School is back in session, which only means one thing here at Broadway.com: It’s time for a new batch of awesome student productions! While drama teachers all over the country are auditioning their future Jean Valjeans and Harold Hills, we’ve scoured YouTube for our top five favorite student performances. From an awe-inspiring production of The Phantom of the Opera to a rendition of “I’ll Cover You” from Rent that’ll have you reaching for a tissue (or if you’re like us, the whole box), click below to see these five amazing performances. And remember their names—we might see them on Broadway in a few years!
BEST OVERALL PRODUCTION
This mounting of Les Miserables at Royal Grammar School in Wycombe, England has it all—gorgeous lighting, phenomenal costumes, and a talented ensemble cast that carries this challenging marathon of a show with ease. Check out the full show, starring Jonah Halton as Jean Valjean—his gorgeous rendition of “Bring Him Home” would make even Colm Wilkinson cry.
BEST MALE SOLOIST
Speaking of crying, we’re still sniffling after watching the fantastic Ivan Pena sing this absolutely gorgeous rendition of “I’ll Cover You” from the California Youth Conservatory production of Rent. And if you loved this, you’ve gotta see him play Melchior in Spring Awakening!
BEST FEMALE SOLOIST
We never thought anyone could fill Jennifer Holliday’s shoes, but Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts' Tiffany Mann sure comes close! Check out her emotional take on the Dreamgirls hit “And I Am Telling You,” and we dare you to walk out on her! She’s staying! And you, and you, and you, you’re gonna love her!
THE “WAIT, THIS ISN’T BROADWAY?!” AWARD
Watch out, Ramin Karimloo. Um, seriously. This Glenbrook High School production of The Phantom of the Opera in Northbrook, IL, stars Nathan Salstone as the Phantom, and he’s one of the best we’ve ever heard. Katherine Loiselle as Christine sounds phenomenal, too—and can we talk about the set? (Honorable mention to the Grand Ledge High School production of Phantom, featuring a bafflingly good set that looks exactly like the Broadway production.)
We need a nap after watching the energetic Anything Goes ensemble tap their hearts out in this stellar Howell High School production in Howell, NJ. Amanda Paige Lefkowitz is a phenomenal Reno Sweeney, the costumes are adorable, and we hope the entire crew got a giant standing ovation after this impressive performance.