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Main Stage

The ITF main stage is the only place you can watch the very best high school theatre productions from around the globe all in one location!

The high school cast of a production of the musical Mean Girls jumping during one of their iconic songs.
Mean Girls: High School Version | J.J. Pearce High School | Troupe 6896 | Richardson, TX

The International Thespian Festival's main stage program honors students, teachers, and school theatre programs by showcasing their superior work in theatrical production on the largest of stages – in front of thousands of fellow Thespians and theatre educators at the annual event on the campus of Indiana University. There's nothing like the rush of presenting or watching a show at ITF!

For details on tickets and seating for each of the performances below, view the Know Before You Go guide.

ITF 2023 Main Stage Lineup

By Claudia Haas
Mount Carmel Academy | Troupe 2075 | New Orleans, LA
Directed by Kristi Jacobs-Stanley
IU Auditorium | Wednesday, June 21 | 2:30 & 8 p.m.

Sophie Scholl was a member of the White Rose Society in Nazi Germany, which encouraged passive resistance against the totalitarian government. This play chronicles her coming of age and growth from bystander to witness to activist. Inspired by Sophocles’ Greek tragedy Antigone, which asks “What do you do when the laws of man contradict the laws of God?” 

Alexandria Senior High School | Troupe 731 | Alexandria, LA
By Marsha Norman, Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray
Directed by Tyler Price
Musical Arts Center | Monday, June 19 | 10 a.m. & 3 p.m.

The musical adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel (and the popular 1985 Steven Spielberg film) spotlights Celie, a downtrodden young woman whose personal awakening over the course of 40 years forms the arc of this epic story. With a joyous score featuring jazz, ragtime, gospel, African music, and blues, The Color Purple is a story of hope, a testament to the healing power of love, and a celebration of life. 

Bridgeland High School | Troupe 8503 | Cypress, TX
By Richard Adler, Jerry Ross, George Abbott, and Douglas Wallop
Directed by Adam Delka
IU Auditorium | Tuesday, June 20 | 2:30 & 8 p.m.

Faust meets professional baseball in this Broadway sendup of love and the American pastime. Based on the novel The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant by Douglass Wallop, Damn Yankees follows the story of middle-aged baseball fanatic Joe Boyd, who trades his soul to the devil for a chance to lead his favorite team to victory in the pennant race against the New York Yankees. Transformed into a young baseball sensation, Joe single-handedly whips the hapless Washington Senators into a winning team, only to realize the true worth of the life that he’s left behind. 

Mount Vernon High School | Troupe 1470 | Mount Vernon, IA
By Ken Ludwig
Directed by Tom Stephens
Musical Arts Center | Wednesday, June 21 | 2:30 & 8 p.m.

Set in September 1934, Lend Me a Tenor follows the story of Saunders, the general manager of the Cleveland Grand Opera Company, who is primed to welcome world-famous singer Tito Merelli – known as “Il Stupendo,” the greatest tenor of his generation – to appear for one night only as the star of the opera. Tito arrives late, and through a hilarious series of mishaps, is given a double dose of tranquilizers and passes out. In a frantic attempt to salvage the evening, Saunders persuades his assistant, Max, to get into Merelli’s costume and fool the audience. Madcap, screwball hijinks ensue, guaranteed to leave you teary-eyed with laughter. 

Champaign Central High School | Troupe 5981 | Champaign, IL
By Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin
Directed by LaDonna Wilson
Musical Arts Center | Tuesday, June 20 | 2:30 & 8 p.m.

The story of an extraordinary girl who dares to take a stand and change her own destiny, Matilda: The Musical is inspired by the twisted genius of Roald Dahl, and revels in the anarchy of childhood, the power of imagination, and the story of a girl who dreams of a better life. Unloved by her cruel parents, Matilda, a little girl with astonishing wit, intelligence, and psychokinetic powers, impresses her schoolteacher, Miss Honey, and the two have a profound effect on each other’s lives. But when the school’s antagonistic head mistress, Miss Trunchbull, sets her sights on Matilda, will her courage and cleverness be enough to save the entire school?

J.J. Pearce High School | Troupe 6896 | Richardson, TX
By Tina Fey, Jeff Richmond, and Nell Benjamin
Directed by Heather Biddle
Musical Arts Center | Thursday, June 22 | 2:30 & 8 p.m.

Cady Heron may have grown up on an African savannah, but nothing prepared her for the wild and vicious ways of her strange new home: suburban Illinois. How will this naïve newbie rise to the top of the popularity pecking order? By taking on The Plastics, a trio of lionized frenemies led by the charming, but ruthless Regina George. When Cady and her friends devise a “revenge party” to end Regina’s reign, she learns the hard way that you can’t cross a queen bee without getting stung. Adapted from Tina Fey’s hit 2004 film, Mean Girls took Broadway by storm and will leave you seeing stars.

Floyd Central High School | Troupe 1794 | Floyds Knobs, IN
By Rupert Holmes
Directed by Brooklyn Chalfant
IU Auditorium | Thursday, June 22 | 2:30 & 8 p.m.

Based on Charles Dickens’ final unfinished novel, this hilarious whodunit invites the audience to solve its mystery by choosing the identity of the murderer. The tale is presented as a show-within-a-show, as the Music Hall Royale – a delightfully loony Victorian theatre company – presents Dickens’ brooding mystery. It’s 1842, and local choirmaster John Jasper hides a dark secret that plagues his dreams. Jasper is obsessed with the beautiful Rosa, who is engaged to his beloved orphan nephew Edwin Drood. The arrival of Helena and Neville Landless marks a turning point in all of their lives. Smitten by Rosa and instantly disliking Edwin, the hot-tempered Neville struggles to hide his feelings, but Jasper sees an opportunity to make his dreams reality… How does the story end? You decide!

ETF Pathway Performance

The Educational Theatre Foundation is pleased to welcome one of its Pathway Grant recipients to the main stage at ITF for the second year in a row. The Pathway program seeks to promote racial equity through high school theatre programs, connecting young artists of color with mentors and working industry professionals of color during the theatrical production process, highlighting and creating viable career paths for students that might otherwise not be explored. 

Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella 

Maynard Jackson High School | Troupe 8590 | Atlanta, GA
By Richard Rogers, Oscar Hammerstein II, and Douglas Carter Beane
Directed by Adrienne Edwards
Musical Arts Center | Friday, June 23 | 2:30 p.m.

This new Broadway adaptation of the classic musical centers on the story of a young orphan, Ella, who wishes to change the world around her and – through magical circumstances – is given the opportunity to do so. Kind and compassionate, she uses her fairy godmother’s bestowed gift to help a kingdom (and a prince) in need. This contemporary take on the classic tale features Rodgers and Hammerstein’s most beloved songs, including “In My Own Little Corner,” “Impossible,” and “Ten Minutes Ago,” alongside an updated, hilarious, and romantic libretto.

Interested in Bringing Your Show to ITF?

During the academic year, Thespian troupes may have one of their live, full-length productions (a play or a musical) adjudicated for constructive feedback and the chance to be invited to perform on the main stage at ITF. Adjudications are done virtually, and up to eight (8) high-scoring troupes will be selected to bring their full, live productions to the campus of Indiana University to share with the world. Additionally, each selected troupe's submission video will be made available to online attendees via the ITF Virtual Experience (additional approvals required). Troupes may also apply to be adjudicated for educational feedback only.

The application period for 2022-23 main stage adjudications ended October 15, 2022. No further applications are being accepted. Thank you to all schools who applied. Read more about the main stage selection process in the 2023 Main Stage Guide


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