The Relentless Musical Award

There are presently no open calls for applications.

The American Playwriting Foundation is accepting applications for The 2022 Relentless Musical Award in honor of Adam Schlesinger.  The creators of the winning submission will receive $65,000, the largest prize in American theater presented to an unproduced musical.

The Relentless Award, founded in honor of Philip Seymour Hoffman, places special emphasis on works that are fearless in their choice of subject matter, featuring passionate voices that are relentlessly truthful. The winning musical, along with finalists and semifinalists, will also receive development opportunities through a series of staged readings at Theatre Row as well as at some of the top regional theaters in the country.

The Relentless Musical Award will honor works that:

  • Are challenging.
  • Exhibit fearlessness.
  • Exude passion.
  • Are relentlessly truthful.

All submitted materials will be evaluated anonymously. Even the final judges will have no knowledge of the identity, gender or race of a work’s creators. Our criteria for submission casts a wide net of eligibility, but we especially encourage submissions by first-time composers, lyricists, and book writers of all identities. Our goal is to discover and promote new works from people whose voices have been historically under- or un-represented in musical theatre.

Eligibility/Criteria for Submission

  • Only full-length works of musical theatre are eligible for the 2022 Relentless Musical Award.
  • The work must be unproduced and cannot have had a previous professional production or a current production commitment.
  • Applications are limited to shows by writers with United States citizenship, those who possess a green card, or currently reside in the United States and have lived here for at least four (4) years.
  • Musicals that utilize extant music not written by the applicant(s) (e.g. “jukebox musicals” or musicals with parody lyrics) are ineligible.
  • Writers must be at least 18 years old* (*except in NE and AL where writers must be 19 years old and MS where writers must be 21 years old)
  • Works may be based on underlying material, in which case proof of authorization or right to adapt the underlying material must be uploaded with the application if it is not in the public domain.
  • We welcome and encourage musicals that include non-English languages, but in recognizing the current limitations of our reading committees, request that an English translation be included for any non-English text.
  • Writers and composers who have had a show produced on Broadway or the West End are ineligible.
  • Musicals considered to be “Theatre for a Young Audience” are ineligible.
  • Shows may only be submitted for consideration ONCE; if submitted for the 2022 Relentless Musical Award, the show will be ineligible for future Relentless Musical Awards.


As all work will be evaluated anonymously; writer/composer names and personal information should be removed from all documents and file names.

  • “Heart of the Book” – A script excerpt containing three consecutive scenes or approximately 20-25 consecutive pages; this excerpt should also contain at least one song that is recorded and uploaded as part of the score excerpt.
  • “Heart of the Score” - Five songs that represent the score in its entirety; at least one of these songs should be a part of the script excerpt.
  • Full Script.
  • All Songs – all the songs that have been written/recorded, representing at least 50% of the planned score; these should include the five songs uploaded as the “Heart of the Score”.
  • Artistic Statement – This should be no longer than a page. Though the musical should be able to stand alone, this document will give the creators an opportunity to share with the readers/Judges anything about the project that they believe is vital to understanding the work and where they think their project is regarding its stage of development. For instance, if the first half of the work is considered finished, yet the second half is a first draft, this information would help us give you the fairest evaluation process.  This should include the artists’ conception/aim for the finished show and where the writer(s) think they are in their process.
  • All materials should be uploaded electronically along with the application form information.
  • All score materials should be uploaded in the form of music/audio files. PDFs of sheet music will not be accepted.

Additional information and Frequently Asked Questions are available at  

If you have further questions about materials or a work's eligibility, please email

The Relentless Musical Award