The winners of the eighth 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 sponsor of the Jimmys, named for famed Broadway producer James M. Nederlander, and we were elated to be part of the event.
Tony Award nominee Zachary Levi – currently starring on Broadway in She Loves Me – served as host for the ceremony, in which 62 nominees from high schools all over the country performed 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 faculty at the New Studio on Broadway, NYU Tisch School of the Arts Department of Drama. Students also attended a performance of On Your Feet! including a talkback with the cast.
After performing for a packed house at the Minskoff, those 62 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 Actress went to Amina Faye, representing The Blumey Awards in Charlotte, NC. Amina’s emotional rendition of “Your Daddy’s Son” wowed audiences in the first act, and her deeply emotional and grounded performance of “A New Life” cemented her win. Best Performance by an Actor was presented to Josh Strobl, representing The Jerry Herman Awards in Los Angeles, CA. Josh sang “It Takes Two” with energy and flair, followed by a gloriously light and controlled performance of “Maria.”
Both winners were presented with a check for $10,000 to further their education. They will be 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:
- Kailey Boyle, Tommy Awards
- Cameron Chang, The San Diego Ben Vereen Awards
- John Fredrickson, DSM High School Musical Theatre Awards
- Lauren Johnson, Nebraska High School Theatre Awards
- Devin Moore, Gene Kelly Awards
- Marnie Quick, Gene Kelly Awards
In addition, Tams-Witmark Music Library, Inc. proudly presented six Special Recognition Scholarships of $2500 each to:
- Jacob Bush, Triangle Rising Stars
- Emma Heistand, Applause Awards
- Lucas Lowry, Blue Star Awards
- Kaiden Lynn Maines, DSM H.S. Musical Theatre Awards
- Charlotte Movizzo, The Bobby G Awards
- Curtis J. Salinger, The Bobby G Awards
Additional winners included: Mark Mitrano (Best Vocalist), Cecilia Trippiedi (Best Dancer), Devon McCleskey (Best Performance in an Ensemble), Holly Payne (Rising Star), Muhammad Yunus (Spirit of the Jimmys), and Curtis J. Salinger (6-Week Pre-College Drama Summer Program Scholarship at Carnegie Mellon University)
Winners were selected by a panel of judges comprised of notable theatre professionals including Tony Award-winning producers, award-winning casting experts and industry professionals: Kent Gash, Rachel Hoffman, Alecia Parker, Tara Rubin, Nick Scandalios, and Kate Shindle. Additional judges who selected the groups in which the students performed were: Paul Canaan, Wayne Cilento, Kent Gash, Stephanie Klapper, and Cesar Rocha.
An unannounced surprise, former NHSMTA participant Eva Noblezada made an appearance and performed with the nominees. She will be reprising her critically-acclaimed London performance as Kim in the upcoming Broadway production of MISS SAIGON.
In addition to host Zachary Levi, presenters included: Drew Gehling (WAITRESS), Lena Hall (2014 Tony Award-winner for HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH), Zainab Jah (ECLIPSED), Marc Kudisch (three-time Tony Award-nominee) and Bianca Marroquin (CHICAGO).
The production was directed by Van Kaplan and choreographed by Kiesha Lalama, with musical direction and arrangements by Michael Moricz. David Dabbin was Production Group Music Director.
Broadway stars Gavin Creel (SHE LOVES ME), Eden Espinosa (WICKED), Jose Llana (RENT), Michael McElroy (BIG RIVER), Howard McGillin (THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA), and Karen Olivo (IN THE HEIGHTS) served as coaches for the nominees in preparation for the ceremony.
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
0 – Number of Mexican actresses to play the role of Roxie Hart in CHICAGO on Broadway before presenter Bianca Marroquin
1 – Number of nominees who are certified lifeguards
2 – Number of shows host Zachary Levi has starred in on Broadway
3 – Record number of times nominee (2015 & 2016 finalist) Marnie Quick has participated in the program
4 – Number of nominees who took their first airplane trip to attend the participate in the program
6 – Number of years the Jimmy Awards have taken place at the Minskoff Theatre
8 – Number of years ago the Jimmy Awards were created
9 – Number of days nominees have to prepare for their final performance
13 – Number of months presenter 2014 Tony Award-winner Lena Hall played the role of Yitzhak on Broadway in HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH
15 – Number of nominees in New York City for the first time
16 – Number of nominees that participate in sports
21 – Number of states that the nominees represent
21 – Number of kids from current Broadway shows in the audience
25 – Number of nominees that play musical instruments
43 – Number of different shows these students were nominated for
62 – Number of nominees for this year’s Jimmy Awards
675+ – Number of productions that the 62 nominees have been in
50,000 – Estimated number of students nationwide who participated in qualifying shows from which the winners come to New York for the National High School Musical Theatre Awards
$1,000,000+ – amount of funding awarded to students throughout the 8 years of the Jimmy Awards
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.
Key League programs and resources include:
- Kids’ Night on Broadway
- The National High School Musical Theatre Awards
- Stars in the Alley
- Internet Broadway Database
- Commercial Theater Institute (with Theatre Development Fund)
- TheatreAccessNYC (co-produced with TDF)
For more information visit BroadwayLeague.com.