And the Jimmy Award goes to…

80 nominees from 24 states pose pre-show at the Minskoff Theatre in New York.

80 nominees from 24 states pose pre-show at the Minskoff Theatre in New York. Photo by Henry McGee/NHSMTA

The coveted awards for Best Performance by an Actress and Best Performance by an Actor were presented to Reneé Rapp, The Blumey Awards (Charlotte, NC) and Andrew Barth Feldman, The Roger Rees Awards for Excellence in Student Performance (New York, NY) at the 10th Annual Jimmy Awards last night at the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway.

This life-changing event was hosted by Tony Award winner Laura Benanti and presented by the Broadway League Foundation. The Jimmy Awards are named in honor of the late James M. Nederlander, Chairman of Nederlander Producing Company of America. Both winners were presented with a check for $10,000 to further their education. They will also be eligible for a four-year merit and need-based scholarship to attend the New Studio on Broadway, NYU Tisch School of the Arts Department of Drama, contingent upon acceptance into the program.

Among the 80 high school performers from 24 states participating and performing, were Tennessee’s own Tiyanna Gentry of Hillsboro High School and Sevon Askew of Central Magnet High School, who were named Best Actress and Best Actor at the 2018 Spotlight Awards ceremony on May 12. The two participated in workshops and rehearsals and performed in medleys on a Broadway stage.

The 5th Nashville High School Musical Theatre Awards, or Spotlight Awards, were created by Mike Fernandez, Dean of Lipscomb University’s George Shinn College of Entertainment & the Arts, to recognize excellence in local high school theatre and are now presented in partnership with Tennessee Performing Arts Center.

Six Jimmy Awards finalists each received a $3,000 scholarship toward their future education from BNY Mellon.

  • Sabrina Astle, Spirit of the MACY Awards (La Mirada, CA)
  • Emily Escobar, Broadway Star of the Future Awards (Tampa, FL)
  • Darian Goulding, Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards (Chicago, IL)
  • J.R. Heckman, Playhouse Square Dazzle Awards (Cleveland, OH)
  • Marisa Ines Moenho, Lucie Arnaz Awards (Palm Springs, CA)
  • Riley Thad Young, The Orpheum High School Musical Theatre Awards (Memphis, TN)

Additional awards were presented and winners received a $2,000 scholarship each:

 Best Dancer, presented by The Shubert Organization

  • John Zamborsky, Applause Awards (Orlando, FL)

Rising Star, presented by The John Gore Organization

  • Halle Surgil, Mancini Awards (Midland, PA)

 Best Performance in an Ensemble, presented by Disney Theatrical Group

  • Hannah Kanter, The Jerry Herman Awards (Los Angeles, CA)

Special Recognition Scholarships, presented by BWF Foundation, Once Upon A Time Productions and Pantages Presidents Club

  • Zach Fogel, Spirit of the MACY Awards (La Mirada, CA)
  • Veronica Ballejos, The Rita Moreno Awards (San Jose, CA)
  • Elisha Horne, The Bobby G Awards (Denver, CO)
  • Amelia Beckham, The Orpheum High School Musical Theatre Awards (Memphis, TN)
  • Noah Tobery, Mancini Awards (Midland, PA)
  • Britta Rae Cowan, Spotlight Education (Minneapolis, MN)

 Spirit of the Jimmys, presented by Music Theatre International

(This $2,000 cash scholarship will be split between the two nominees who tied for the award)

  • Daniel Kohanbash, The Jerry Herman Awards (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Garrett Morris, Tommy Tune Awards (Houston, TX)

 6 Week Pre-College Drama Summer Program Scholarship, presented by Carnegie Mellon University

  • Andrew Barth Feldman, The Roger Rees Awards (New York, NY)
Tony winner and host Laura Benanti (center) with 2018 Jimmy Award winners Reneé Rapp and Andrew Barth Feldman.

Tony winner and host Laura Benanti (center) with 2018 Jimmy Award winners Reneé Rapp and Andrew Barth Feldman. Photo by Henry McGee/NHSMTA.

During the ceremony, Janine Papin (Winter Park, FL) and Nadine Love (Orlando, FL) received the INSPIRING TEACHER AWARD presented by WELLS FARGO for the encouragement and inspiration that led their students to win the 2017 Jimmy Awards for Best Performance by an Actress and Best Performance by an Actor.

