2020 Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge Winners

The 2020 Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge had its . . . challenges. The pandemic forced changes to the program—moving from virtual introductions of each coaching team followed by in-person coaching sessions in the winners’ hometowns to all virtual coaching. However, this shift allowed the program to double the number of winners from six to 12, offering more students the opportunity to develop their talents.

For the recording sessions, all participants were able to work together in a logistical feat engineered by the American Theatre Wing. The set-up interwove virtual and in-person spaces such that each winner and their mentor connected remotely and in real time to the artists over four days of recording at Reservoir Studios in New York City. This year's program employed over 70 talented professionals including musicians, vocalists, sound engineers, and music directors who worked both remotely and at Reservoir where they were in separated spaces and on rolling schedules that kept everyone safe.

The result is all of the songs below that are also available on music streaming services and on the iHeartRadio app. The songs received their public debut on iHeartRadio Broadway, the Songwriting Challenge’s new partner, in a special matinee program on April 3, 2021.

 

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Ada Fender

Windsor Heights, Iowa - Junior, Roosevelt High School

Program and Photos  ::   Artists’ Bios and Song Description

 

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Adam Jones

North Chesterfield, Virginia - Freshman, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA Greensboro

Program and Photos  ::   Artists’ Bios and Song Description

 

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Alejandro Rodriguez

Weston, Florida - Freshman, Florida State University

Program and Photos  ::   Artists’ Bios and Song Description

 

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Chelsea Rose

Durham, North Carolina - Senior, Durham School of the Arts

Program and Photos  ::   Artists’ Bios and Song Description

 

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Henry Crater

SANIBEL, FLORIDA - Freshman, University of Michigan

Program and Photos  ::   Artists’ Bios and Song Description

 

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Jane Brinkley & Ashley Schmittle

Eugene, Oregon - Freshman, Smith College & DePaul University

Program and Photos  ::   Artists’ Bios and Song Description

 

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Joseph Mosby

Nashville, TennesseE - Senior, Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet High School

Program and Photos  ::   Artists’ Bios and Song Description

 

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Leilani Patao

Los Angeles, California - Junior, Los Angeles County High School for the Arts

Program and Photos  ::   Artists’ Bios and Song Description

 

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Sierra Blanco

New York, New York - Senior, Professional Children's School

Program and Photos  ::   Artists’ Bios and Song Description

 

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Soleil Singh

Southlake, Texas - Freshman, Yale University

Program and Photos  ::   Artists’ Bios and Song Description

 

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Viola Durfee

Washington, DC - Sophomore, School Without Walls

Program and Photos  ::   Artists’ Bios and Song Description

 

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Xyzsa Pagaduan

Rockwall, Texas - Senior, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts

Program and Photos  ::   Artists’ Bios and Song Description