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Thu, May 23

The Best in Arizona: Mingus Union wins state thespian competition

Mingus Union High School’s production of Much Ado About Nothing the best high school show in the state. VVN/Dan Engler

Mingus Union High School’s production of Much Ado About Nothing the best high school show in the state. VVN/Dan Engler

The Arizona Thespian Society has named Mingus Union High School's production of Much Ado About Nothing the best high school show in the state, said Theater Director James Ball.

Schools across the state submit themselves for adjudication, and the best show in the state is chosen from the judges' feedback.

"It doesn't matter how big your program is or how many kids are in the school; it's one shot, they pick the best play and best musical and that's it," he said.

The win means Mingus will take the entire production to the Phoenix Convention Center Nov. 21 to perform it at the thespian society's annual conference.

Students will have five hours to set up before doing two back-to-back performances for 3,000 high school thespians and educators, Ball said.

Adjudicators were very impressed with Senior Mariah Jones' portrayal of Beatrice, and Ball said performing at this level is an opportunity to get exposure.

"There are usually about 30 to 40 colleges that are there," he said. "They audition for all of them all at once."

Ball said the show has been elevated by having Technical Theater Director Jeff Neugebauer and Assistant Director Ashly Lawler.

"Doing it myself has always been great, but having Ms. Lawler and Mr. Neugebauer," allowed more one-on-one time with actors and created a "visually stunning" set, he said.

Mingus is working to provide U-Hauls for set transportation, as well as busing and possibly hotel rooms.

In contrast to the show's state-level accomplishments, the first two performances at the high school saw about half the audience seen at previous plays.

"There are three more opportunities for people to see it," he said.

More than 900 tickets are available for Friday and Saturday's shows at 7 p.m. and Sunday's 3 p.m. performance.

Tickets: $8 adult, $7 seniors, $6 students and children at www.showtix4u.com.

Follow the reporter on Twitter @ymgonzal and Instagram @VerdeValleyNews

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