Broadway In Chicago’s IHSMTA Rules and Guidelines

School applications for the 2019 Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards are now closed. Click here to be added to Broadway In Chicago’s Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards email list. You will receive updates when new information is available.

2019 Broadway In Chicago’s IHSMTA: Musicals must take place prior to April 14, 2019

For 2020 IHSMTA, High School Musicals must take place before April 19, 2020.

School Rules

  • Eligible high schools must be public or private schools within the state of Illinois.
  • Schools may only submit an application for one high school musical per school year. The show must be a qualifying show from the Jimmy Awards list here (subject to change).
  • Eligible musicals must be performed prior to the musical submission deadline (above).
  • Schools will provide Broadway In Chicago’s IHSMTA four complimentary tickets to their production, on the date(s) Broadway In Chicago’s IHSMTA chooses, for the Broadway In Chicago representatives to evaluate the show.

Double Casting

  • Schools that choose to double cast their musical must select one cast for adjudication. The students in the selected cast will be eligible to be nominated and apply for Best Actor and Best Actress. An exception will be made only if both students who are double cast in the same role have been previously nominated for IHSMTA.
  • If a school chooses to double cast and has a student who was previously nominated for IHSMTA, the cast with the previously nominated student is the cast that will be evaluated.
  • Educators must include all performance dates the selected cast will be performing when completing their school application. Once these dates are submitted, no changes will be accepted.

2019 IHSMTA Categories and Evaluation Categories  

Best Performance by an Actor: Evaluates the student’s complete proficiency in the areas of singing, acting, and dancing.

Best Performance by an Actress: Evaluates the student’s complete proficiency in the areas of singing, acting, and dancing.

Best Scenic Design presented by SPL: Evaluates how well the set supports the production and helps to create a cohesive vision.

Best Choreography: Evaluates how the movement and choreography contributes to the overall storytelling, as well as, its execution in the production.

Best Ensemble: Evaluates how the ensemble is utilized appropriately throughout the entire show, as well as their overall proficiency in the areas of singing, acting, and dancing.

Best Direction: Evaluates how the director has used all the elements at their disposal to create the strongest production they can with their available resources.

Best Production presented by Guardian Music Travel: Evaluates the overall excellence of the production and considers all above elements. Best Production is awarded to a school who produces an outstanding example of a high school musical.

Eligibility Requirements for Best Actor and Best Actress:

Student applicants for Best Actor/Actress must be enrolled in grades 9-12 in an Illinois public or private high school participating in Broadway In Chicago’s IHSMTA, have performed in a full-length high school affiliated musical theatre production during the 2017-2018 academic year, and must be a resident of the state of Illinois.

To compete in the Best Performance by an Actor or Best Performance by an Actress categories, a student must have played a qualifying role in a full-length high school musical theater production. A supporting role does not qualify. A comprehensive list of eligible roles can be found at

For the purposes of the Jimmy Awards and IHSMTA, students are adjudicated in the category corresponding to their gender identification, not the gender of the role that they played. For example, if a female identifying actress plays Pugsley in The Addams Family, without any changes to the script, they would be considered for Best Actress. The role must be performed as written in the script.

All roles must be performed as written in the script. For example, in Big Fish, if two actors share the role of Edward Bloom (i.e., Young Edward and Old Edward) or if two or three actors share the role of the narrator in Joseph…, none of these students would be considered eligible to apply for IHSMTA.

Student applicants for Best Actor/Actress must agree to the possible videotaping, televised opportunities, photos, press interviews, and print advertising in conjunction with the Broadway In Chicago Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards.

Students must be willing and available to participate in both the Broadway In Chicago Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards early June 2018 (TBD), and The Jimmy Awards (National High School Musical Theatre Awards) in late June 2018.

A list of qualifying roles for Best Actor and Best Actress can be found here (subject to change).

Broadway In Chicago’s IHSMTA Nominees and Award Recipients:

The 24 nominees will be evaluated through an audition process that includes two live performances of two solo songs: one song (up-tempo or ballad, if applicable) from the qualifying role they played in the musical for which they have been nominated and one song of the nominee’s choosing from a provided list of Jimmy Awards approved songs. Nominees must provide their own clearly-marked sheet music in a 3-ring binder in page protectors. All nominees must perform with the provided accompanist – no recordings or a cappella singing will be allowed. Two students (One Best Actor and One Best Actress) will be selected as the IHSMTA award recipients to compete at The Jimmy Awards on behalf of Illinois.

If selected as the Best Actor or Best Actress Award Recipient:

  • The student must be available and willing to participate in The Jimmy Awards held in New York City in late June/ early July 2019.
  • The two award recipients will travel on an all-expense paid trip with a Broadway In Chicago chaperone. Air transportation, meals, and housing in New York will be provided for the week of the program.
  • Additional release forms for the trip and for the NHSMTA program must be signed by the student and a parent/guardian.

• The Jimmy Awards week includes one-on-one coaching, auditions and rehearsal for the Jimmy Awards. Finalists are selected by a panel of judges made up of Broadway professionals.