Robert E. Lee High School senior, Fritz Hager III, has been named one of six finalists in the National Endowment for the Arts 2018 Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge, a national songwriting competition where a $25,000 scholarship is up for grabs. The competition received more than 200 applications from high school composers in 36 states.
The finalists (five individual composers and one pair) will each have their songs published by Samuel French, and the national champion will receive a $25,000 scholarship courtesy of the National Music Publishers’ Association S.O.N.G.S. (Supporting Our Next Generation of Songwriters) Foundation.
Hager says the song he submitted is actually part of a 14-song musical he has been writing over the past several months.
“This particular song is titled ‘If I Lie Here” and is about an aspiring songwriter who tries to convince the love of his life to take him back even through all his past discrepancies, and that despite all logic, we still believe people will change. The full musical follows a relationship between two characters as one journeys through the ups and downs of fame.”
In April, Fritz will join the other finalists in New York to participate in a weekend of workshops with well-known musicians, singers, songwriters and producers. This will culminate in an April 23 live-streamed performance of the six songs, judged by a panel of musical theatre professionals. Partnering with the National Endowment for the Arts on the second annual competition are the American Theatre Wing, Disney Theatrical Productions, Samuel French, Inc. and Playbill.
“Fritz is such a creative force-singing, acting, songwriting, as well as a gifted musician,” Amy Clemens, REL theatre teacher, said. “He is always searching for new ways to express himself artistically, and he challenges his peers, and sometimes me, to be better artists. I am incredibly proud of him and for him.”
Fritz plans to attend Oklahoma City University to double-major in Musical Theatre and Vocal Performance, and one day, head back to New York for a career on Broadway.