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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.

To participate, schoolteachers/directors apply to have their production adjudicated by a panel of theatre professionals, educators, and other qualified judges.  Students cast in qualifying roles can then apply to be considered for the individual performance awards.  Finalists will perform together at the Civic Center Music Hall 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 receive an all-expense paid trip to New York City. There they will receive professional training and compete on a Broadway stage with winners from dozens of other regional programs. 


  • 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

  • Spirit Award

  • Spotlight Awards for an ensemble member from each school


The Kelli O’Hara Awards program is open to public and private high schools producing musical theatre in Central and Western Oklahoma.  A student in a qualifying role in a production may apply to compete for an acting award. Requirements for a qualifying role can be found ­­­here.


To register your school, you must submit the online application no later than four weeks prior to opening night.


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.




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 online and is due at least two weeks prior to opening night. 

ALL PARTICIPANTS must be available on the following dates:


Saturday, May 9

Saturday, May 16

Tuesday, May 19

Wednesday, May 20

[Week of 2020 Jimmy Awards, dates TBD]


The top 20 finalists will be announced the week of April 27th.  ALL FINALISTS will be required to submit the following materials by Saturday, May 9th:


  • Nominee Release/Waiver form and Parental Release Form

  • Nominee Medical Information Form

  • Current color headshot

  • Resume formatted to NHSMTA template

  • One-page essay

  • Bio

  • Three production photos demonstrating the nominee’s performance was from a 2019-2020 school year Qualifying Role in an Approved Musical in a full-length high school production.

  • A video submission featuring a topic response

  • Audition video

  • Music submissions


Winners of the Kelli O’Hara awards for Best Actress and Best Actor will receive a trip to New York to compete on Broadway in the Jimmy Awards.


  • The Best Actor and Actress nominees must be currently enrolled in high school, grades 9-12.

  • Students may only be judged on the role performed in their high school musical.

  • ALL PARTICIPANTS will perform at a live, ticketed event at the Civic Center Music Hall.

  • Finalists will be participating in a workshop prior to the awards ceremony which will be attended by the judges who will select the Best Actor/Actress winners.

  • All decisions are final.

  • If your show is double cast, please let us know which performance dates we should send adjudicators to. We are happy to send adjudicators to evaluate both casts.

  • If your production uses adult actors in the ensemble and becomes a finalist for Best Musical, the adult actors will not be permitted to perform in the awards ceremony.  You will either need to recast their roles for the ceremony or select a number that does not include them.


Students will be judged solely on the role performed in their high school musical theatre production.  Approximately five adjudicators will attend the production and evaluate the performances and the overall production.


Adjudicators will look for the following qualities:


Character Development - The ability to fully inhabit the character and make authentic acting choices. 

Emotional Availability - The ability to truthfully express the character's inner life. 

Commitment - The ability to maintain character and energy throughout the production.


Audibility - Could the performer be heard and understood?

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

Intonation: Pitch and musicality


Execution of choreography - Rhythm and sense of technique.

Physicality - Character emotions, experience, and behavior expressed through movement. Movement choices consistent with the character. 


Overall Presentation - The ability to completely inhabit the character through acting, voice, and movement consistently throughout the performance. 

Spark - Exceptional stage presence. The ability to take the stage and hold the audience's attention. Star quality. 


The adjudicators will use a 0-10 scoring model to critique the performances.

Students selected for the second round of the competition will participate in a workshop attended by the judges who will select the Best Actor and Actress winners.  The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on 5/20/20. 


We recognize that 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 or using adults in the orchestra.  That will be considered as well.

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