The Brightest High School Theatres in the Country - Northwest School of the Arts

Chris Peterson

Every actor, director, designer, stage manager started somewhere. For many of us, it was in high school. Every year we see thousands upon thousands of future theatre professionals start their journeys on various high schools stage across the country. 

So here at OnStage, every week, we want to honor high school theatre programs all over the country that are making the performing arts, a priority within their curriculum, not to mention putting on some fantastic productions. 

If you know a high school in your area that is doing an incredible job of laying the foundation for future theatre professionals, let us know by emailing,


Northwest School of the Arts - Charlotte, NC 

Imagine a school where the magic never ceases to exist in its high school theatre program, and you would have just perfectly described Northwest School of the Arts.

I wish I could take credit for that fantastic line, but that came from an enthusiastic supporter of NWSA. Which only goes to show the incredible work this school is doing to foster interest in performing arts. 

At NWSA, students can study arts concentrations such as Music (Instrumental and Vocal), Piano, Dance, Theater, Costume Design and the Visual Arts. Here are some more fantastic things we've learned about this school. 

The magic starts with Bonnie Fraker, Chair of the Performing Arts Department. An Associate Producer of three Broadway shows, Producer/AD of more than 300 nationally televised commercials, and 24-year member of the Directors' Guild of America as well as Corey Mitchell, a 20-year teacher who leads the musical theater program at Northwest School of the Arts, who has won the first Tony Award for Excellence in Theatre Education.

Meet NWSA alum Eva Noblezada, an 18-year-old actress who was plucked from the National High School Musical Theatre Awards and now stars as the tragic heroine Kim in the London revival of Miss Saigon.  Much like Saigon's original, Tony Award-winning leading lady, Lea Salonga, Noblezada landed the role of Kim on raw talent and leads a company of a major musical at 18 years old. She will be a part of the production that is moving to Broadway in 2016. 

And speaking of awards, their recent production of “Shrek the Musical” took home nine of the 12 top prizes at the annual Blumenthal Performing Arts High School Musical Theater Awards, including best musical and best actor and actress.

With the highest graduation rate in the Charlotte area, for a 4 year high school, their students are going off to some fantastic college programs and beyond. 

There is so much to be impressed with at NWSA, but most of all, the character of the students themselves, as demonstrated by the video below. 

From all of us here at OnStage, our deepest congratulations to the students and staff at Northwest School of the Arts and best wishes on your upcoming production of In the Heights!