Two of the most exciting moments of the California State Thespian Festival are the Opening Number and Festival Finale. This is a great way to represent your school and show off your talent on the main stage.

Important! Deadline for application to 2024 Opening/Finale is November 30, 2023

Opening Number  

Magic Happens!   The 2024 California State Thespian Festival Opening Number will be a choreographed dance to Magic Happens from Disney’s Magic Happens parade. Sarah Kobayashi the choreographer of the Disneyland Parade will be directing and choreographing our ‘24 Festival Opening Number.  For 100 years the Walt Disney Company has celebrated magic, self acceptance, and believing in a dream.  We can think of no better way to open the 2024 California Thespian Festival than with this celebration of the power of believing in yourself.

Director/Choreographer – Sarah Kobayashi

Sarah Kobayashi is an LA based choreographer who has choreographed numerous industrials, live performances, commercials and television shows. Her work can be seen on several popular Disney Channel shows and she has recently choreographed projects for Disney Live Entertainment, including Believe! Sea of Dreams at Tokyo DisneySea, The Magic Happens Parade at Disneyland, and Rogers the Musical at Disney’s California Adventure.

The Opening Number is a dance focused piece.

Festivale Finale

Wicked:  A celebration of 20 years of ‘Defying Gravity!’   

In celebration of Wicked’s 20 year anniversary on Broadway, California Thespians will be tributing this Broadway Blockbuster with a one-of-a-kind experience. Jason Daunter, Allison Leo, and Jason Yarcho (all with ties to the Broadway and National touring companies of Wicked) are creating something unique that will defy gravity.  Wicked continues to amaze audiences with its message of friendship, daring to be yourself, and standing for what you believe in.  We look forward to showcasing California’s finest with some of Stephen Schwartz’s greatest music. 

Artistic Director/Concept – J. Jason Daunter
Jason’s over 20 years in the professional theatre include Broadway:
To Kill a Mockingbird starring Jeff Daniels, Meteor Shower starring Amy Schumer, A Doll’s House, Part 2 starring Laurie Metcalf, Shuffle Along, Wicked, Glory Days, and Cyrano De Bergerac starring Kevin Kline. National Tours include: A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder, Wicked, Chicago, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and A Christmas Carol. He just returned to California after 5 months in Europe mounting a new world tour of West Side Story with Lonny Price. In California Jason has served as the Production Supervisor for The Geffen Playhouse.  Jason recently joined the team at Brite Ideas, Complete Technical Services as their Executive Producer for their numerous large events nationwide.  On the national level of Educational Theatre Jason is the recipient of The Educational Theatre Association’s President & Founders Awards. Jason’s philanthropic work includes creating/producing benefits for The Educational Theatre Foundation and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Jason is thrilled to reconnect with old friends Krista, Jason, Allison, and Sarah and be bringing these exciting opportunities to California Thespians. #daretodream @jjasondaunter

Director/Choreographer – Allison Leo
Wicked Broadway, 2nd Nat’l Tour (Interim Dance Supervisor), Wicked Broadway, 1st Nat’l Tour, 2nd Nat’l Tour, SF, Chicago (Dance Capt/Swing); Aida Broadway, 1st Nat’l Tour (Dance Captain/Swing); Rent International Tour (Swing). TV/Film highlights: “Forever”, “Disjointed” (Netflix), Winter’s Tale (Warner Bros.), A Christmas Carol (Disney), “Scrubs,” “Six Feet Under,” “AMA’s,” Rent, Charlie’s Angels. Asst. Choreographer: “State of the Union” (Showtime), Aida (Japan), Lennon (Broadway) and “Ugly Betty” (ABC).Certified Life Coach (LUMIA Signature Program), Pilates Certification (Romana Kryzanowska), UCLA – B.A. Sociology. Allison believes wholeheartedly that arts education develops skills to be better at Life no matter where it takes you.

Musical Supervisor/Arranger – P. Jason Yarcho
Jason’s Broadway credits include   West Side StoryWicked, Bullets Over Broadway, Shuffle Along, Or The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, An American In Paris.  Off-Broadway: Cagney, Tick Tick Boom. Musical Director/Conductor for both the first and second National Tours of Wicked, Bright Star, and FalsettosAladdin.  Regional/Off Bway: The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, The Obie Awards, Playwrights Horizons, The Muny, Barrington Stage Company, Cincinnati Pops. Through collaborations with Jason Daunter, Jason Yarcho has created and arranged numerous benefits for the Educational Theatre Association and Educational Theatre Foundation.  Jason holds a Masters Degree in Orchestral Conducting from CCM.  

To apply for Opening Number & Festival Finale, submit an application by November 30, 2023.

Submit Auditions

This is a joint application. Both creative teams will review all auditions.Each troupe may submit up to five student auditions.

Technical/design opportunities

This year there are two different technical/design opportunities related to the Opening Number and Finale.

Application deadline for all of these positions is November 30, 2023

  • Production Leadership Positions
    • Opening Number – Asst. Choreographer
    • Finale – Asst. Director, Asst. Choreographer
  • Student Design Showcase
    • “Defying Gravity” Finale

California State Thespians is committed to promoting diversity on all levels. We embrace inclusive casting for every role, and fully supports each student’s choice to select material that speaks to them. Race, ethnic origin, gender and sexual orientation should not influence the evaluation of student performances at California Thespian events and competitions.

(Special consideration may be taken where race is germane to the text.)

updated October 31, 2023