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The Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre Awards started with a vision. An inspiration. A desire to do something good and beautiful and completely worthwhile. Something that would make life better!

If life is measured by the moments your breath is taken away, April 17, 2014, will forever stand out as a breath-taking moment.

From the curtain rising in the Dell Hall to the final confetti streamer being swept away, there were hundreds of moments that took our breath away/each one leaving us with a memory to hold onto in our minds and on our hearts.

Since them, we have been asking ourselves one single question: What could possibly EVER be better than this? Time will soon tell us if the next production is better than last year’s… BUT does that really matter?

What truly matters are the young lives that have been impacted by the experiences of being part of what we call the musical theatre family. Every person (most especially their teachers) involved in this journey shares in the joy of watching students unlock their individual talents; witnessing young people tap into artistic disciplines;  helping teenagers vigorously pursue their passion; all the while sharing in the fun and excitement of the live theatre.

It is amazing how each show becomes a community; a group of people dedicated to supporting each other and doing whatever it takes to “make it count.” What we never imagined when we envisioned this program was that these young people would develop friendships across schools and districts and actively support one another’s productions. we have seen how musical theatre has created an even larger community as students cheer on their counterparts and competition in a way that gives us all hope for a brighter future. And that is what GAHSMTA is all about.



Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre Awards are open to all public and private high schools in Travis, Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays and Williamson Counties. Only one musical and one cast per school are eligible to compete, and the performance must take place between September, 2017 and February, 2018. There is no cost to participate in the competition.

To find out more about the Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre Awards, including rules, applications, and competition information, please see the Schools section.


The schedule has been established to conform to the academic calendar of the majority of the public and private schools in the Greater Austin area.

For information on upcoming deadlines, important dates and performances, please see the official GAHSMTA Event Calendar.



National Recognition – Ultimately, the Long Center’s plan is for Austin winners to be eligible to participate in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards program held in each summer in New York City. The earliest the Long Center’s program would be eligible to compete nationally would be 2017.

Raising The Bar –Similar programs have elevated musical theatre training and performance in their respective communities to compete on level with the best the country has to offer from its young performers.

Gaining Administrative Awareness – In other communities, high school musical theatre awards has helped gain awareness and support from both administrators and school boards.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can participate?
All high schools in Travis, Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, and Williamson Counties are eligible to participate. Only one musical per school may be adjudicated and it must be presented between September, 2017 and February, 2018.

What shows are eligible to compete?
For our inaugural season, all shows will be considered for awards. However, if we become a program associated with the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, only shows selected from the list provided by the National High School Musical Theatre Awards will be eligible for consideration for the Outstanding Actor and Actress in a Lead Role categories, in accordance with the official rules of the National High School Musical Awards. The criteria for eligible shows and lead roles may be found here.

What’s the cost for schools and individuals?
There’s no cost to participate in the competition. Tickets for the Awards Ceremony will cost $30. Each participating school will receive 2 complimentary tickets.

Who adjudicates the competition?
A panel of qualified arts professionals will be recruited. All adjudicators will attend an extensive orientation to learn about the program and the evaluation process.

What are the award categories?
There will be 15 categories:

  • 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/Chorus
  • Best Scenic Design
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Lighting Design
  • Best Choreography
  • Best Musical Direction
  • Best Orchestra
  • Best Crew/Technical Execution
  • Best Direction
  • Best Production

What’s expected of a participating school?

  • Designate a primary teacher contact and two (2) student liaisons
  • Submit completed forms as they come due
  • Designate two (2) students to perform in the finale
  • Produce a full-length musical within the designated time period
  • Arrange for complimentary tickets for adjudicators
  • Submit an archival DVD, a 10-minute reel, a copy of the playbill and show poster, and a group photo within a week after closing performance.
  • Submit photos of nominees
  • Submit orchestral scores for nominated categories

For a more detailed look at these expectations, please see the official Guidelines and Procedures.

What are the National High School Musical Theatre Awards?
Across the U.S., more than 30 cities hold annual competitions for high school musical theatre productions. The winners of the Best Actor and Best Actress Awards are the eligible to compete in the annual National High School Musical Theatre Awards – named “The Jimmys” after legendary Broadway theatre owner Jimmy Nederlander – held during the summer in New York City. Winners of the Jimmy Awards receive national recognition and a scholarship to New York University’s professional theatre training program. The week-long New York residency leading up to and including the Jimmys was the subject of the PBS documentary, “Broadway or Bust.”

What if I have additional questions?
If you have any questions about the Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre Awards that were not covered in this FAQ, download and read this years copy of the Guidelines & Procedures.

Please direct additional inquiries to awards@thelongcenter.org.

The Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre Awards are presented by the Long Center for the Performing Arts in collaboration with the University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance and ZACH Theatre. We wish to thank our 2017 sponsors and donors who include Scholarship Sponsor Wells Fargo, the Cipione Family Foundation, Mary Ann and Andrew Heller, Carolyn and Marc Seriff, Eva and Marvin Womack.