Thespian Musicalworks

Thespian Musicalworks

Thespian Musicalworks nurtures original student-written musicals from the page to the stage. The program staff will choose up to two works to be developed in June at the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska. Professional stage and music directors will help the chosen finalists to workshop and present their musicals with student actors. Please carefully read all the guidelines below before submitting your work.


Writers must be active members of the International Thespian Society enrolled in high school during the current school year. All finalists must be available to attend the upcoming International Thespian Festival. Finalists will be responsible for the cost of their travel to Festival, but the International Thespian Society will pay the registration fees, which include room and board as well as admission to all Festival events.


Musicals must be the original work of no more than two Thespian writers. Adaptations won’t be considered, nor will musicals that include music, lyrics, or dialogue written by anyone other than the submitting writers. Musicals can be about any subject but should have a running time of fifteen minutes or less (approximately thirty typed pages, including lyrics). Writers may submit more than one musical for consideration.


Writers may submit work for consideration from October 1 until January 15. Early submissions are encouraged. All writers will be notified shortly after March 15 about the status of their submission. Submissions will not be acknowledged when received.


Up to two works will be chosen for development at Festival. The writers of those works need to prepare lead sheets for the first workshop session. The writers will collaborate with student actors and professional stage directors and music directors to bring their musicals to life with minimal production elements. The writers will observe readings, consult with their directors, receive and provide feedback, and make revisions to strengthen their scripts. The program culminates in staged readings of the musicals (or portions of them) for a Festival audience.


All work is protected by copyright from the moment it’s created. Writers own their musicals and have exclusive control of the rights to produce, publish, and adapt them. By submitting work to Thespian Musicalworks, you agree to allow the International Thespian Society (at its discretion) to mount a staged reading of your musical. The society may also (at its discretion) publish your script (or portions of it). All other rights remain the exclusive property of the writer.


Writers should submit their audio recordings (.mp3 format preferred) and scripts (12-point type preferred). Recordings must include all sung lyrics and accompaniment. A cappella recordings will not be considered, unless the entire piece was composed to be performed a cappella. Recordings may also include dialogue. The cover page of each submission should include

  1. the title of the musical,
  2. your name and email address,
  3. your school name and troupe number, and
  4. your troupe director’s name and email address.

Submissions for Musicalworks at the 2017 International Thespian Festival are now closed.

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