Tony Award winner Ari’el Stachel (The Band’s Visit) presented the Week in Review Video. Jimmy Awards alumni Kylie Selig (Mean Girls), Jai’Len Christine Li Josey (SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical), and Nathan Salstone (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two) also made a special appearance at the ceremony. The stars of the Disney Channel Original Movie “Freaky Friday” Heidi Blickenstaff and Cozi Zuehlsdorff introduced the production number, a tribute to Disney Theatrical Productions.

Judges were comprised of notable theatre professionals including Tony Award-winning producers, award-winning casting experts and industry professionals. The evening of the performance, winners were selected by Dawn-Elin Fraser, Alecia Parker, Marc Platt, Tara Rubin, Nick Scandalios, Thomas Schumacher, Bernard Telsey, and Charlotte Wilcox. Preliminary judges working at NYU the week before the ceremony included Gabriel Barre, Jeff Calhoun, Wayne Cilento, Victoria Clark, Kent Gash, and Stephanie Klapper.

Monday’s production was directed by Van Kaplan and choreographed by Kiesha Lalama. Michael Moricz was the musical arranger and conductor, and Mary Jane Brennan was the writer. All four have been with the Jimmy Awards for all 10 years.

The annual Broadway-focused talent showcase featured performances by all 80 nominees and solos by select finalists. Their debut on a Broadway stage followed eight days of rehearsals and private coaching with faculty at the New Studio on Broadway, NYU Tisch School of the Arts Department of Drama and other professionals. Students also attended a performance of Dear Evan Hansen, including a talkback with the cast.

Student performers qualify to compete in the national program by winning top honors at regional high school musical theatre awards competitions presented by Broadway League member performing arts centers. Over 1,500 high schools and 100,000 students participate in these annual events. Since the inception of the National High School Musical Theatre Awards (NHSMTA) program in 2009, participating students have earned over $2,000,000 in university and conservatory scholarships. Several student participants have already been cast in Broadway, Touring and West End productions.

The NHSMTA are presented by the Broadway League Foundation. Founded in 2009 by Nederlander Alliances LLC, Pittsburgh CLO, and Broadway Education Alliance (BEA), NHSMTA’s mission is to raise the profile of musical theatre in schools, recognize dedicated teachers and inspire the next generation of performers and enthusiasts. The NHSMTA program is supported by many leading theatre industry organizations. More information about the National High School Musical Theatre Awards program can be found at JimmyAwards.com.


JIMMYS BY THE NUMBERS:

1 – Number of Tony Awards host Laura Benanti has won

5 – Number of Tony Award nominations host Laura Benanti has received

6 – Number of nominations for performances from Into the Woods, the most performed show among the nominees

8 – Number of nominees returning to the Jimmy Awards for a second year

10 – Number of Jimmy Awards ceremonies

15 – Age of the youngest nominees

17 – Number of nominees visiting New York City for the first time

19 – Number of nominees that had never before seen a Broadway show in New York City

24 – Number of states that the nominees represent

26 – Number of nominees who play sports

27 – Number of Tony nominations among the judges and coaches

28 – Number of Jimmy Award alumni in the audience

48 – Number of different shows these students were nominated for

80 – Number of nominees for this year’s Jimmy Awards

550 – Number of nominees who have participated in the national competition in New York City

800+ – Number of productions that the 80 nominees have performed in

1,500+ – Number of high schools that participate in regional high school musical theatre awards competitions

100,000+ – Estimated number of students nationwide who participated in qualifying shows from which the winners come to New York for the Jimmy Awards

$2,000,000+ – Scholarships earned by nominees throughout the ten years of the Jimmy Awards

 

THE BROADWAY LEAGUE (Charlotte St. Martin, President), founded in 1930, is the national trade association for the Broadway industry. The League’s 700-plus members include theatre owners and operators, producers, presenters, and general managers who present in nearly 200 markets in North America. Each year, League members bring Broadway to nearly 30 million people in New York and on tour across the U.S. and Canada. The Broadway League has recently added a new category for International membership to collaborate with professionals from around the world who produce and present Broadway quality theatre. The Broadway League annually co-presents the Antoinette Perry “Tony” Awards®, one of the most coveted awards in the entertainment industry.

For more information visit BroadwayLeague.com, or follow @BroadwayLeague on Twitter and visit us at Facebook.com/BroadwayLeague.

This year, the entire show was streamed live on Facebook via the Jimmy Awards Facebook page with support from 2017 Tony Award winning Best Musical Dear Evan Hansen, Wells Fargo, and video and technology partner Apples & Oranges Arts. The ceremony is still available for viewing for a limited time… so go watch it.