Guidelines and Procedures


During the academic year, participating high school musical theatre productions in the greater Austin area will be adjudicated by a panel of arts professionals culminating in a Tony Awards-style event to be held April 18, 2018 at the Long Center.


  • All public and private high schools in Travis, Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, and Williamson Counties.
  • Only one musical per school may be adjudicated.
  • Only one cast (if double or triple cast) may be adjudicated.
  • Musical must be presented between September 21, 2017 and February 23, 2018.
  • There is no cost to participate in the competition.



The Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre Awards Ceremony will be held in Dell Hall at The Long Center for the Performing Arts. Select students from each participating school perform in the ceremony. Each school nominated for Best Musical will perform a fully orchestrated number. All nominees for Best Lead Actor and Actress perform a medley using songs from their respective roles. Opening and closing numbers will incorporate students from all participating schools as well as individual award nominees.


The GAHSMTA Choreographer and Musical Director visit each school nominated for Best Production to conduct a clinic, preparing the students for their performance on the Dell stage.


Special events may be scheduled throughout the year for participating schools.

(funded by Wells Fargo and the Cipione Family Foundation)

As part of our dedication to supporting the growth of arts-in-education, $10,000 will be distributed to participating GAHSMTA schools as determined by an application review. In 2017, five schools each received $2,000.

(funded by Wells Fargo and the Cipione Family Foundation)

The college scholarship program offers a total of $10,000 annually to students after an extensive application process. Two students from each GAHSMTA school are selected by their directors. Made up of community leaders, the Scholarship Committee thoroughly reviews the applications and recipients are announced during the GAHSMTA Ceremony.


In our commitment to furthering young talent in their professional development, program participation scholarships are awarded from a number of training institutions. In 2014,  2015 and 2016, scholarships were awarded from The University of Texas, Texas Musical Theatre Workshop, ZACH Theatre’s Pre-Professional Program, and the Long Center’s Texas Arts Project.


Student designers are encouraged to apply for the design scholarship. If a student takes on the majority of a design element for one of the competing musical productions, he or she may submit evidence and support materials to show the process. In other words, if a student choreographed the production, he or she may apply by submitting written choreography notes, research, rehearsal video, etc. Likewise, if a student designed the lights, he or she may submit a plot, paperwork, design ideas, video of rehearsal, etc.


Comments and evaluations by adjudicators will be compiled and sent to each participating school after the awards ceremony. Directors have reported that these evaluations increased administrative support for specific departmental needs, leading towards the expansion of programs with additional resources including new classes, hiring additional instructors, and greater funding.



  • The primary school contact is the individual to whom all correspondence will be addressed.
  • It is vital that this person have access to mail, email, and phone calls between now and the awards ceremony.
  • The contact person must submit all forms by the deadlines indicated on each form.
  • Director’s meeting – Attend a mandatory meeting in September.


  • Each school will be required to assign an Administrative Student Liaison who will aid in communication and administrative work for the GAHSMTA.
  • This position would be great for any student interested in arts management or administration.
  • These students may be asked to volunteer at the awards ceremony or at other GAHSMTA events.
  • Student Liaisons should attend the Director’s meeting September.


  • Assign one student from your school to take on the role of social media liaison. He or she will be responsible for creating and updating social media pages for your musical including, but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and Vine.
  • This would be a great position for someone interested in marketing or PR.
  • These students may be asked to volunteer at the awards ceremony or at other GAHSMTA events.
  • Student Liaisons should attend the Director’s meeting in September.

PARENT LIAISON (NEW! But not required)

  • Select one parent from your school to take on the role of parent liaison. He or she will be responsible for disseminating information, organizing events, and assisting with social media postings.
  • This would be a great position for someone who has free time and enjoys communication and administration.
  • Parent Liaisons may be offered free tickets to Long Center events
  • Parent Liaisons may only be as involved as each individual director dictates



The GAHSMTA will provide each participating school with an advertisement. It is MANDATORY that this ad be placed in your school musical program. The ad serves to promote your high school as a participant in the GAHSMTA competition and the ceremony. The downloadable images are found on the docs and forms page.


Each school must retain their production’s orchestra scores until the nominations are announced by the GAHSMTA. After the nomination announcements, nominated schools must retain their scores through the awards ceremony. Arrangements will be made by the GAHSMTA representatives with the various licensing houses for the schools to retain their music without any charge. Bring them to the nomination event in March.


Each participating school is required to send a DVD copy of their production within two weeks of the closing performance or by Tuesday February 13, 2018. These videos are used as a reference for designers and adjudicators. They will not be shared beyond the scope of GAHSMTA and will not be uploaded to social media. They will be returned or destroyed after the ceremony.


The reel should include at least one large group number and moments showcasing all eligible lead and supporting characters. The reel will be watched by all adjudicators and will be used for the second round of evaluations (counting for 35%). Quality of video will not impact scoring.


  • Each school must submit a group photo of cast and crew at the highest resolution (at least 300dpi) in .jpg format. This will be in the program.
  • Each school must submit ten (10) high resolution show photos to appear in the montage.
  • Each school must submit ten to twenty (10-20) high resolution show and/or rehearsal photos for use on social media and other events leading up to the ceremony.
  • If your school is nominated for an award, you must submit a photo that exemplifies the category. Examples: If you are nominated for Best Scenic Design, submit a photo of the set. If you are nominated for Best Actor in a Lead Role, submit a photo of the nominated actor. If you are nominated for Best Orchestra, submit a photo of the orchestra in the pit. Please think ahead and take photos during the run of your show in case you are nominated.



An approved panel of qualified theatre professionals is assembled to serve as the GAHSMTA judges.

