TODAY | September 08, 2012
>>> okay, so, it is part competition, part performance and a whole lot of drama. the best of america's young talent comes to new york city to go head to head for the national high school theater awards. so, we went behind the scenes to see how these students stacked up.
>> from memphis, tennessee --
>> to memphis on broadway , hello, new york!
>> reporter: meet america's top high school performers.
>> yes! i'm going to broadway !
>> reporter: 60 students chosen from more than 50,000 hopefuls, all to take part in a grueling, five-day musical theater boot camp and competition.
>> whoo! nyc, baby.
>> reporter: at the end, they'll put on a broadway show .
>> when the kids come here, they hit the ground running. it's like an indoor marathon. they're working mornings, noon and night. welcome, everybody. you made it! [ cheers and applause ]
>> i'm kisha, i'm the choreographer. as soon as we're done with this little talk tonight , we start rehearsing. you will learn the vocals for the opening and closing tonight.
>> reporter: it's their first night and rehearsals are already under way. they only have two hours to learn the opening number.
>> on the inside and then you wrap your lips around the front.
>> reporter: nerves on edge.
>> when you have such intense competition around you, it really humbles you. i'm like, and i thought i was good? it's like, are you serious? there's talent everywhere you look.
>> reporter: and when the one-on-one coaching sessions begin early the next morning with broadway 's top talent, the jitters get even worse .
>> wait, what's the starting note? i'm sorry. i got you.
>> three, two --
>> i'm sorry.
>> reporter: over the next few days, the rehearsals become more intense.
>> absolutely not even close. go back!
>> reporter: from breakdowns --
>> it's all right.
>> reporter: -- to breakthrough.
>> this is a big deal because i mean, like --
>> i'm pushing you because i know you can.
>> reporter: while all 60 are working together to put on a broadway show , only 2 will walk away with the highly coveted jimmy award for best actor and actress, receiving a $10,000 scholarship.
>> reporter: the night before their final performance, the students sing solos in front of a panel of judges.
>> from the top, are there some people we can drop down?
>> reporter: but whether they win the competition or not, this is a dream come true for everyone involved, a chance to take center stage on the great white way .
>> to find out who wins the competition, tune in to " broadway or bust" tomorrow night at 8:00 eastern time on cbs.