Musical Theatre Songwriting Challenge -

National Endowment for the Arts



friends. Even though she cannot vote, Jillian believes in the importance of being politically active, and she participated in 2017’s historic Women’s March and the March for Our Lives in 2018. In eighth grade, she and a group of other students formed the Student Egalitarian Association, whose goal was to make school a more comfortable place for all students. The club succeeded in changing the school’s gender-biased and ineffective dress code, which remains one of Jillian’s proudest achievements. In 2017, Jillian was awarded the Superior Writing Certificate, the highest honor in the Promising Young Writers Program of the National Council of Teachers of English. Jillian’s favorite foods are chicken pot pie, cashew turtle ice cream and anything chocolate.



Fritz Hager is an eighteen year old senior at Tyler Lee high school in Tyler Texas and is number two out of six kids. Fritz has been performing ever since he was a little kid, and is continuing to pursue his dreams of performing, and hopefully get paid for it some day! Fritz started writing around the age of thirteen, writing his first song after his first guitar lesson, and for several years honed his skills as a writer by entering several songwriting competitions, participating in multiple songwriting workshops, all while playing gigs at the local farmers markets and coffee shops. Fritz began writing with a very contemporary style, greatly influenced by artists such as Ed Sheeran and John Mayer. After winning first place at the Wildflower Budding Talent competition and the 2014-2015 National PTA reflections contest in the category of musical composition, Fritz was introduced to the world of the theater. His first musical he participated in was the stage adaptation of High School Musical, playing the role of Ryan Evans. While being a part of the show, he was exposed to musicals, and learned that there is a place for contemporary music within the musical theater genre. He was inspired by the stories and characters that were told through the music of shows like The Last Five Years and Dear Evan Hansen and decided to merge his passion for songwriting and theater. It wasn’t until the end of his junior year that he began to write from a musical theater perspective, taking his indie contemporary style and fusing it into a new medium in order to create a signature sound and feel to the music he creates. Inspired by the works of writers such as Jason Robert Brown, and the powerhouse duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Fritz began working on his own musical surrounding the life of a musician and his rise and fall from stardom, drawing from his own yearnings and aspirations as a performer. As a senior, Fritz has received several acting awards, including the award of Best Actor at the bi-district level of the UIL One Act Play competition. He will also be attending Oklahoma City University this fall as a musical theater/ vocal performance double major.



Aaron Richert is 17 years old, and a senior at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts in New Orleans, Louisiana. Aaron started doing theatre in an effort to be more like his older brother, Michael, but ended up falling head over heels the instant he step foot on stage. He has been performing since 5 and started playing instruments at 7. His first instrument was a violin, before he began piano, and along the way taught himself guitar, ukulele, bass, cajon, and accordion (but cannot for the life of him remember how to play violin). He has always lived for music, always playing or listening as much as he could, and finding every opportunity around New Orleans to express that side of himself, whether that be singing and playing at churches or singing with his teenage barbershop quartet (“The Ragamuffins”).Aaron has always been a performer first and everything else second, and while he loves writing music, he had never considered himself a composer. His first venture into it was as a form of catharsis before anything else, writing songs about all of his friends and how he felt about them at the time, which turned into a never released song cycle titled “Frequent Visitors: Or How to Lose Your Friends.” After the song cycle, and a few ventures into barbershop arrangements, he decided to try the next reasonable step and attempt music direction. After being the Assistant Music Director/Rehearsal Accompanist on a local 


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