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, and with collaboration from Disney Theatrical Productions and Samuel French, 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 showcase their musical theatre song, learn from musical theatre professionals, and compete to be one of six finalists.
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 2019 competition follows a successful and fully national inaugural year in 2018 that featured finalists from across the country. For this second year, the Songwriting Challenge will again pair six finalist songwriters (either single songwriters or duos) with professional musical theater artists to develop the students’ original song into a Broadway-stage-ready composition.
Each finalist will be paired with a musical theater mentor and music director to form a coaching team that will work directly with the student to hone all parts of their song. Initially, each coaching team will work with their finalist remotely using Skype/video conferencing software. This will be followed by an in-person coaching weekend when the mentor and music director travel to the finalists’ home community to work together. This extended coaching period allows for a deeper experience for the student finalists.
After the mentorship weekend, each finalist’s song will be transcribed, performed by Broadway singers and musicians, recorded, and broadcast over national radio. Students will be able to watch rehearsals either via Skype/video conferencing or in person, depending on their schedules. As in 2018, Samuel French has generously agreed to publish a songbook containing each of the finalists’ song in their transcribed form.
There are also plans to convene a video conference for the finalists, mentors, and music directors to meet each other and discuss their unique songs and the perspectives they’ve gained by participating in the program.
Join the songwriting conversation using #IWriteMusicals.
The American Theatre Wing welcomes your questions, opinions and concerns.