The Grand Theatre Announces the 2017 High School Project


on the Spriet Stage September 19-30, 2017

An HSP amateur production
Lyrics by Tim Rice
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Directed and Choreographed by Jan Alexandra Smith
Musical Direction by Andrew Petrasiunas

Program Expands with Sheridan College Music Theatre Program Partnership

London, ONTARIO - September 7, 2017 — The Grand High School Project, the only program of its kind in North America, returns with the blockbuster musical, EVITA.  This limited two-week engagement begins in previews on September 19, opens September 22, and runs thru September 30 on the Spriet Stage.  EVITA marks an expansion of the High School Project (HSP) through a partnership with Sheridan College Music Theatre Program announced earlier this year.

The musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice premiered in the West End in 1978 to critical acclaim: then in 1996 it was made into an Academy Award-winning movie starring Madonna and Antonio Banderas. “It’s an intense libretto that would challenge any professional and we’re doing it all with high school students,” said Director Jan Alexandra Smith. “During the audition process we saw incredible talent in these students from across London and the region. They rose to the challenge. Working with these students has been an amazing journey…these young people are so good, sometimes I have to remind myself they are teenagers.”

EVITA is based on the true story of Eva Perón, a poor Argentinian girl who rose to become the First Lady of Argentina and worshipped by her people. The show traces her life from when she was a young girl in the small village of Junin dreaming of becoming an actor, to her rise to iconic status, to her death in 1952.  The company is comprised of 44 cast members, 18 crew members, and five musicians, all of whom are in high school.

The Grand’s new partnership with Sheridan’s internationally renowned Music Theatre Program brought faculty and mentors to the theatre in August to conduct acting and movement workshops with the HSP students. Following the run of the show, the EVITA cast and crew will visit Sheridan College to experience the process of workshopping a new work. The partnership will continue to grow over the coming years.

“Canada is in the midst of a renaissance in musical theatre and it is exciting to work with a company that has been at the forefront of the Canadian theatre,” said Michael Rubinoff, Associate Dean at Sheridan’s Department of Visual & Performing Arts and Producer of Theatre Sheridan and The Canadian Music Theatre Project. “I have been fortunate to work with a number of students and professional theatre practitioners who have benefited from the High School Project. These young people on stage and backstage have engaged in an experience that builds confidence and fosters creativity.”

What makes the High School Project unique in Canada is that this opportunity is provided at no cost to the participating students. The support of donors and sponsors, which include Western Fair District as the Title Sponsor, the Thames Valley District School Board and the London District Catholic School Board as the Program Sponsors, and Libro Credit Union, the Grand’s Make A Difference Community Pillar Partner, is critical to ensuring this program’s sustainability.

Tickets are $34 and $40 (includes HST and CIF – prices subject to change); tickets for students 17 years old and under are $25. Tickets are available at, by phone at 519-672-8800, or at the Box Office, 471 Richmond Street.

About the High School Project

The only theatre program of its kind in North America, the High School Project began in 1998 with West Side Story. Since then, the Grand Theatre has produced over 30 High School Projects. The initiative celebrates the talent of London and area students, providing leadership, creative, and communication skills that serve these young people in every area of their lives. The Project offers an exceptional opportunity to receive education and training in the working environment of a professional theatre.

Through sponsorships, donations, and foundation grants, the Grand Theatre is able to offer the High School Project experience at no cost to the students. Participants work alongside mentors in a professional theatre environment.

About the Grand Theatre

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Dennis Garnhum and Executive Director Deb Harvey, the Grand is a leading cultural hub proudly located in the heart of downtown London, Ontario. The Grand offers diverse, relevant, and original stories from around the globe through collaborations with national and international performing arts organizations and is committed to developing, producing, and premiering original homegrown stories through COMPASS, a New Play Development Program. The Grand supports educational programming and youth mentorship such as The High School Project, the only program of its kind in North America, and 100 Schools, a new community initiative that brings professional theatre to London-area schools in 2018 at no cost.

A not-for-profit regional theatre, the Grand produces and presents professional theatre on two stages: the Spriet Stage (839 seats) and the McManus Stage (144 seats). The Grand’s season runs from September to May. The 2017/18 Season is on sale.

Media Call

When: Tuesday, September 19 at 1:30 pm (cameras, please arrive at 1:15 to set up)
Where: Grand Theatre Spriet Stage
What: EVITA  photo, video, and interview opportunity for media

For more information please contact:
Kate Rapson, Communications Manager, Grand Theatre
krapson [at] (krapson[at]grandtheatre[dot]com) ~  519-672-9030 ext. 247

Production Team

Director/Choreographer Jan Alexandra Smith
Musical Director Andrew Petrasiunas
Set Designer David Boechler
Costume Designer Lisa Wright
Lighting Designer Kevin Fraser
Sound Designer William Fallon
Stage Manager Suzanne McArthur
Assistant Stage Manager Caitlyn Albanese


Clarinet Ralph De Luca
Violin Sigmar Martin
Flute Jamie McLellan
Percussion Ted Peacock
Conductor/Keyboard Andrew Petrasiunas
Guitar Mike Ray
Bass Colin Stewart


Eva (age 20) Leyla Boyacigil
Magaldi Justin Eddy
Mistress Lauren Gillis
Eva (as a Saint) Izabella Majewska
Eva (as First Lady) Mikela Marcellin
Juan Perón Peter Nye
Eva (child), Ensemble Amber Sellars
Eva (age 15) Jordyn Taylor


Mark Bermudez, Connor Brophy, Nicole Bryant, Asha Sen Chawla, Maya Sen Chawla,  Jacob Collier, Tyla Cotie, Maddie Daley, Sarah Dennison, Olivia Farquhar, Morgan Fulmer, Hunter Gowan, Ellena Grant, Tanner Hamlin, Payton Hermann*, Amelia Hilton, Olivia Ho, Ella Howard, Iris Janssen, Claire Jones-Fright, Scott Kim, Maya Lacey, Mya Lamport,  Daniel McKinnon, Connor Overton, Shae Solomon, Cameron Stevens, Josh Straub,  Rachel Tomasic, Grace Valdron, Matthew Van Bussel, Isaac Van Deven, Max Webb Comor, Julia Weir, Hannah Yaremko
*dance captain


Props Oliva Carson
Fight Coordinator Jacob Collier
Assistant Stage Manager Annalise Drenth
Assistant Stage Manager Claire Hancock
Wardrobe Dharby Harrison
Assistant Choreographer Payton Hermann
Wardrobe Isabel Higgon
Scenic Artist Sydney Jones
Photographer Matt Litwinchuk
Sound Bobby McKenzie
Props Summer McQueen
Scenic Artist DrueAnne Paschink
Wardrobe Meriel Reed
Wardrobe Claire Ross
Props Belle Shin
Wardrobe Bella Smith
Wardrobe Karmen Thiessen
Scenic Artist Veronica Visla


Percussion Meagan Foster
Guitar Madeline Hall
Rehearsal Pianist/Keyboard Jason Lee
Flute Prasanna Mohile
Violin Sophia Won