The National High School Musical Theatre Awards® has reviewed the professional standards for identifying the definition of an Approved Musical and a Qualifying Role in an Approved Musical for the purposes of our program. These standards serve as a guide to create a minimum standard and criteria for what defines a Qualifying Role in the category of Best Actor / Actress in an amateur production of an Approved Musical.
1. Definition of an Approved Musical
For the purposes of NHSMTA, an Approved Musical is one that:
2. Definition of a Qualifying Role
For the purposes of NHSMTA, a Qualifying Role in an Approved Musical is a role in which the character has a name, provides a vehicle for the actor or actress to demonstrate the ability to deliver the exceptional performance of a solo song and the ability to interact with other leading and featured performers in scenes and / or songs.
Unless identified as an “Ensemble Cast Musical,” an Approved Musical may have not more than six (6) Qualifying Roles. Such roles do not have to be evenly divided between genders.
For Approved Musicals with both a book and libretto, a Qualifying Role must, at minimum, include:
For Approved Musicals with a libretto only, a Qualifying Role must, at minimum, include:
3. For the purposes of the NHSMTA 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 casting or script change requests for performances in the NHSMTA program must be approved beforehand. The regional awards program should be prepared to submit proof of approval from the show’s licensing organization.
Each year, in consultation with the major licensing houses, NHSMTA updates the list of Qualifying Roles and Approved Musical titles made available for high school licensing. As of August 1 each year, no roles will be removed from the Qualifying Roles List for the upcoming program year. However, because appeals are made and approved throughout the year, the list of Qualifying Roles continues to be updated with additions. Your RAP representative should consult this list periodically to ensure that you have the most current list, which will be fully updated for the year by April 15, 2024. There is an internal process by which Regional Awards Programs may submit an appeal for a show or a role to be added to the list. Contact your local Regional Awards Program for more information.
This information is intended as a reference for our Regional Awards Programs. Students, parents and teachers with questions regarding role eligibility should contact their local program directly.