittsburg High School