In order to encourage young artists to enter musical theater, the National Endowment for the Arts is expanding its Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge to a national program available to all high school songwriters working in any musical genre.

Applicants submit a recording of an original song that could appear in a musical theater show. Partnering with the NEA in the Songwriting Challenge is the American Theatre Wing, along with collaborators Playbill Inc. and Disney Theatrical Productions.

High school songwriters should go to the Songwriting Challenge section of the NEA website before the deadline of Jan. 5 to enter the competition. Six regional winners will be selected in February for a trip to New York City in April to work with professional musicians, singers, songwriters and producers during an intense weekend of workshops.

The performance of the regional winners’ song by those musicians and singers will be judged by a panel of esteemed musical theater artists as the final competition and webcast live. One of the six will be selected as the national champion. Winners will receive scholarships and more.