By: Tony Rastigue
The 11th annual Jimmy Awards, formally known as the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, take place in New York City on June 24, 2019 and recognize the excellence of high school musical theatre performers from across the country. Qualified students in this national program compete for awards, scholarships and opportunities to be showcased for Broadway casting. The awards are named after legendary Broadway theatre owner and producer, James M. Nederlander, whose production company, The Nederlander Producing Company, has presented countless Broadway shows in many major cities.
Being a dedicated performer along with being a full-time student is a challenge I would certainly find very complex. The respect I have for those that are dedicated enough to make both lifestyles possible is immeasurable. On the topic of high school commitments and performances, students are truly put to the test that can play a big role in launching their Broadway career. Many Jimmy Award-winning students have found success as a result of this unique competition. Past Jimmy Award winners have appeared–and continue to appear–in a long list of Broadway and touring musicals including The Book of Mormon, Mean Girls, Newsies, Wicked, Les Misérables, The Color Purple, Miss Saigon, Hadestown and more!
The Jimmy Awards recognize talent from 1700 high school performing arts programs which represent more than 100,000 students. For the annual final competition in late June, the best actress and actor winners of local competitions are invited to compete. This is typically 80 students and the 2019 participants arrived in New York City last week for a full schedule of rehearsals, master classes, special events and time with Broadway mentors–all of which leads up to tonight’s big event where a panel of industry experts will chose overall Best Actor and Best Actress winners. As the nominees prepare for the culmination of years of hard work tonight, I wish them the best of luck and hope that they continue to find success on the stage.
For more information about the 2019 Jimmy Awards (featuring host Ben Platt) and to view live broadcasts on June 24, 2019 at 7:30 p.m., visit https://www.jimmyawards.com/live/