Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards Rules and Guidelines

For 2023 IHSMTA: Musicals must take place on or after September 29, 2022 and prior to April 24, 2023.

NEW FOR 2023: In a commitment to reach communities with schools who simply do not have the resources to produce full musicals, IHSMTA will be the first Jimmy’s® Regional Awards Program (RAP) to pilot a hybrid model to offer talented students the opportunity to experience IHSMTA and potentially The Jimmy Awards®. If your school is applying under the hybrid model, click here to learn the rules and regulations. Qualifying Schools who are producing full musicals must adhere to the Musicals option’s rules and regulations.


• 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).
• Eligible Schools/Musicals must be evaluated in person by IHSMTA adjudicators, both for students who play qualifying roles to be considered for the Best Performance categories and for schools to be considered for Production Awards.
• 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 adjudicators 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 Performance in an Actor/Actress Role. 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.

2023 IHSMTA Categories and Evaluation Categories

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

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

Best Ensemble: Evaluates how the ensemble both on and off stage is utilized appropriately throughout the entire show, as well as their overall proficiency in the areas of singing, acting, dancing and technical theatre efforts off stage.

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 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 both on and off stage.

MUSICAL OPTION: Eligibility Requirements for Best Performance in an Actor/Actress Role

Student applicants for Best Performance in an Actor/Actress Role 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 2022-2023 academic year (unless applying through the Hybrid Model), and must be a resident of the state of Illinois.

To compete in the Best Performance in an Actor/Actress Role categories, a student must have played a qualifying role in a full-length high school musical theater production, and be evaluated in their full production, in person, by IHSMTA adjudicators. A supporting role does not qualify. A comprehensive list of eligible roles can be found at jimmyawards.com. Students electing to audition through the Hybrid Model only qualify if their school does not produce a musical.

For the purposes of the IHSMTA program, students are adjudicated in the category corresponding to their gender identification, not the gender of the role that they played. Students identifying as non-binary or gender-fluid may choose to either select the category in which they wish to be adjudicated (regardless of the gender of the role) OR they may be adjudicated based on the gender of the role they played.
All roles must be performed as written in the script. For example, in Big Fish, if two performers share the role of Edward Bloom (i.e., Young Edward and Old Edward) or if two or three performers share the role of the narrator in Joseph…, none of these students would be considered eligible to apply for IHSMTA.

Student applicants for Best Performance in an Actor/Actress Role 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 tentatively scheduled for May 21-22, 2023 and The Jimmy Awards® (National High School Musical Theatre Awards) in late June 2023.

A list of Jimmy Awards® qualifying roles can be found here (subject to change).

Broadway In Chicago’s IHSMTA Nominees and Award Recipients:

Musical Option:

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 from each category) will be selected as the IHSMTA award recipients to compete at The Jimmy Awards® on behalf of Illinois.

Hybrid Option:

This option is available for high school who simply do not have the resources to produce full musicals. Schools may only apply using this model if their school is not producing a full musical. Circumstances that do not qualify under this model include but are not limited to; musicals that fall outside the IHSMTA deadline, producing a non qualifying Jimmy Awards® musical, students who would rather audition from a musical that is different from what their school produces or students applying who are not in their school’s musical. If you have questions about whether your school qualifies under this model, please email [email protected].

Students must be nominated by the school and by a director/educator from schools unable to produce a full musical. All eligible students must attend public, charter, or private high schools.

Based on these accepted parameters, schools that do not produce a full musical may nominate up to 2 students from their school in the categories of Best Performer in an Actor/Actress Role (no more than one student in each category). Once nominated by their school and director/educator, each student must submit (by video) 2 songs for their official audition. The first song must be from the qualifying roles list provided by The Jimmy Awards® and must be performed displaying acting abilities and/or movement abilities with a firm understanding of the character and the context of the character in their role. The second song from a qualifying song list provided by The Jimmy Awards® (should be contrasting).

Standards for video materials include the following:
• Applicant’s first song/video audition should showcase the strongest aspects of their musical theatre talents and will be considered their official audition.
• A strong understanding of applicant’s character should be present in audition. Costumes are optional but not required.
• Applicant’s second song is for additional consideration but may be from the same qualifying role/show or a different qualifying role/show. This second song should contrast with the first song.
• Both songs may be from the same musical/role or from two separate musicals/roles but must be from the list of qualifying role/show.
• Both songs should have piano accompaniment. Director/Educator should assist students with finding the right accompaniment that best suit vocals.
• Applicant must also submit two additional videos: 1. A dance video (combination provided by IHSMTA) showcasing musical theatre choreography and 2. A 1 minute monologue from the qualifying role auditioned with.
• Applicants are strongly recommend to research the role they are auditioning with through various platforms (books, online, videos, films, etc.) for a comprehensive understanding of the character’s journey to help enhance emotion while performing the audition.
• IHSMTA evaluates all student’s complete proficiency in the areas of Musical Theatre, including singing, acting, stage presence and movement.

If selected as the Best Performance in an Actor/Actress Role Recipient:
• The student must be available and willing to participate in The Jimmy Awards® held in New York City in late June 2023.
• 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.