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The Kelli O’Hara Awards were created by OKC Broadway to celebrate outstanding achievement in Oklahoma high school musical theatre.  The program highlights the exceptional students and teachers who devote their time and passion to making a home in their schools for the performing arts.

Schools may participate in one of two ways: 

  1. If a school is doing a live production, they will be able to send in a video of their production, and have their students performing in a qualifying role submit a self-tape of a solo song from their role to be considered for Best Actress/Best Actor categories. 

  2. If a school is not doing a live production, they will be able to submit up to two students for the Best Actor and up to two students for the Best Actress category. 

Twenty finalists will perform as part of the Virtual Kelli O'Hara Awards Ceremony and compete for the opportunity to move on to the national level.

OKC Broadway is a regional provider of The National High School Musical Theatre Awards (AKA “The Jimmys”), a program that unites high school musical theatre awards programs from around the country.  The winners of the Kelli O’Hara Awards for Best Actress and Actor will participate virtually in National High School Theatre Awards, where they will receive professional training and compete with winners from dozens of other regional programs to a national audience.


  • To recognize extraordinary achievement in musical theatre at the high school level

  • To advocate for arts education in schools

  • To foster a lifelong love of the performing arts in students and in the community


  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical 

  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Musical

  • Best Ensemble

  • Best Musical

  • Spotlight Awards for an ensemble member from each school


We understand that schools and students are still facing unique challenges during the COVID-19 epidemic and are making a number of adjustments to our process in order to accommodate as many students as possible during this awards year.*

  • All applicants must be fully vaccinated in order to be eligible for the NHSMTA.

  • Schools who are unable to put on a production may have their Theatre Teacher/Director submit up to two male and up to two female students to audition using one of the approved qualifying roles (see link under Eligibility). More details on the live audition process will be available later in the school year.

  • This year we will be hosting a live ceremony announcing the award winners and featuring all finalists. 

  • Students who win Best Actor and Best Actress will go on to participate in the National High School Theatre Awards, which will be held in New York.


The Kelli O’Hara Awards program is open to public and private high schools producing musical theatre in Central and Western Oklahoma.  To verify if your school is within our region, view our region list. Only shows and roles found on the National High School Music Theatre Awards qualifying roles list* will be considered. The list can be found on the National Awards website.


All participating schools must complete the online form.



For schools with Productions: 

If you do not have the dates set for your show, please let us know on your application and notify the awards coordinator via email as soon as your dates are finalized at: kelliawards@okcbroadway.com

In addition to the online application, you will be required to submit the following prior to opening night.

  • A copy of your licensing agreement

  • Receipt of royalty payment


You will also be required to send us an unedited, full-length video recording of your production no later than the Wednesday following your production. If you will be unable to record your production, please let us know at least four weeks in advance so that we can make arrangements to have it recorded. 


The quality of the recording will NOT be factored into your score. 


For Schools without a Production:

In order for students to be considered not in conjunction with a school production, their school's Theatre Teacher/Director must fill out the application and may submit up to two male and up to two female students. 


Students wishing to be considered for the Best Actress or Actor award, must submit their application separately from the school application.  The application is available here.


ALL PARTICIPANTS must be available on the following dates:*


Kelli O'Hara Awards Week, Dates TBC

NHSMTA Week, dates to be confirmed between June 20-June 27, 2021

All students will need to provide the following in their application:

  • Nominee Release/Waiver form and Parental Release Form

  • Current color headshot


The winners of the Kelli O'Hara Awards for Best Actress and Actor will participate in the National High School Theatre Awards, where they will receive professional training and compete with winners from dozens of other regional programs to a national audience.


  • The Best Actor and Actress nominees must be currently enrolled in high school in the Kelli O'Hara Awards region, grades 9-12 and be fully vaccinated.

  • Students may only be judged on the video submission provided, regardless of whether or not their school is submitting a full performance.

  • Finalists will perform as a part of a virtual awards ceremony by submitting a pre-recorded medley. Details will be given to finalists after announcement.

  • All decisions are final. 

  • If your show is double cast, please be prepared to submit videos of both performances.

  • Specific guidelines for video submissions can be found here.


Students will be judged solely on the audition video submitted, regardless of whether their school also submits a submission of a full performance. Four to five adjudicators will evaluate the performances and the overall production.*


Adjudicators will look for the following qualities:


Character Development - Demonstrates the arc of the character through the solo song. 

Emotional Authenticity - Was the actor emotionally present?

Commitment - Did the actor maintain their character and energy throughout the production?


Diction - Could the performer be clearly understood?

Song Delivery - The ability to express the character through song with technical mastery.

Intonation - Pitch and musicality


Execution of Choreography - Demonstrates good sense of rhythm and technique

Physicality - Character emotions, experience, and behavior expressed through body language.


Overall Presentation

Spark - Exceptional stage presence. The ability to hold the adjudicators' attention. Star quality.


The adjudicators will use a 1-10 scoring model to critique the performances.

The winners will be announced at the virtual Kelli O'Hara Awards ceremony.


We recognize there is a wide range of budgetary considerations across the various schools. In the interest of maintaining scoring equity, our adjudication model will account for rented sets and costumes. Please notify the Kelli O’Hara awards if you plan to rent some or all your costumes and/or set.  You will not be penalized for using rentals; we just want to make sure that schools who build their own sets and costumes are not placed at a disadvantage.  If you do build your own sets and/or costumes, please let us know if they will be designed by an adult or a student.  

Additionally, please notify the Kelli O’Hara Awards if you will be casting any adults, using adults in the orchestra, or have adult designers for lighting, audio, scenic , costumes, or props.  That will be considered as well.


Timeline for the 2021-2022 Kelli O'Hara Awards is not yet available. Check back soon for more information. 

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