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Sutton Foster Awards

For aspiring musical theater stars, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime

Each year, high school musical stars from across Michigan are professionally judged in their local productions for the opportunity to participate in the Sutton Foster Awards (SFA). Nominees will come together as a group over the course of two weekends to grow and develop their theatre skills in workshops lead by industry professionals. At the end of the SFA Showcase Weekend participants will present a live show for friends, family and the community.  
From this performance, two winners for Outstanding Performer in a Leading Role will take their A-game to New York City to compete in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards–also known as the Jimmy Awards. 

Named for Broadway star and Tony winner Sutton Foster, this program recognize individual artistry in vocal, dance, and acting performances as well as the commitment of Michigan teachers and schools to excellence in performing arts education. 

How it works

To be considered for the Sutton Foster Awards, schools must nominate their fall and/or spring musical theatre production. 

There is a $225 fee per nominated musical production. If the fee is a barrier to participation, please contact Ben English at Ben.English@whartoncenter.com.

Wharton Center will send a team of adjudicators to attend a performance of your musical. Adjudicators will nominate two or more students for “Outstanding Performer in a Leading Role” from each qualifying production, who will then be invited to participate in the Sutton Foster Awards. Additionally, adjudicator reviews and tabulations determine awards in technical and creative achievement, as well as best musical. 

Each school will receive a professional assessment of their show, meant to support the teacher, school, and students in growing their production values and recognizing excellence. 

This year’s Sutton Foster Awards Showcase is a public performance in May 2023, held at Fisher Theatre in Detroit, where judges will determine Michigan’s two Outstanding Performers in a Leading Role. The winners fly to New York to compete for the National High School Musical Theatre Award. 

The Sutton Foster Award Showcase winners also earn a $1,000 cash prize and free tuition to Take It From The Top, our summer Broadway performance workshop. 

Application and Guidelines

Sponsored by Piper & Gold Public Relations with additional support from Nancy Passanante.

Questions? Contact Ben English at ben.english@whartoncenter.com or (517) 884-3171.

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