The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region 6 is thrilled to offer year seven of the Musical Theatre Initiative. The initiative’s goal is to celebrate and recognize outstanding musical theatre students associated with productions from Region 6. The Musical Theatre Initiative strives to offer educational opportunities at the festival for students and faculty to further their knowledge and appreciation of this art form.

NEW SINCE 2017! Any school with at least one participating or associate production may nominate AS MANY students for the Musical Theatre Initiative as they see fit. Nominees attending the annual Region 6 Festival will participate in a musical theatre performance event. One award recipient, and a first and second alternate, will be chosen from the MTI Final Showcase and announced at the festival award ceremony. In addition, this year Region 6 will host an MTI Dance Event open to all students registered at the festival. 

The Region 6 Musical Theatre Initiative winner will receive a $600 scholarship to The Open Jar Institute in New York City. He or she will also be invited to the KCACTF National Festival held at the Kennedy Center in April, where they will compete for a Full Ride scholarship to The Open Jar Institute. Further information on Open Jar can be found at


Nomination and Award Criteria for the Musical Theatre Initiative

Student nominees and the award recipient are chosen based on the following criteria:

  • Ability to play urgent, strong and clear acting objectives throughout the song. The performance must include a storytelling arc, with a clear beginning, middle and ending.
  • Ability to make varied, specific and bold acting and vocal choices, and express them throughout the performance both lyrically and musically.
  • Ability to sing with vocal excellence, exhibiting a healthy and versatile vocal instrument through which the student makes varied, and informed musical choices that add texture and layers to their overall performance. The performer must exhibit a strong understanding of the lyrics and accompaniment. Effective musicality is strongly considered.
  • Ability to connect to the song physically, making strong and varied choices that express their character’s objectives both physically and emotionally.
  • Ability to make acting, physical and vocal choices that meet the demands of, and are appropriate for the musical theatre form.
  • Ability to demonstrate range as an actor and singer, including the selection of contrasting pieces from the musical theatre canon.


Festival Participation Details

The Musical Theatre Initiative process is as follows:

  • Students may only be nominated from schools having at least one associate or participating entry. Students from universities/colleges with no entries may not participate.
  • Faculty should nominate as many musical theatre students as they feel are prepared to participate.
  • MTI Nominees who are also participating in the Irene Ryans and choose to perform a song as their Irene Ryan monologue, are permitted to use the same song as one selection for the Musical Theatre Initiative, though not required to do so.
  • Students need not obtain performance rights for their songs at this time.
  • There are two rounds. Round 1 (The Preliminaries) requires the performance of a 32 bar cut not to exceed 90 seconds. NEW FOR 2018! Participants are required to bring their sheet music in a three-ring binder. The preliminary round functions just like an audition. Round 2 (The Finals) requires the repeat performance of the 32 bar cut and, in addition, a full song. The combined performance time of both songs may not exceed 5 minutes. Finalists may perform their songs in whichever order they prefer.
  • For the Final Round the songs should be contrasting in style and tone and display the versatility of the performer.
  • All songs must be from produced musicals. Songs from revues are discouraged, but not forbidden.
  • Nominees should slate their name, title of the song and title of show for Round 1. For Round 2 nominees should include both songs in their slate.
  • Students or Faculty must submit a nomination form by December 8, 2017. Nomination forms received after this date will not be considered in order to allow for proper festival planning.
  • A participation form including titles of all songs to be performed and a headshot must be submitted by February 9, 2018. Instructions on submitting the participation form can be found below.
  • NEW for 2018! All participants will be responsible for bringing their sheet music to the festival. Both the full song and the 32-bar cut should be double-sided, three-hole punched, and placed into a three-ring binder. Participants will be responsible for presenting their music to the accompanist at the festival.
  • At the Festival, respondents will be provided for all participants following both rounds.
  • Students interested in the MTI Dance Event should attend the Open Dance Call at the festival. A small group of students will be selected from the Open Dance Call to work with a New York choreographer on a dance routine to be performed at the MTI Final Showcase.


Musical Theatre Preliminary and Final Events

At an assigned time during the festival, all musical theatre nominees will present their Round 1 material (32 bar cut, not to exceed 90 seconds). Respondents will select 14 finalists to proceed to Round 2 as well as two alternates. The finalists will present their Round 2 material (full song and 32-bar cut, not to exceed five minutes) at the Musical Theatre Initiative Final Showcase. From this showcase the respondents will select the Musical Theatre Award recipient and alternates.



  • An accompanist will be provided.
  • There will be NO rehearsal with the accompanist before the Preliminary round. This is an audition round.
  • There will be a 4 minute rehearsal with the accompanist before the Final round.
  • Coaches are allowed to attend the rehearsal prior to the final round.



December 8, 2017 – Nomination Form Due


February 9, 2018 – Participation Form Due



For Questions contact MTI Coordinator:

Andrew Barratt Lewis

Department of Art, Theatre & Dance

West Texas A&M University

806-651-2812 ~