The National Endowment for the Arts and the American Theatre Wing are pleased to announce the premiere of the final songs from the 2021 winners of the Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge. On Saturday, April 23, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. ET iHeartRadio Broadway will share these songs in a special broadcast. They will also be available as part of the album #IWriteMusicals Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge 2021 Edition on the iHeartRadio app and wherever music can be streamed. The 12 winning songs will also be available April 25, 2022, on arts.gov/songwriting.
The Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the American Theatre Wing that seeks to cultivate the next generation of musical theater songwriters from among the country’s high school students.
Since last fall’s announcement of the winners, the student songwriters have worked virtually with a coaching team—a mentor and a music director—to hone their original songs into Broadway-ready compositions. Each song was recorded by Broadway musicians and vocalists in New York City. In addition to the recordings, the songs will be compiled into a songbook by Concord Theatricals and released at a future date. For more details on the winners and the songs—including student bios; song summaries; mentor, musical director, and musician credits; and photos from the recordings—visit arts.gov/songwriting.
“The Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge is an example of the powerful results that come from mentorship in the arts, and in encouraging all Americans to live artful lives. I hope this experience is one these students will cherish and draw from throughout their lives. Please join me in applauding them for their creativity and hard work,” said Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts. “I also want to thank the American Theatre Wing for their partnership in helping to build this program to offer our young people an impactful and affirming experience and support the next generation of musical theater talent .”
To listen to iHeartRadio Broadway’s premiere of the songs on April 23, visit iHeartRadioBroadway.com or download the free iHeart App and search “Broadway.”
“The debut of the 2021 Musical Theatre Songwriting Challenge album and special iHeartRadio matinee show are products of several months of hard work and collaboration of over 100 theatre artists, including the 13 Songwriting Challenge winners who we couldn’t be more proud of”, said American Theatre Wing President & CEO Heather Hitchens. “The diversity of the songs featured are a testament to the diversity of stories to be celebrated in musical theatre. We look forward to following the journeys of these students and what the future holds in store for them.”
Other collaborators with the NEA and American Theatre Wing on the 2021 Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge include Concord Theatricals, Disney Theatrical Productions, iHeartRadio Broadway, and the NMPA S.O.N.G.S. (Supporting Our Next Generation of Songwriters) Foundation.
About the Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge
This national contest is for high school students with a passion for writing songs that could be part of a musical theater production and the wide range of musical styles represented in contemporary musicals. The goal of the program is to engage the musical theater field in nurturing the next generation of songwriters. Information on previous winners and their final songs is available at arts.gov. The Songwriting Challenge will return in 2023; follow the NEA on social media for more information.
About the National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency that is the largest funder of the arts and arts education in communities nationwide and a catalyst of public and private support for the arts. By advancing equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice, the NEA fosters and sustains an environment in which the arts benefit everyone in the United States. To learn more, visit arts.gov or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
About the American Theatre Wing
The American Theatre Wing is a nonprofit organization, founded on the eve of America’s entry into WWI by seven suffragists and theater-makers who came together to support the nation by harnessing the power of theater. Through a powerful suite of programs that address all aspects of the national theater ecology, ATW encourages the discovery of theater by people of all ages, nurtures talent on stage and off, creates pathways for success for students and young professionals, and encourages the development of the art form itself by recognizing and supporting innovative and excellent work with awards and grants. Building a just, equitable, and inclusive American theater is a guiding principle of all of ATW’s work and programs.
Visit AmericanTheatreWing.org to learn more about the extensive programming and grant opportunities for students, theatre professionals, and audiences. For the latest updates and news, follow the Wing onFacebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.