The winners of the ninth annual National High School Musical Theatre Awards (The Jimmy™ Awards) were selected and announced last night in a thrilling ceremony at the Minskoff Theatre. Tams-Witmark is a proud Superstar Sponsor of the Jimmys, named for the late Broadway producer James M. Nederlander.
Presented by The Broadway League, The Jimmy Awards were hosted by 23-year-old Ben Platt, who recently won the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for his role in DEAR EVAN HANSEN. Seventy-four nominees from high schools all over the country participated, performing solos and group numbers from classic Broadway musicals.
Before the ceremony, the teen performers spent nine days of rehearsals and private coaching with theater professionals, including coaching from Broadway’s Randy Graff, Adam Kantor, Michael McElroy, and Howard McGillin.
After performing for a sold-out house at the Minskoff, those 74 nominees were whittled down to eight finalists, who each performed a full-length solo. Based on those performances, the winners were selected.
The award for Best Performance by an Actor went to Tony Moreno, representing The Applause Awards in Orlando, Florida. In the first act, Tony played Don Quixote/Cervantes from MAN OF LA MANCHA, singing a beautifully warm and inspiring rendition of “The Impossible Dream.” Tony’s second performance from THE BURNT PART BOYS, showing off his glorious vocal strength and emotional connection to the material, sealed his victory. Best Performance by an Actress went to Sofia Deler, also representing The Applause Awards. Sophia sang “I’m Not Afraid of Anything” with great strength and sophistication, tempered with a heartbreaking vulnerability. In the second act, she wowed the audience with a full-throated and heart-stopping performance of “She Used To Be Mine” from WAITRESS.
Both winners were presented with a check for $10,000 to further their education. They are also eligible for a four-year merit and a need-based scholarship to attend the New Studio on Broadway.
The six finalists also received a $2,500 scholarship toward their future education from the Barry and Fran Weissler Foundation. They are:
- Sam Primack (Tempe, AZ)
- Nathan Keffer (Nashville, TN)
- Antonio Cipriano (East Lansing, MI)
- Jasmine Rogers (Houston, TX)
- Hatty King (Nashville, TN)
- Maggie Gidden (La Mirada, CA)
In addition, Tams-Witmark proudly presented six Special Recognition Scholarships of $2500 each to:
- Seamus Foley (Des Moines, IA)
- Eric Gaydon (San Jose, CA)
- Levi Hopkins (Logan, UT)
- Sophia Rose Franklin (Tucson, AZ)
- Jessica Lewis (Logan, UT)
- Liz Valentin (Appleton, WI)
Additional winners included: Ian Hayes (Best Performance in an Ensemble), Sky Frank (Rising Star), Liz Valentin (Spirit of the Jimmys), Anna Hertel (Best Dancer), and Sam Primack (Carnegie Mellon Pre-College Scholarship).
This year a new award was given: The Inspiring Educator Award went to Brendan Jennings (Burbank, CA) and Larry Robinson (Monroe, NC), the instructors of last year’s winners, Amina Faye and Josh Strobl.
Winners were selected by a panel of judges comprised of notable theatre professionals including NYU Tisch School of the Arts’ New Studio Founding Director Kent Gash, Tony nominee Montego Glover, producers Kevin McCollum and Alecia Parker, general manager Charlotte Wilcox, and casting directors Rachel Hoffman, Tara Rubin, and Bernard Telsey.
The production was directed by Van Kaplan and choreographed by Kiesha Lalama, with musical direction and arrangements by Michael Moricz.
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. More information about the National High School Musical Theatre Awards can be found at nhsmta.com.
The Jimmys are produced in conjunction with THE BROADWAY LEAGUE. 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 annually co-presents the Antoinette Perry “Tony” Awards, one of the most coveted awards in the entertainment industry.
For more information visit BroadwayLeague.com.