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Sutton Foster Awards

The Sutton Foster Awards are a celebration of high school musical theatre across the State of Michigan. A program of Wharton Center for Performing Arts, the Sutton Foster Awards is open to all high schools in the state, regardless of location, budget, or school size. 

The year-long program consists of four main components:

1. Learning Opportunities with Theatre Professionals
Workshops offered throughout the year help students grow in their theatre craft. Whether students are performers, technicians or on the creative team, these skill-building workshops are designed to offer any/all participants of the school musical production an opportunity to learn. Many workshops will be led by visiting Broadway professionals.

2. Professional Review 
All participating musicals receive a professional review. A panel of adjudicators, comprised of performing arts educators and professionals, attend each musical and provides feedback on everything from individual performances to technical elements. The scores and review are based on each school’s own merit and is not a competition between schools. Teachers and students use the feedback to learn for future productions.

3. Workshop and Audition Weekends 
All nominees will participate in a Sutton Foster Awards Workshop and Audition Weekend. Students will receive individual vocal coaching with professional voice teachers, learn music and choreography for a production number to be performed during the showcase, and audition for a panel of judges. All of these experiences are meant to help the students grow as performers and prepare them for a career in musical theatre. 

4. Awards Showcase
The year culminates in a professionally produced Sutton Foster Awards Showcase. In addition to celebrating the schools, the two nominees for the National High School Musical Theater Awards will be revealed. The 2024 Showcase will be held at Wharton Center in East Lansing.


12th Annual Showcase

Saturday June 1, 2024, 6:30pm at Wharton Center

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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 one of two SFA workshop and Audition weekends as well as the Sutton Foster Awards Showcase. Additionally, adjudicator reviews and tabulations determine honors in technical and creative achievement.
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 June 2024, held at Wharton Center, 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 finalists will earn a $1,000 cash prize. 

Participating Schools

Adrian High School  
Alma High School  
Avondale Senior High School  
Bloomfield Hills High School  
Brighton High School   
Byron Center Senior High School  
Chippewa Valley High School  
Coopersville High School  
Cranbrook High School   
Dakota High School  
Detroit School of Arts   
Dundee High School  
East Grand Rapids High School  
Everett High School   
Grand Ledge High School   
Grand Rapids Christian High School  
Greenhills High School   
Grosse Pointe North High School  
Grosse Pointe South High School  
H.H. Dow High School  
Harper Creek High School  
Henry Ford II High School  
Heritage High School  
Holt High School   
Howell High School  
Interlochen   
John Glenn High School  
Laker High School  
Lapeer High School  
Loy Norrix High School   
Manistee High School  
Melvindale High School  
Mercy High School   
Milford High School  
Mount Pleasant High School  
North Farmington High School  
Northville High School    
Pioneer High School  
Portage Central High School  
Portage Northern High School  
Portland High School  
Regina High Schol   
Regina High School   
Rockford High School  
Romeo High School   
Royal Oak High School  
Saint Johns High School  
Seaholm High School  
Skyline High School  
Stony Creek High School  
Swartz Creek High School  
Traverse City Central High School  
Traverse City West High School  
Troy High School   
University Ligget School  
Walled Lake Central High School  
Walled Lake Northern High School  
Walled Lake Western High School  
West Bloomfield High School  
Winston Churchill School 


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.


2023 SUTTON FOSTER AWARD WINNERS

Jillian Armstrong from Milford High School and Mark Bonney from Detroit School of Arts were named Outstanding Performers in a Leading Role at the 11th annual Sutton Foster Awards.

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This new musical inspired by the Grammy-winning album by Alanis Morissette is set to start performances on November 3, 2019, at the Broadhurst Theatre…

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