April, 2023 Edition
Rediscovering Costume History

Written by Anastasia Goodwin
Submitted by Rebel Mickelson, ITA College/University Rep.

“Today’s students need the skills of impartial analysis, critical thinking, information literacy, and communication—not memorizing dates and silhouettes of a western centric world.” Anastasia Goodwin, author of The Costume History Classroom as a Laboratory in the fall edition of USITT’s Theatre Design and Technology, brings about the questions of how we un-westernize our curriculum based in costume history.

Goodwin also states, “History is among the pillars being questioned. No longer content to accept history as rows of facts arranged on a timeline, educators and students alike are grappling with the idea that history is, in fact, a collection of stories. The role of the instructor becomes more explicit as that of a coach and guide, rather than the ultimate gatekeeper of information. Another way in which this approach dismantles past hierarchies is that it sets up history of dress as a form of human expression and visual storytelling.”
Story of the Week: Is Theater Etiquette Dead?

Written by Zachary Stewart  

Submitted by:Carmel DeStefano,
ITA President

TheaterMania examines the ever-evolving manners of the theater.
Lake Zurich HS Represents Illinois in
The United States of Frozen

School Theatre Department are incredibly proud to have been selected as one of only 52 high schools across the nation to be the first to produce Disney’s Frozen, the Musical.

Last Fall, the Disney Theatrical Group, the Educational Theatre Association, and Musical Theatre International announced winners of the United States of Frozen contest, a nationwide contest for schools to earn the rights to produce Frozen, after an incredible response from high schools across the US. Only one winner per state was selected. Click here to read the official announcement of the winning schools.

Performances are April 26th -30th with all six performances sold out currently.

Disney also compiled and released a promotional video on March 20th, featuring students from the selected high schools across the nation to highlight the upcoming productions. To see the MTI promotional video click here.

A Person You Should Know: Brandon Lewis

Submitted by: Mark Begovich

The Illinois Theatre Association is proud to announce that Brandon Lewis is the Executive Director of the 2025 Illinois High School Theatre Festival. Brandon has already started working on the Festival and is excited to be leading the charge.

Brandon is the Theatre and Technical Director at St. Francis College Preparatory High School in Wheaton. Additionally, he works with ITA Corporate Sponsor, Midwest Events Solutions in West Chicago. Many have seen Brandon’s work on numerous All-State Productions including Urinetown and Cabaret. He also works with the Hinsdale South Theatre Department on their musicals as his lighting on Carrie: The Musical wowed the crowd at this year’s IHSTF.

If interested in being a part of the 24-25 IHSTF Committee, be sure to look for and fill out the interest form.

In Memory of D. Ann Jones

Submitted by: Mark Begovich

The ITA recently lost one of our greatest champions and long-time advocates, D. Ann Jones. I first met D. Ann when working on the Illinois High School Theatre Festival Committee. She was a passionate theater advocate and a champion of students.  

D. Ann began working on the Illinois High School Theatre Festival in 1984 as the Theatre Director in Clinton, Illinois. She worked on committees over the next 22 years; she worked on the 2006 Committee even after her retirement from Clinton High School. In 1986, she was the Executive Director of the Festival with the theme, “Theatre: A Rehearsal for Life.” In 1990, she directed the All-State Production of The Wiz. She served on the ITA Board and has won the ITA Award of Honor. Additionally, D. Ann was a guide to educators all across Illinois by serving as a mentor for many involved with theatre over the years.

The following is from her memorial posted in the Clinton Journal:
“Della Annette Jones (D. Ann) 83, formerly of Clinton, passed away peacefully on February 16, 2023, at her home in Georgia, surrounded by her family.
Born on July 30, 1939, in Hot Springs Ark., D. Ann moved with her family to Clinton, in 1970. During her 40-plus-year career as a central Illinois educator, she taught at Clinton High School, Richland College, Lincoln College and Millikin University. She enjoyed teaching at all levels and was inspired by her students and colleagues.
D. Ann is survived by her husband, Morton Thompson; daughter Wendy Jones (Lynn), of Newnan Ga.; grandson Taylor Bennett (Regina), of Palmetto, Ga.; granddaughter Carly Jones, of New York, City, N.Y, and great-granddaughter Helen Bennett…D. Ann requested donations be sent to Heartland Theater, P.O. Box 104, Bloomington IL 61702. 

Rest in peace, D. Ann.

The ITA is supported partially by a grant from: