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Critical Review is a rigorous writing program that aims to develop critical thinking skills through arts journalism. Students attend and review productions through Hennepin Arts' Bank of America Broadway on Hennepin season and participate in workshops led by experts in the fields of musical theater, writing and journalism. Student reviews are edited for content and style, discussed with program leaders, and posted through an online portal. Internet access is a requirement to participate. This program is offered free of cost to participants thanks to the generous underwriting of Fred and Ann Moore.


  • To develop and enhance critical thinking, self-expression and analytical writing skills

  • To provide a unique and engaging forum for students learning outside of the classroom

  • To provide high school students the opportunity to develop an appreciation for live theater

Elements of the program

  • Participants see up to eight live theater performances, often touring Broadway productions, at the Orpheum, State or Pantages theatres and write reviews

  • Opportunity to review press materials provided to the professional media

  • Workshops with professionals in the theater and journalism fields

  • Tour of one of our historic theatres

  • Student reviews posted on the Hennepin Arts website and Spotlight's Critical Review site

“I LOVE Critical Review so much! Going to see all of those plays was so amazing. I really appreciate what the program has done for me.”

Diamond Billinger, Critical Review student

“Fiddler on the Roof is one of the best performances I have seen this year, tied with Wicked and Spring Awakening. There is no one better than Chaim Topol to tell the classic story of family hardship and change.”

Sara Sommers, Critical Review student

“I have loved Rent ever since I saw the movie. Being able to see the stage version with two of the original cast members was beyond amazing. It was so much fun and definitely an experience I’ll always remember.”

Alicia battle, Critical Review student

The 2023-2024 program included students from over 25 high schools around Minnesota.


Chaska High School

Chisago Lakes High School

Edina High School

Great River School

Irondale High School

Legacy Christian Academy

Maple Grove Senior High School

Minnehaha Academy High School

Minnetonka High School

Mounds View High School

Orono High School

Osseo High School

Perpich Center for Arts Education

Prior Lake High School

Richfield High School

Rogers High School

Rosemount High School

Saint Louis Park High School

South St. Paul Secondary

Southwest High School

St. Michael-Albertville High School

Tartan High School

Totino-Grace High School

Visitation School

Winona Senior High School

Contact us for more information.