Micetich awarded for his work in musical theatre

THE BEST DIRECTION Award at the Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards went to Coal City Theatre Department's Jack Micetich [center]. The producer/director of the school district's theatre program was nominated for his work with the high school's spring production, "Anastasia." The production earned a total of six nominations, the most of any school in the program that is sponsored by Broadway in Chicago. Four students were nominated in acting caterogies and were also recognized during the May 22 awards ceremony in Chicago. The nominated students were [from left]: Collin Dames as Gleb, Stephen Byers, Jr., as Vlad, Izzy Kostbade, as Countess Lily and Derek Carlson, as Dmitry. Courtesy photo

Staff report

On a night that celebrates the best in high school theatre, Jack Micetich shared the stage with his students.

Micetich, Coal City Theatre Department’s producer and director, was honored Monday evening by Broadway in Chicago with its Illinois High School Musical Theatre Award for Best Direction.

The award is presented to a high school director for, “setting a standard of excellence by casting a cohesive vision for the production and guiding their students in their characters and environment of the musical.”

The 2023 award was presented to him for his work on the spring production of “Anastasia,” that resulted in six total IHSMTA nominations that included Best Production.

Four Coal City High School students were nominated in the categories of Best Performance by an Actor and Best Performance by an Actress for their work on the spring production. The students Stephen Byers, Jr., as Vlad; Derek Carlson, as Dmitry; Collin Dames, as Gleb, and Izzy Kostbade, as Countess Lily, were in the IHSMTA spotlight as they took part in auditions and workshops with theatre professionals.

They were featured in the opening number of the May 22 awards ceremony, taking the stage with the other nominees. In all, 24 students were nominated—12 actors and 12 actresses—with the top two finishers earning a spot at the Jimmy Awards in New York City.

As a nominee in the category for Best Production, Byers and Kostbade provided a packed theatre with a number from their nominated show.

In accepting his award, Micetich gave credit to his students—all of his students. “I would not be standing here if it wasn’t for our students. There is not a place for me to direct without them. They are the storytellers, they are the people up there, they are the ones doing the work. I can put anything out there that I want to and I can put all the ideas, but without their buy in and commitment this does not happen,” he told those gathered in the Broadway Playhouse at Chicago’s Water Tower.

The production was adjudicated by individuals selected by Broadway in Chicago, and their comments noted how impressed they were with every aspect of his direction.

In comments shared by the award’s host, LeeAnn Trotter, “the quality of every facet of this production and the way in which Coal City’s version of “Anastasia” brought forth truth, creativity, color, specificity and energy to this piece that was truly outstanding. Amazing shows like this don’t happen, it’s almost hard to believe this is a director at a high school.”

In Micetich’s words, these productions don’t happen without a dedicated company. As well as a supportive community and school district, and a creative team that make all of this possible for the students.

This is the 12th year that Broadway in Chicago has hosted the awards, a program open to schools from across the state. Under Micetich’s direction, the Coal City Theatre Department has earned 23 IHSMTA nominations—five Best Scenic Design nominations—two wins, three Best Direction nominations—one win, three Best Production nominations, eight Best Actor nominations, four Best Actress nominations, and one Best Actor finalist.