Musical Theatre Festival Featuring Broadway Stars and 40+ Performing Arts Studios Takes Center Stage in California

An action-packed weekend of education, performance, and competition kicks off this Friday.

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Students from more than 40 schools and performing arts studios nationwide will take center stage this weekend at the Hyatt Regency in Garden Grove, California, to celebrate the magic of live theatre in the 2023 Musical Theatre Competitions of America (MTCA). MTCA is the nation's most extensive competitive and educational festival for students and directors that pairs the best of Educational Theatre with Broadway's brightest stars.

Students aged 8-19 will participate in a weekend that includes individual and group performances, masterclasses with professional theatrical performers, and individual workshops guided by the MTCA adjudication team featuring Broadway performers, choreographers, theatre educators and regional theatre performers.

Notable stars from Broadway participating in this year's festival as special guests include:

  • Adam Jacobs, originator of the role of Aladdin in Disney's Broadway hit musical, Aladdin. Additional credits include Lion King (Simba), Les Misérables (Marius), and Mamma Mia (Sky).

  • Arielle Jacobs, who starred as Princess Jasmine in Disney's Broadway hit musical, Aladdin. Additional credits include Wicked (Nessarose), four-time Tony & Grammy award-winning In the Heights (Nina Rosario) and Between the Lines.

  • Nikki Snelson, originator of the role of Brooke Wyndham in Broadway's classic hit, Legally Blonde. Additional credits include Annie Get Your Gun (Winnie) and Chorus Line (Cassie). Snelson is a returning special guest of MTCA.

These special guests will work with students throughout the festival, offering insight, feedback, and education. All students will participate in an Open Call audition for the opportunity to perform on stage with the Broadway stars. Students will also participate in three exclusive Direct from Broadway talkbacks and over thirty in-depth masterclasses.

The festival offers extensive opportunities for students to perform and compete in different categories. Individual categories include Vocal Solo, Monologue, Duet, and Musical Theatre Dance, while the group categories consist of Ensemble, Musical Revue, and Showtune. Technical Theatre students will also complete in several categories, such as Set Design, Costume Design, and Makeup and Hair Design.

"MTCA gives our kids something excellent to strive for. They take it very seriously, and the work they put into MTCA unites them as a team." Director, SCERA Youth Theatre - Acting Up!, Orem, Utah

The festival kicks off on Friday morning with a welcome celebration that starts an action-packed two days of Adjudication, Masterclasses, Workshops, Technical Olympics, Rehearsals, and more. Participants will reconvene Saturday night for an exclusive "MTCA: Broadway Through the Years" experience, where MTCA students will perform live on-stage alongside special guests Adam Jacobs, Arielle Jacobs, and Nikki Snelson.

MTCA's commitment to providing educational opportunities is unique compared to other competitions and festivals. Each student receives a personal workshop of the materials presented by adjudicators, offering the tangible feedback that helps students elevate their performances for upcoming show, college, or professional auditions.

This learning opportunity is an integral part of the MTCA experience.

"Our goal is to provide students across the country with opportunities to perform, compete, and learn together in a truly special Musical Theatre Celebration. We strive to improve the experience with each festival by adding more unique opportunities for students to interact and learn from our special guests. We couldn't be more excited to spotlight the magic of musical theatre once again this weekend."

Lisa Fry & Pia Patrick, Directors, MTCA

The festival concludes on Sunday morning with the Awards Ceremony, hosted at The Walter Knott Theatre located at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California, where more than 200 awards will be presented to the winning students, studios, and schools.

Registration is now open for MTCA 2024, which takes place February 9-11, 2024. Space is extremely limited.

Visit for contest updates, future registration, and more.

Musical Theatre Competitions of America (MTCA) is a national three-day creative collaboration among musical theatre producers, directors, costume designers, set designers, and choreographers that offers the highest quality performance-based educational opportunities for students across the country.

Established in 2005, MTCA stands as a pioneer among educational Musical Theatre Competitions. The festival brings schools and performing arts studios together for a collection of individual and group performances and master classes that provide opportunities for students to grow and learn from Broadway stars and experienced theatre professionals.

MTCA is guided under the vision of Directors Lisa Fry and Pia Patrick. Lisa and Pia have over 13 years of experience with MTCA and backgrounds in the performing arts education field. In addition, Lisa and Pia share an unequaled enthusiasm for teaching and helping students experience the art of musical theatre.

For more details about MTCA and updates regarding MTCA 2024, please visit or email Lisa Fry at


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