Judges are selected with extensive work in professional theatre in the capacity of directing, choreographing, acting, musical directing, theatre production, theatre design, theatre administration, or theatre education.

Judges submit an application to be considered for our panel

Judges are required to attend an orientation for an extensive training on our evaluation and scoring procedures.

Judges will not be assigned to a school for which there may be a conflict of interest.


  • Judges are each expected to see 5 shows.
  • 3 judges will be sent to each participating show.
  • If a show is double cast, the school will specify the cast they want to be judged and we will try our best to accommodate the request during scheduling.
  • Each school will be notified as to which performances adjudicators will be attending. We ask that you keep that from the students so that adjudicators remain anonymous and students perform the same show they would otherwise perform.
  • Each adjudicator will complete a detailed evaluation form after the production. Written evaluations will be combined and sent to schools in May.
  •  A rubric is provided to each adjudicator for the purpose of evaluating each category.
  • All adjudicators will watch the 10 minute reels and evaluate each category. Reel evaluations will account for 35%, while evaluations from live performance will count
  • 65%.
  • After adjudicators complete final evaluations, nominees and award winners will be determined.


  • Two complimentary tickets per adjudicator must be reserved for the performances specified by the GAHSMTA scheduling team. If seating is assigned, please reserve
    aisle seats in the back of a section as we don’t want their note-taking to be a disruption. Tickets should be held at will call under the name “Jamie Grant.”
  • Additionally, one or two members of the GAHSMTA team will see each show. Those complimentary tickets will be arranged by the GAHSMTA scheduling team and should be held at the box office under the name “Ginger Morris.”


Best Actor in a Lead Role
Best Actress in a Lead Role
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Best Featured Performer
Best Ensemble
Best Scenic Design
Best Costume Design
Best Lighting Design
Best Choreography
Best Musical Direction
Best Orchestra
Best Technical Crew
Best Direction
Best Production


PERFORMERS If a school chooses to cast adult performers (defined as someone who has graduated from high school, or home schooled individuals age 18 and over) in their production, they are doing so with the understanding that they may be disqualified from nomination consideration in the categories affected by that casting, up to and including the Best Overall Production category. In the acting categories, faculty members are

DIRECTION Schools that use a professional director (someone other than a district faculty member and/or student from your school) are ineligible to receive the
Best Direction Award.

CHOREOGRAPHY/MUSICAL STAGING Schools that use a professional choreographer (someone other than a district faculty member and/or student from your school) are ineligible to receive the Best Choreography Award.

MUSICAL DIRECTION Schools that use a professional musical director (someone other than a district faculty member and/or student from your school) are ineligible to receive the Best Musical Direction Award.

ORCHESTRA/MUSIC 10% of the student orchestra may be professional musicians in addition to the conductor. Schools that use more than one adult/professional musician per nine musicians in the student orchestra are ineligible for the Best Orchestra Award, unless the student pit is smaller than ten musicians. If it is smaller than 10 musicians, they may have one adult total to remain eligible for consideration.

SCENIC DESIGN Schools that rent over 30% of their scenery and props are ineligible for the Best Scenic Design Award. Additionally, students must be responsible for at least 50% of the overall design elements and/or construction in order to be eligible for this category.

LIGHTING DESIGN Students must be responsible for at least 50% of the overall design and/or technical implementation of the lighting.

COSTUME DESIGN Schools that rent over 30% of their costumes are ineligible for the Best Scenic Design Award. Additionally, students must be responsible for at least 50% of the overall design elements and/or construction in order to be eligible for this category.

NOMINATION ANNOUNCEMENT A nomination event will be held at in March at the Long Center. Directors choose up to five students from each school to attend the event. It takes place from 7-8am.



LEAD ACTOR/ACTRESS MEDLEYS All performers nominated for Best Actor or Actress in a Lead Role will be in a medley showcasing each individual performer.

LEAD/SUPPORTING/FEATURED ACTOR All performers nominated for Best Actor or Actress in Lead and Supporting Roles and Best Featured Performer perform in the opening number together. In 2018, we will add a number for this group to perform!

FINALE PARTICIPANTS Each participating school must submit one male and one female performer to sing and dance in the finale. The only thing we ask is that they are available for rehearsals and that they will work diligently to learn the song and dance. They will represent their school’s musical and will need to wear a costume from the show.

SELECT ENSEMBLE There will be a select ensemble (by audition only) which will perform throughout the evening. Rehearsals will be scheduled monthly starting in October and regularly starting in February. Auditions are set for October 9.

BEST MUSICAL NOMINEES Schools nominated for Best Musical Production will perform a group number on stage during the Awards Ceremony. The number must be under 5 minutes in length. The Awards Ceremony Director/Choreographer will set up a meeting at the school to help set the number for the Awards Ceremony.


  • Rehearsals for Nominated Individual Awards, Select Ensemble, and Finale Participants will be scheduled over several dates and times. Once the full schedule is released, note that rehearsals are mandatory. Choose finale participants who are available for all possible rehearsals
  • Additional rehearsals for the SELECT ENSEMBLE will be scheduled October – April.
  • All schools nominated for BEST MUSICAL PRODUCTION must attend the full day of rehearsal starting at 10am on the Awards Ceremony Day. Other participants will have scheduled call times that day based on rehearsal requirements.


Only students may accept awards on stage during the ceremony. Please prepare a student representative for each category for which you are nominated. Award recipients are not timed, but please be courteous as it will be a long evening.


  • Each participating school receives 2 complimentary tickets.
  • Each participant will be required to purchase a ticket for the Awards Ceremony.
  • Additional ticketing information will be distributed at a later day.