These days, funding for the arts is often on the chopping block for schools. As many districts rely more and more on private funds, there's also a growing trend of nonprofit arts organizations funding arts education and outreach to local schools.
One such program, brings music and theater education center stage.
The Nebraska High School Theatre Awards program, now in its fourth year, supports and advocates for high school musical theatre education in Nebraska. Schools sign up to have their musical theatre productions reviewed by a team of adjudicators throughout the year, who then provide teachers with valuable feedback.
"Omaha Performing Arts has this down to a science and very scheduled. So we as teachers don't feel vunerable when we come in. We know we're going to be taken care of." David Sackschewsky, musical director at Grand Island High School says.
To support their curriculum, participating high schools are also offered free broadway master classes and in-school theatre workshops, plus tickets to touring broadway shows as they stop through Omaha.
"I've been to one master class here and I got to sing at it," student Addision Dupler said.
This stretches far past Omaha, even Lincoln. Kids from all across the state get to participate. Dupler is from Grand Island.
"I've learned so much," she said.
As far as North Platte, more than sixty schools participated in the program this year. Thursday night marks the capstone event. A showcase featuring more than 400 students from across the state. It's like the Tony awards for these kids who have fine tuned their craft, stepping out onto one of the finest stages in Omaha at the Holland Center.
"The first time I stepped out there I thought it was crazy. I haven't performed on a stage this big before," student Mitch Fisher said.