Gene Kelly Awards

Recognizing Student Achievements in Musical Theater

Pittsburgh CLO’s 29th Annual Gene Kelly Awards will be held on May 25, 2019 at 7:30pm at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts.

Gene Kelly Awards LogoThe Gene Kelly Awards for Excellence in High School Musical Theater were launched in 1991 as a means to recognize and encourage student achievement and to focus the attention of the community and school districts on the importance of musical theater and arts education.

Patterned after Broadway’s Tony® Awards, this event celebrates the power of the Arts to significantly improve all areas of education! High school theater programs are the real winners as show business veterans and community celebrities help to spread the word about the achievements of high school students and their school’s musical theater programs. Over the past 20 years, Gene Kelly Award winners have gone on to Broadway and Hollywood careers.

The 2019 Best Actor & Best Actress winners will travel to New York City to represent Pittsburgh in the Jimmy Awards on June 24, 2019. 

The Gene Kelly Awards are presented by Pittsburgh CLO, with additional support provided by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, PNC Bank, American Eagle Outfitters, Virginia S. Nicklas and the CLO Ambassadors. Deloitte is the official auditor for the Gene Kelly Awards.

Gene Kelly Awards Links

For more information about the Gene Kelly Awards, contact 412-281-2234 or

Frequently Asked Questions for Teachers

Participation and Pre-show

Q: What budget category is my school in, and why?

A: Your school will be assigned budget level 1, 2 or 3 in accordance with how it compares with the expenditures of the other schools, as stated on the production budget form. The number of schools in each budget level varies by each year.

Q: May we change budget categories?

A: You may not change budget level categories or request to be placed in a specific budget level.

Q: If I turn in my ticket form and then realize that we need more tickets, what should I do?

A: If you are requesting seats to be included with the school, contact the Gene Kelly Awards Coordinator and they will try to accommodate your request, if it is possible. If you wish to purchase seats separate from the school, you will have to wait for the tickets to go on public sale.

Q: I know I am going to be late handing in a form; what should I do?

A: Contact the Awards Coordinator as soon as possible, by email at or by telephone. They will make note of your situation and try to work with you to accommodate it.

Q: I have missed a deadline for a form without realizing it, what should I do?

A: Send in the form immediately and alert the Awards Coordinator as soon as possible.


Rehearsals and Show Day

Q: Do the participating best musical nominated students need a chaperone for the rehearsal and show day?

A: Yes. Any school participating as a best musical nominee MUST have chaperones for the rehearsal, as well as the entire Gene Kelly Awards ceremony.

Q: Do the finale participants need a chaperone for the rehearsals and show day?

A: The finale participants do not need chaperones for the rehearsals or the show day, but they will be expected to remain in their designated dressing room unless otherwise notified. All finale participants MUST purchase tickets in order to watch the Awards. 

Frequently Asked Questions for Students

Participation and Pre-show

Q: Will I receive email reminders regarding information about the Gene Kelly Awards?

A: You may not receive email reminders unless it concerns a finale participant rehearsal or a best actor/actress rehearsal. Your teacher receives regular updates, and you should contact him/her directly if you have any questions.

Q: I want to purchase tickets, but not with my school. May I do this?

A: Yes, but you will have to wait for the tickets to go on public sale. We encourage all students to purchase with their schools, as tickets may sell out prior to public sale. 

Q: Can you notify me directly before contacting my school if I am nominated for an award?

A: No. It is our policy to notify only the schools.


Rehearsals and Show Day

Q: Are the rehearsals mandatory?

A: Yes. The rehearsals are mandatory. Speak with the show’s director if there are any questions or concerns.

Q: Rehearsals interfere with Graduation / a choir concert / Prom. What should I do?

A: Teachers are informed of the rehearsal schedule five months in advance. You must plan in advance if you choose to be a finale participant, as your presence is required even if it means not attending Prom. We understand it is more difficult for best actor/actress nominees, who only receive notification of their nomination in mid-May, but it is still highly recommended that you do not miss a mandatory rehearsal. If you have a scheduling conflict, contact the show's director immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions for Parents

Q: Will you call me if my son or daughter is nominated before calling the school?

A: No. Our policy is to notify only the schools.

Q: My son or daughter’s school already sent in their ticket order form, but I want another ticket. What can I do?

A: If you are requesting seats to be included with the school, you must contact the teacher and make a request through him/her. If you wish to purchase separate seats, you will have to wait for the tickets to go on public sale.We encourage participants to purchase with their schools, as tickets may sell out prior to public sale. 

General Frequently Asked Questions

Q: May I take photos or videotape the Gene Kelly Awards ceremony?

A: It is prohibited for the audience to take flash photography or videotape any portion of the ceremony inside of the theater.

Q: May we purchase a video/DVD copy of the Gene Kelly Awards ceremony?

A: Due to licensing restrictions, there is no public sale of the Gene Kelly Awards ceremony.

Q: May we purchase photographs of the Gene Kelly Awards ceremony?

A: The Pittsburgh CLO does not currently offer photos to the public.

Q: How can I order tickets to the Gene Kelly Awards?

A: We encourage participants and their families to purchase tickets with their schools, as tickets normally sell out prior to public sale. Two weeks after the nominations are announced, public sale begins. To see if any tickets are available, contact the Box Office at 412-456-6666. 

Gene Kelly Awards Scholarships

The Gene Kelly Awards is proud to offer a myriad of merit scholarships to support the students who participate in the show.  Scholarships include the Gene Kelly Awards Scholarship, the CLO Ambassador's Scholarship, the CLO Guild Scholarship and the Point Park University Scholarship.

Please check the Scholarship page for applications and eligibility requirements. 

2017 Scholarship requirements and information will be released soon.

Frequently Asked Questions

For Teachers:

Q: May I nominate two students for the same scholarship?

A: There is no longer a limit for nominating students for a scholarship award; schools may nominate ALL eligible graduating seniors. 

Q: Where is the School Nomination Form for the Ambassador Scholarship?

A: This year, the Ambassador scholarship does not require a School Nomination Form; all that is needed is a signature from the School Principal and School Contact. The Cash scholarship, however, does require it. 

Q: May I nominate one student for two different scholarships?

A: Yes, although we encourage you to offer these to two different students.

Q: Do I have to nominate a student for one of the scholarships?

A: It is not required but highly recommended that you nominate students for scholarships. This program can only potentially benefit them.

For Students:

Q: May I apply for more than one scholarship?

A: Technically, yes, but your teacher is responsible for choosing a representative to apply for each scholarship, and so you will need to speak with him/her directly. In regards to the University Scholarships, this is a separate program and you are free to apply to as many as you wish.

Q: When will I be notified about scholarships and scholarship winners?

A: Students will be notified at least two weeks before the Gene Kelly Awards ceremony.