FAQ's

WHAT IS THE MISSION OF THE DSM HSMTA PROGRAM?
The program’s mission is to visibly and powerfully impact area high school students, their school communities and their families by encouraging and recognizing student excellence in musical theater productions.

HOW ARE THE WINNERS OF DSM HSMTA SELECTED?
A panel of DSM-selected judges attend and score each participating production based on detailed guidelines. When all of the evaluations have been received, a final meeting of all DSM HSMTA adjudicators takes place to review the productions and complete the scoring process. Scores are be tabulated and certified by BDO, a certified public accounting firm. The highest score determines the winner in each category and winners are announced during the awards ceremony.

WHAT ARE THE DSM HSMTA CATEGORIES?
Best Musical
Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best Featured Performer
Best Ensemble
Best Orchestra
Best Choreography
Best Direction
Best Musical Direction
Best Costume Design
Best Scenic Design
Best Lighting Design
Best Crew/Technical Execution
DSM HSMTA Spirit Award
Outstanding Educator Award

WHO ARE THE DSM HSMTA JUDGES?
DSM has recruited a diverse panel of adjudicators consisting of qualified arts professionals to serve as DSM HSMTA adjudicators. Adjudicators are required to attend a mandatory meeting in the fall that provides an extensive orientation of the program and the evaluation process. Judges evaluate how well a school does, based on that school’s unique resources and challenges. The awards criterion emphasizes achievement and celebration of student work, not budget or size of production.

WHAT HAPPENS AT THE AWARDS CEREMONY?
The DSM HSMTA program culminates at the Music Hall with an awards ceremony, modeled after the Tony Awards®, to recognize outstanding musical theatre productions and students. Winners are announced for each category. The ceremony also entertains the audience with production numbers from the eight shows nominated for Best Musical. Finalists for Best Actor and Best Actress also perform. Additionally, all students nominated for individual categories perform in the opening number and two students from each participating school perform in the closing number. A full orchestra accompanies all of these performances, with music direction and choreography by local theatre professionals.

ARE THERE OTHER PROGRAMS LIKE THIS AROUND THE COUNTRY?
Yes! 45 other cities across the country similar programs. Patterned after Broadway’s Tony® Awards, a competition for high school musicals was conceived 20 years ago by Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera. Since then, the concept has spread across the nation, and in 2009, an annual national awards program, The Jimmy Awards, named after James M. Nederlander, chairman of the Nederlander Producing Company of America, was created to provide a week of professional training in New York for students named best actor and best actress at the regional awards.

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