Washington, DC—High school students have the chance to win a music publishing deal and $25,000 scholarship as part of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge. The NEA confirmed details of the competition’s prizes; all six finalists will get their song published by Samuel French, and the national champion will also win a $25,000 scholarship.

As announced in September 2017, high school students from across the country can submit an original song that could appear in a musical theater show. (Note that the application deadline is January 5, 2018. Go here to apply.) Six finalists will be chosen in February 2018 for a trip to New York City, and then in April will participate in an intense weekend of workshops with professional musicians, singers, songwriters, and producers.

During the weekend, the songs are transcribed for an ensemble and singers, and are performed before a panel of professionals who judge the songs in a final competition. (This video shows the process.) In addition to the opportunity for one-on-one mentoring while in New York City, Samuel French, the world’s leading publisher and licensor of plays and musicals, will publish the finalists’ songs in a collection book that will be available on their website.

“American musical theatre continues to thrive because of the emergence of exciting new voices and visions,” said Samuel French CEO Nathan Collins. “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.”

One of the finalists will be selected as the national champion and will receive a $25,000 scholarship courtesy of the National Music Publishers Association S.O.N.G.S. Foundation (Supporting Our Next Generation of Songwriters).

NMPA S.O.N.G.S. Foundation President David Israelite said, “Gifted songwriters often need financial support to hone their craft and succeed in an incredibly challenging time for creators. This is a fantastic competition and the NMPA S.O.N.G.S. Foundation is proud to award young minds who are the future of the industry. We consider it a privilege to invest in their potential.”

The Songwriting Challenge is presented by the NEA in partnership with the American Theatre Wing along with collaborators Playbill, Inc. and Disney Theatrical Productions. The NEA and the American Theatre Wing have created content to help guide and inspire young songwriters. Join the songwriting Twitter conversation at #IWriteMusicals.

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