NEA’s Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge Will Award Music Publishing Deal and $25,000 Scholarship | Playbill

Education News NEA’s Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge Will Award Music Publishing Deal and $25,000 Scholarship High school-aged songwriters across the U.S. can submit an original song that could appear in a musical.

The National Endowment for the Arts has announced the top prizes for the second annual Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge, a nationwide competition open to high school-age musical theatre songwriters.

The six chosen regional finalists will all have their songs published by Samuel French, while the national champion will also receive a $25,000 scholarship courtesy of the National Music Publishers Association S.O.N.G.S. Foundation (Supporting Our Next Generation of Songwriters).

To submit your own original musical theatre song, visit the Songwriting Challenge section of the NEA website. The Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge application deadline is January 5, 2018. Applicants are asked to submit lyrics and music for an original song that could appear in a musical.


Partnering with the NEA on the project are the American Theatre Wing, Playbill, and Disney Theatrical Productions.

The six regional winners will be selected in February 2018 for a free trip to New York City in April to work with professional musicians, singers, songwriters, and producers during a weekend of workshops. The performances of their song by those musicians and singers will be judged by a panel of musical theatre artists for the final competition, to be streamed live. One of the six will be selected as the national champion. The finalists’ songs will be published in a collection book that will be available on the Samuel French website.

"American musical theatre continues to thrive because of the emergence of exciting new voices and visions," said Samuel French CEO Nathan Collins in a statement. "Samuel French is delighted to encourage more young artists to bring their talents to the musical theatre world and expand the creative possibilities of this American art form."

The American Theatre Wing is working with the NEA to implement the program across the nation and is developing curriculum materials to guide and inspire young songwriters. All materials will be available for free, as they are developed, in the Songwriting Challenge web section. Playbill and Disney Theatrical Productions are program collaborators, providing funding and promotional support.

Angel Rodriguez from Seattle was chosen as the 2016 national champion. Join the songwriting Twitter conversation at #IWriteMusicals.

For information on Playbill's education platforms, visit PLAYBILLder and PlaybillEDU.

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