Live Music events, Public Event

The All Southern High School Theatre Project Celebrates 20th Anniversary

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Date(s) - 07/27/2017 - 07/30/2017
7:30 pm

McLeod Theater



The All Southern High School Theatre Project Celebrates 20th Anniversary

In 1997, two graduating Carbondale Community High School seniors- Julia Stemper and Ben Murrie- saw that high school drama programs throughout the region were struggling, and they wanted to do something to help their theatre-starved peers.

So they crafted a plan to do a region-wide summer musical. They presented their ideas to the Carbondale Community Arts Board of Directors, who saw a perfect opportunity to encourage regional talent and call attention to the benefits of theatre education.

CCA enlisted the SIUC Theater Department for the use of its stage; retired CCHS drama teacher Mary Boyle led the directing staff; Julia and Ben became the student producers. Auditions yielded a cast of 22 actors from 5 area high schools and an all-student pit orchestra. By June, rehearsals were underway for the August premiere All Southern High School Theatre Project production: The Secret Garden.

The show’s success led to a repeat effort the following summer. Gradually the concept grew, the Summer Playhouse expanded its commitment to the program, and the ASHSTP production became a staple in the McLeod Summer Playhouse Season, utilizing MSP’s professional staff to offer a level of intensive theatre experience that has earned national recognition.

Since its inception ASHSTP has given voice to more than 600 aspiring actors and musicians. Backstage internships have inspired students in technical and artistic aspects of theatre. Some have pursued successful theatre careers; others directly credit their success in unrelated fields to the skills they learned on stage. All look back on ASHSTP as a transformative experience.


This season, as ASHSTP celebrates its 20th anniversary, the program continues to provide the region’s brightest and most talented high school performers the opportunity to work along side professional staff of McLeod Summer Playhouse for a unique experience and intensive training in all aspects musical theatre performance.

The 20th anniversary production, Singin’ in the Rain, a live on-stage adaptation of the classic movie musical will dance its way onto SIUC’s McLeod Theater stage July 27-30. The All Southern High School Theatre Project (ASHSTP), produced by Carbondale Community Arts and the McLeod Summer Playhouse (MSP) closes the 2017 season.


Featuring Tinseltown!, Tap! and Talent!

The cast of Singin’ in the Rain are Brax Melvin (Frankfort Community HS) as leading man Don Lockwood. Keagan Schlosser (Carbondale HS) plays his love interest, Kathy Selden, the actress hired for her voice. Garrett James (Carterville HS) takes up the role of funny man Cosmo Brown, friend and confidante to the love-stricken Lockwood. Anna Madura (Anna-Jonesboro HS), portrays Lina Lamont, the star with a squeaky voice.

Bursting with talent and filling the roles of talkie-era Hollywood personalities are area high-school students Reed Absher (Marion HS), Savannah Bain (Homeschooled), Chad Beatty (Carterville HS), Marshall Bernhard (Frankfort Community HS), Sam Blankenship (Johnston City HS), Alexa Boese (Carterville HS), Hasanah Brown (Carbondale HS), Aaron Elliott (Herrin HS), Charli Elliott (Herrin HS), Graham Gordon (Anna-Jonesboro HS), Allison Grace (Herrin HS), Emily Jabr (Pope County HS), Kelsey Jurich (Herrin HS), Illyana Lipe (Elverado HS), Elijah Odle (Homeschooled), Rebecca Peach (Carterville HS), Kaylin Penninger (Frankfort Community HS), Aliegha Ramos (Agape HS), Hannah Sullivan (Carterville HS), Amina Wilson (Carbondale HS) and Joshua Windings (Caldonia Christian Academy).

ASHSTP 2017 Interns Student Producer: Carson Wang (Carbondale HS), Stage Management Intern Sarah Holland (Goreville HS), Technical Interns: Liam Lopez (Carbondale HS) and Jack Johnson (Auburn HS).


Singin’ in the Rain Performances
July 27-29, 7:30 PM & July 30, 2 PM
 at the McLeod Theater, located in the Communications Building at SIU Carbondale.
Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students and $8 for children. Tickets are available from noon to 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday at the McLeod Theater or SIU Arena box offices or by phone at 618/453-6000 and online at The theater box office will also be open one hour before each performance.


Interviews may be arranged, and all media and press are welcome to the productions  Please contact MSP Marketing Coordinator Vincent Rhomberg at 618/453-7589 or by email at



ASHSTP Timeline

1997- The Secret Garden

1998- School House Rocks

1999- Little Shop of Horrors

2000- A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

2001- Godspell

2002- Les Miserables

2003- 42nd Street

2004- Footloose

2005- West Side Story

2006- Beauty and the Beast

2007- Aida

2008- Little Women

2009- Into the Woods

2010- The Wizard of OZ

2011- Peter Pan

2012- Cinderella

2013- Anything Goes

2014- Guys and Dolls

2015- Legally Blonde

2016- Bring It On

2017- Singin’ in the Rain