Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge Returns for 2023

High School Students Have Access to Even More Free Learning Opportunities


Washington, DC—The Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge, an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in partnership with the National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT), is now accepting submissions for the 2023-24 program, an opportunity for high school students to develop and showcase musical compositions that could be a part of a musical theater production. This year, even more resources and constructive critique opportunities will be available for participating students to cultivate their songwriting skills.

Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, said, “The NEA is excited to launch another year of the Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge with our new partners at NAMT. I hope students nationwide take advantage of this opportunity to express themselves creatively, receive valuable feedback, and experience the power of musical theater and mentorship.”

The timeline for the 2023-2024 program includes:

  • This fall, online songwriting workshops will be open to all students (register at
  • From now until December 4, 2023, students can submit an original song for the 2023-2024 program.
  • In early 2024, all students who submitted a song will receive constructive critique on their submissions from successful musical theater songwriters and can participate in online group coaching sessions and masterclasses.
  • Applicants will have the opportunity to revise and re-submit their compositions, which will be judged by a panel of leaders in the musical theater field—including NAMT members and Festival of New Musicals Alumni Writers, among others—who will select the Challenge’s winning writers/writing teams in Spring 2024.
  • Winning writers/writing teams will be invited to New York City in June 2024 to work with mentors in preparation for a concert of their songs.

Learn more about how to participate at

“At the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, we are passionate about developing new musical theater writers and their works,” says NAMT Executive Director Betsy King Militello. “We can’t think of a better way to make sure the musical theater field has a vibrant future that features stories from all different perspectives and experiences than to help develop tomorrow’s writers today.”

The 2023 Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge is held in collaboration with Concord Theatricals and Disney Theatrical Productions.


About the Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge

The Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge began as a pilot program in 2016 in three cities (Dallas, TX; Minneapolis, MN; and Seattle, WA) before going national in 2017/2018. This national contest is designed to inspire high school students to write songs that could be part of a musical theater production, using the wide range of musical styles represented in contemporary musicals. The goal of the program is to engage the musical theater field in nurturing the next generation of songwriters. Learn more about past winners and hear their final songs at


About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency that is the largest funder of the arts and arts education in communities nationwide and a catalyst of public and private support for the arts. By advancing equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice, the NEA fosters and sustains an environment in which the arts benefit everyone in the United States. To learn more, visit or follow us on X (Twitter), Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.


About the National Alliance for Musical Theatre

The National Alliance for Musical Theatre, founded in 1985, is a not-for-profit organization serving the musical theatre community. Its mission is to be a catalyst for nurturing musical theatre development, production, innovation and collaboration. Their 220+ members, located throughout 33 states and abroad, are some of the leading producers of musical theatre in the world and include theatres, developmental organizations, higher education groups, presenting companies and independent producers. Among the almost 300 musicals launched by NAMT’s Festival of New Musicals are Benny & Joon, Come From Away, Darling Grenadine, The Drowsy Chaperone, Gun & Powder, HONK!, Interstate, It Shoulda Been You, Lempicka, Ordinary Days, Striking 12 and Thoroughly Modern Millie.


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