Different teams of judges attend each production, meaning that each school is evaluated independently of other school productions.

After the awards ceremony, each school will receive a written analysis from the judges who saw the production. This feedback is meant to help the school realize its full potential based on its resources. It may be shared with the students or not at the discretion of the director.

Eligibility for the SLHSMTA program is based on the following:

  • The high school must be located within 50 miles of the Arch.
  • A high school may participate in only one competition.
  • Musical productions must take place between September 1, 2017 and April 30, 2018.
  • The musical production must be on the National High School Musical Theatre Awards Qualifying Roles list. Please visit for a complete list of eligible musicals and qualifying leading roles.


  1. Outstanding Musical: Level 1 Budget
  2. Outstanding Musical: Level 2 Budget
  3. Outstanding Actress
  4. Outstanding Actor
  5. Outstanding Supporting Actress
  6. Outstanding Supporting Actor
  7. Outstanding Ensemble
  8. Outstanding Costume Design
  9. Outstanding Scenic Design
  10. Outstanding Direction
  11. Outstanding Choreography
  12. Outstanding Musical Direction
  13. Outstanding Technical Execution
  14. Outstanding Orchestra – the orchestra must be 90% students from the participating school
  15. Special Recognition

Outstanding Actor, Outstanding Actress, Outstanding Supporting Actor, Outstanding Supporting Actress: To be eligible, the student must be a registered student at the participating school. In the case of single-gender schools, performers of the opposite gender from another school also are eligible.

Only full-time faculty members employed by the participating high school are eligible for individual awards for Directing, Choreography, Musical Direction, Set Design, or Costume Design.

Guest artists, parents, volunteers, K-8 students, and homeschool students do not qualify for individual category Awards.

Being ineligible for one category does not disqualify a school for other categories.


Judges for the SLHSMTA are provided with training to ensure that all judges are using the same criteria for their evaluations and feedback.

The purpose of the St. Louis High School Musical Theatre Awards is to recognize,celebrate,and encourage excellence in high school musical theatre. In addition to scoring specific categories, judges will be asked to provide the school with constructive criticism to help them determine how they can better utilize their available resources. It is important to understand that the schools are not being judged in comparison to each other; critiques and scores will be based on how well each school used its available financial and personnel resources.



Leading Actress, Leading Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actor

Performer can be heard and understood (proper pronunciation,clear articulation). Performer conveys the character’s objectives, obstacles, and tactics.

Performer stays in character and has believable interactions with other characters. Performer appropriately commands and yields focus.

Performer’s pitch, phrasing,interpretation,breath control,and diction indicate good vocal training. Performer’s vocal moments are delivered in character.

Performer’s vocal moments are consistent with the style of the show. Performer moves with poise and ease.

Performer moves with precision and demonstrates strong dance training. Performer’s execution of choreography is done in character.

Performer demonstrates a strong sense of spatial awareness in the execution of blocking and choreography.



Ensemble demonstrates a clear understanding of how they support the story. Ensemble is animated and energetic;ensemble is in the moment.

Ensemble delivers vocal moments in character and with appropriate interactions. Ensemble delivers vocal moments that indicate strong vocal training.

Ensemble delivers choreographic moments in character.

Ensemble delivers  choreographic moments that indicate strong training and technique.

Ensemble has an appropriate balance of unity and individuality, effectively populating the environment. Ensemble commands and yields focus appropriately.



Must be 90% students

Tempi and rhythms are appropriately and effectively executed.

Orchestra’s decorum is professional:appropriate attire, concert master tunes orchestra, etc. Orchestra plays in tune.

Entrances and cut-offs are clean.

Orchestra is well-balanced among the sections .

Orchestra is able to adjust to the demands of a live performance.


Technical Execution

Stage crew performs transitions with speed and accuracy.

Stage crew is appropriately dressed to minimize their visibility.

Cues are called and implemented appropriately.

Sound is balanced and without distortion.

Costume changes (QCs particularly) are done in a timely manner.



Full-time faculty member or a member of the student body

Choreography effectively propels the story and/or helps delineate character.

Choreography makes good use of levels, formations, traffic patterns, and available space.

Choreographic  moments build within each number.

Choreography reflects and enhances the overall vision and style of the production.

Choreography is designed to suit the diverse abilities of the performers.

Choreography is inventive and varied.


Costume Design

Full-time faculty member or a member of the student body

Costumes help establish location,time frame, and mood of the production. Costumes allow performers full range of motion.

Costume design color palette is compatible with other design elements. Costume quality is consistent throughout the cast.

Costumes  are well-fitted  and well-maintained.


Scenic Design

Full-time faculty member or a member of the student body

Scenic design helps establish location, time frame, and mood of the production. Scenic design allows for easy and effective blocking and choreography.

Scenery is appropriately sized for the venue and makes good use of the available space. Scenic design is compatible with other design elements.

Practical elements work easily and effectively.


Musical Direction

Full-time faculty member or a member of the student body

 Soloists and ensemble sing with emotional understanding and consistent   characterization.

Vocal moments indicate clear direction and instruction in diction,pitch,rhythm, breath control,and dynamics. Transitions between dialogue and music are seamless.

Entrances and cut-offs are dear and consistent. Ensemble work is well-balanced and well-blended .

An effective balance between orchestra  and performers is  maintained.



Full-time faculty member or a member of the student body

 All design elements are cohesive and harmonious.

Design and performance elements are utilized to enhance the story-telling (no gratuitous elements).

Blocking creates visually-pleasing stage pictures that contribute to the understanding of the story line. The arc of the story and specific plot points are well-paced and clearly delineated .

Production indicated effective use of available resources.

Transitions were smoothly executed, with little to no disruption of the story-telling.


Overall Production

The choice of material is appropriate for high school students.

Production reflects effective use of the school’s resources (venue size, budget, available personnel,etc.) The mood, style, time period, and location are clearly and cohesively established.

Technical and design elements are harmonious and support the story-telling.

Characterizations are strong,believable, and effectively integrated in dialogue, song,and dance.

Performers are confident in their roles and are able to maintain characterizations under all circumstances.

Casting reflects appropriate use of diverse talents.

The cast is fully invested in the performance.

Support aspects (ushers, lobby display, program) are handled professionally.

Pre- and post-performance behavior of cast and crew is discreet and professional.


Each high school production will be adjudicated by a panel of three judges. Each judge will attend three high school musical productions and will provide feedback to the schools.

We are seeking judges with diverse areas of expertise: dance, music, acting, and technical theatre.

  • People who work for The Fox, Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation, and The Muny are not eligible to be judges.
  • Guest artistic staff (hired only to choreograph or direct a show for a school) are eligible to judge other schools.

Judges complete a non-partiality survey and geographic preference survey. That information is used to determine which judges see which shows.

There are two mandatory meetings for all judges. At the first meeting, judges will receive instruction in the criteria to be used in judging. At the second meeting, the nominations for the award ceremony will be generated.

If you are interested in becoming a judge for the SLHSMTA, please contact Nancy Sherwin (