Local students Kelly Whitlow and Noah Henry to perform in the Jimmy Awards® virtual ceremony on July 15

Photo of Spotlight winners Kelly & Noah

Photo of Spotlight winners Kelly & Noah

Our 2021 Spotlight Awards have come to an end, and we have two winners to represent Middle Tennessee in the 2021 Jimmy Awards®! Kelly Whitlow of Ravenwood High School and Noah Henry of Hillsboro High School prepared for the Jimmy Awards ceremony by participating in 12 days of theater intensive workshops, rehearsals, and coaching sessions virtually from June 20- July 1.

Kelly and Noah have been awarded Outstanding Lead Actress and Outstanding Lead Actor honors as part of the 2020-21 Nashville High School Musical Theater Awards, or Spotlight Awards. They join 70 student nominees from across the country in preparing for a one-night-only talent showcase on July 15. The Jimmy Awards® program concludes with two talented students presented with the 2021 Best Performance by an Actress and Best Performance by an Actor awards, with a total of 20 awards and scholarships available to participants. Winners will be selected by a panel of Broadway industry experts.

Whitlow and Henry were joined by a student reporter, Brityn Ramsey of John Overton High School. Ramsey took over the Spotlight Awards Instagram to document the two weeks of Jimmy Awards® training.  The Jimmy Awards® invites select student reporters from participating Regional Awards Programs to cover Jimmy Awards® events through social media on both the official Jimmy Awards® channels and personal channels. Student Reporters work directly with the Jimmy Awards® Digital team, which allows them to receive an insider look at the digital marketing strategy of Jimmy Awards® coverage while gaining insight into the field as a whole.


“Winning the Spotlight Awards has built my confidence as a performer and as a person. The support I have received throughout this process has inspired me and helped me continue to grow. It has also made me realize how much talent I’m surrounded by in the Nashville area.” – Kelly Whitlow

Photo of 2021 Spotlight Winners and Student Reporter

(From left to right) Kelly Whitlow, Brityn Ramsey, Noah Henry


“I’m really excited about getting a fresh new perspective on my performance from people who don’t know me, to help me learn my artistic expression and creative range.” – Noah Henry


Founded in 2009, the mission of the Jimmy Awards®/National High School Musical Theatre Awards® is to raise the profile of musical theatre in schools, recognize dedicated teachers, and inspire the next generation of performers and enthusiasts. Presented by the Broadway League Foundation, the program has been able to award more than $4 million in educational scholarships, and many past student participants have appeared in leading or supporting roles in Broadway, Touring, and West End productions.

Additional 2020-21 Spotlight Award honorees include Brooke Colebank of Nolensville High School for the Spirit of Spotlight Award, Gracie Purkey of Goodpasture Christian School for Outstanding Choreography, and Kate Henry of Hillsboro High School for Outstanding Design Concept.

Forty-five high schools in Middle Tennessee participated in the 2020-21 Spotlight Awards program, presented in partnership by Tennessee Performing Arts Center and Lipscomb University’s George Shinn College of Entertainment & the Arts.

Along with their win, Whitlow and Henry received scholarships presented by KraftCPA’s for winning top honors in this year’s Spotlight Awards program.

You can cheer on Kelly and Noah in this year’s Jimmy Awards® broadcast this evening online at JimmyAwards.com at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time.

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