Songwriting Challenge

When we were kids, we dreamed of having a home and place where we could belong. And theatre and cast albums were that thing for us.
Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

The next generation of musical theatre songwriters compete for a chance to showcase their composition while receiving coveted mentorship from musical theatre masters

About the Competition

In partnership with The National Endowment for the Arts, Songwriting Challenge is a competition for high school songwriters to compete on the national level. Students across the nation compose music for the chance to bring their musical theatre song to New York City, learn from musical theatre professionals, and compete with five regional finalists for the national title.

The National Endowment for the Arts’ Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge for High School Students (the “Songwriting Challenge”) began in 2016 as an opportunity for students in three cities to showcase their songwriting talents as they competed regionally for the opportunity to participate in a final competition in New York City.

The National Champion will be awarded a scholarship of $25,000 and all six finalists will have their song published by Samuel French. Six regional semi-finalists — one duo and five individuals— were announced in March and the national competition among the six regional semi-finalists will be held in April in New York City.

The regional semi-finalists are:

  • Eliza Corrington, a senior, and Braxton Gerald Carr, a junior, at DaVinci Academy from Ogden, Utah
  • Tucker Donelan, a senior at Berkshire School from New York, New York
  • Jillian Guetersloh, a freshman at Bedford High School from Bedford, Massachusetts
  • Frederick Hager, a senior at Robert E. Lee High School from Flint, Texas
  • Aaron Richert, a senior at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts from New Orleans, Louisiana
  • David Volpini, a junior at Chippewa Valley High School from Macomb, Michigan

Photos, video, interviews, and song clips from the six finalists will be posted on the Challenge website in the coming weeks. Details about the national competition on April 23 will be available in early April.

Join the songwriting Twitter conversation at #IWriteMusicals.

Songwriting Challenge: Tips and Tricks with composer Sam Willmott from American Theatre Wing on Vimeo.


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