THE NERD starring Eric Szmanda and Shane Partlow (2014) photo by Daphne Blair

TPA trophy

Modeled after The Tony Awards® on Broadway, The Totem Pole Playhouse Awards are presented annually to recognize outstanding achievement in musical theater production and performances by high school students in the counties immediately surrounding Totem Pole Playhouse. Public and private high schools in Adams, Franklin, and Fulton counties are invited to participate. Invited schools may download the 2017 Participation Form here!

NEW to 2017, we are thrilled to be able to include a $1000 scholarship to each winner of the Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role actor and actress!

Named after the Totem Pole Playhouse, one of the longest running, nationally-recognized, professional summer theaters in the country, the awards were established in 2014 and focus solely on the performances of local high school students, honoring their acting, singing, and dancing abilities.

Each year, unbiased professional arts judges view the performances of the participating high schools over the course of the spring high school musical theater season. There are fifteen categories in which nominees are selected. The judges use standardized evaluation criteria in judging the performance of the students. The judges select five nominees in each of the categories from the casts of the participating schools. Additionally, the directors for each of the musicals chooses one student each year to receive the Jean Stapleton Award for their school.

The categories for the 2017 juried Totem Pole Playhouse Awards are:

  • Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
  • Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
  • Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
  • Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
  • Outstanding Performance by a Featured Female Ensemble Member
  • Outstanding Performance by a Featured Male Ensemble Member
  • Outstanding Female Solo Vocal Performance
  • Outstanding Male Solo Vocal Performance
  • Outstanding Performance by a Featured Dancer
  • Outstanding Vocal Duet
  • Outstanding Small Ensemble Performance
  • Outstanding Musical Chorus
  • Outstanding Musical Production Number
  • Outstanding Stage Crew
  • The Carl Schurr Award for Outstanding Production of a Musical

In addition, the “Jean Stapleton Award for Outstanding Contribution to a High School Musical” will be presented to one student from each high school participating in the awards for exemplary contribution to their high school’s musical production.

The 2017 Totem Pole Playhouse Awards ceremony will be held at 5 p.m. on May 21 at Gettysburg College’s Majestic Theater, 25 Carlisle St., Gettysburg. Tickets will be available by calling the Majestic Theater box office at (717) 337-8200 or at