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Sutton Foster Ovation Awards

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

ovation-awards-2017-winners.jpgEach May, high school musical stars from across Michigan are professionally judged in their local productions for the opportunity to compete on the Wharton Center Cobb Great Hall stage. At stake? A chance to head to Broadway.

The male and female winner of the Sutton Foster Ovation Awards 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, the Ovation Awards recognize individual artistry in vocal, dance, and acting performances for both a male and female lead in a high school musical theater production. It also honors the commitment of Michigan teachers and schools to excellence in performing arts education.

How it works

Application are now open for the 2018-2019 Season

To be considered to compete in the Ovation Awards, schools must nominate their fall and/or spring qualifying musical theater productions.

There is a $250 fee per nominated musical production, and the deadline for applications is January 14, 2019.

We will accept the first 25 qualified applications. Once the slots are filled, you’ll be asked if you would like to be put on the waiting list. Applications must be submitted at least three weeks prior to your production.

Wharton Center will send a team of expert adjudicators to attend a live performance of your musical. Adjudicators will nominate two students for “Best Actor” and “Best Actress” from each qualifying production who will be invited to participate in the Ovation Awards on May 11 and 12, 2019. Additionally, adjudicators’ reviews and tabulations determine awards in technical and creative achievement, and 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.

The final competition is a public performance in May on the Wharton Center Cobb Great Hall stage, when judges will determine Michigan’s best actor and best actress. The winners receive an all-expenses-paid trip to New York, where they will perform on Broadway and vie for the National High School Musical Theatre Award.

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

To nominate your fall or spring production for “Best Musical” please complete the application.

2019 Materials

The Sutton Foster Ovation Awards are presented by Wharton Center for Performing Arts in partnership with Broadway Grand Rapids and Broadway in Detroit, with additional support provided by Nancy Passanante.

Questions? Contact Ben English at [email protected] or (517) 884.3171.