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Calling All Broadway Songwriters (in High School)


The actor Ektor Rivera signs a Playbill for a fan in 2017. High school songwriters will have a chance to come to Broadway, too, through a new competition announced by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Jackie Molloy for The New York Times

The National Endowment for the Arts is giving high school composers a chance to make it to Broadway. A new national competition, called the Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge, seeks to find and develop young songwriters from around the country; the finalists will win a trip to New York to work with professionals in theater and compete for the top prize.

The competition is a cooperative venture between the national endowment, the American Theater Wing, Playbill and Disney Theatrical Productions. Last year, a pilot program was launched in Seattle, Dallas and Minneapolis. Judges, including the actor Norm Lewis and the composer-lyricist Anaïs Mitchell, chose the winner, Angel Rodriguez, from Washington State, who received a $5,000 scholarship and a publishing contract for his song “Bleeding” on Sony/ATV.

“I hope that from this we will see the next generation of Rodgers & Hammersteins, Jonathan Larsons, and Lin-Manuel Mirandas,” Heather Hitchens, president of the American Theater Wing, said in a statement.

Songs can be submitted on the National Endowment website between Oct. 2 and Jan. 5. In February 2018, six regional winners will be selected to come to New York for a weekend to participate in workshops with musicians, singers, songwriters and producers. The finalists will receive scholarships and perform their songs in front of a panel to determine the national winner.

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