Theatre Under the Stars

A Completely Virtual Tommy Tune Awards

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the continued challenges arising from the COVID-19 variants, TUTS is committed to ensuring the continued safety of teachers, students, and school communities by hosting a virtual Tommy Tune Awards production (2021-2022). Since a live, in-person, full-scale production involving participants from over 40 schools is uncertain given the current climate, TUTS is looking at ways to continue the Tommy Tune Awards Show in a creative virtual space. Additionally, TUTS is excited to announce the Tommy Tune Awards Inaugural Musical Theatre Songwriting Competition (more information below). 

The Tommy Tune Awards adjudication process will run as it has in years prior: 

  • Participating Houston area schools must produce a musical during the 21-22 adjudication period (October 2021 – March 2022) that aligns production requirements detailed by the National High School Musical Theatre Awards (NHSMTA). 
  • Participating schools will be adjudicated on their production of an eligible, licensed live musical by up to three Mentors based on a 100-point scale rubric. 
  • Each school will provide TUTS Tommy Tune Awards content (e-Playbill, production/backstage photos, and archival video) in preparation for a widely distributed virtual show. 
  • Schools can include Tommy Tune Awards media/materials for outreach and marketing. 
  • Scores provided by the adjudicating Mentors will be audited by a professional accounting service. Top scores in each category will then be nominated for the award in that category. 
  • Nominations are announced in all categories which will require additional paperwork/rehearsals/video content for TTA nominees. 
  • Post-awards show, participants will receive commentary feedback from adjudicating Mentors, sent directly to school TTA contacts (creative team and administration). 


August 23-27, 2021 School Applications Accepted 
September 3, 2021 Announcement of Participating Schools 
September 14, 2021 Director Meeting (Virtual) 
September 27, 2021 Licensing Acquisition Date 
October 2021 Adjudication Period Begins 
March 2022 Adjudication Period Ends 
March 20, 2022 Nominations Announced 
April 4, 2022 Rehearsal Period Begins (schedule subject to change) 
May 1, 2022 Tommy Tune Awards Ceremony 
Dates are subject to change.

Musical Theatre Songwriting Challenge

The Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge is a brand-new Tommy Tune Award initiative. The musical theatre songwriting challenge is a city-wide competition for high school students who have a passion for writing songs that could be part of a musical theater production and the wide range of musical styles represented in contemporary musical theater (hip-hop, rock, R&B, country, punk, jazz, etc.).  Nominees for the Songwriting Challenge will be selected by a panel of professional musical theatre musicians, composers, and Broadway music directors. Nominees will have their original compositions showcased on the Tommy Tune Awards website. Our inaugural winner will have access to one-on-one mentorship with…..  


We advise reading the information below before submitting to be fully prepared.  

Be prepared to answer the following questions about your song in a paragraph:

  • Which character is singing this song? 
  • Who is this character singing to? 
  • What is the time and place of the story? 
  • What inspired this song?  

Lyrics of Your Song: 

Full lyrics must accompany your audio file submission.  

Audio File of Your Song: 

Acceptable file types are mp3, wma, wav, aac, mid, midi, mpa, and ra. The audio file can be of any length, however the panelists judging your application will only listen to a maximum of 3 minutes from the song. 

Sheet music or score in PDF format (optional) 


Q: Who can apply to the Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge? 

Any student enrolled in grades 9-12 in a TTA participating high school who has the desire and passion to write songs for musical theatre. 

Q: Can I submit more than one song on my application? 

No. All students should apply with one application and one audio file of their original song. 

Q: Can I submit a song that I worked on with a collaborator? 

Yes. You may submit a song that you worked on with a collaborator, but it is up to you to ensure they receive proper credit on your application.  

Q: How long does the song have to be? Is there a minimum length required? 

The audio file can be of any length, however the panelists judging your application will only listen to a maximum of 3 minutes from the song. 

Q: Are there any costs or fees associated with applying to the Songwriting Challenge? 

No, there is no application fee associated with this program.   

Theatre Under The Stars acts as the administrative body of the Tommy Tune Awards, coordinating school and adjudication schedules, facilitating the scholarship award process, and producing the awards show.