Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz, the ASCAP Foundation, and the Educational Theatre Association have announced a new award honoring exceptional theatre educators at the middle and high school levels. The Stephen Schwartz Musical Theatre Teacher of the Year Award will be given annually and includes $5,000 and travel to the International Thespian Festival for the announcement and recognition of the honor.
The Wicked, Pippin, and Godspell composer hopes the honor will recognize the ways that theatre education impacts lives. “Theatre teachers help to not just bring theatre, but bring empathy and the ability to think, to work together as a group, and understand other people," Schwartz shared at EdTA's national teacher conference last fall. "These are things so desperately needed in our country right now that go way, way beyond theatre and musical theatre."
The award will be administered by the ASCAP Foundation and EdTA. Any currently active middle or high school theatre teacher who produces musicals at their school are eligible for nomination by their administrator, students, peers, or others who know their work. Teachers may also apply themselves. Nominations will be evaluated by a panel of EdTA teachers and leaders, industry professionals, and ASCAP representatives on the quality of work in their program, career accomplishments, and their impact outside the school.
Schwartz will announce the winning teacher during the International Thespian Excellence Awards Showcase at the close of EdTA's International Thespian Festival, a summer theatre intensive for high-achieving students and their teachers.
“We are thrilled to partner with Stephen Schwartz and the ASCAP Foundation to bring well-deserved recognition to the extraordinary work of teachers who bring musical theatre to life for their students,” says EdTA Executive Director Julie Cohen Theobald.
Nominations for the 2020 award are currently open and will be accepted through March 15. For complete criteria, visit SchoolTheatre.org.