MADISON, Wis. – The winners of the eighth annual The National High School Musical Theatre Awards (NHSMTA/Jimmy™ Awards) were determined and announced last night, Monday, June 27, at the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway in New York, NY. Kailey Boyle from Middleton High School was one of six finalists to receive a $2,500 scholarship from the Barry and Fran Weissler Foundation to put toward their future education.
“Everyone at Overture Center is so incredibly proud of our Tommy Awards participants, and ecstatic that we were able to send two representatives to New York for the Jimmy Awards,” said Overture Center President and CEO Ted DeDee. “A big congratulations goes out to Kailey Boyle for placing as a finalist and receiving a scholarship to put toward her bright academic future.”
Boyle, from Middleton High School, is the third Tommy Award representative to be named finalist at the national competition since Overture’s involvement with NHSMTA. She and Travis Ulrich from Wauwatosa East High School were the two local high school students selected to represent Overture Center’s Tommy Awards for 2016.
Other finalists this year were 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; and Marnie Quick, Gene Kelly Awards.
The Jimmy™ Award for Best Performance by an Actress and Best Performance by an Actor was presented to Josh Strobl representing The Jerry Herman Awards and Amina Faye representing The Blumey Awards. The Jimmy™ Award is named in honor of 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 be eligible for a four-year merit and a 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.
Broadway stars Gavin Creel (She Loves Me), Eden Espinosa (Wicked), Jose Llana (Rent), Michael McElroy (Big River), Howard McGillin (The Phantom of the Opera, Gigi), and Karen Olivo (In the Heights, West Side Story) served as coaches for the nominees in preparation for the ceremony.
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.
The annual Broadway-focused talent showcase featured performances by all 62 nominees and solos by select finalists. Their debut on a Broadway stage followed 9 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 enjoyed a performance of On Your Feet! including a talkback with the cast.
The 2016 National High School Musical Theatre Awards introduced a new format for the program in order to accommodate more regional awards programs and provide opportunities for more students to experience Broadway and New York City. This year there were 62 students representing 31 programs, compared to last year’s 52 students representing 26 programs.
The students auditioned before a panel of judges earlier in the week, singing two prepared songs and participating in a dance call. Based on the audition results, the students were split into two groups: The Medley Group and The Production Group, leading up to when all students performed together in the opening and closing numbers on the Minskoff stage. The groups worked together throughout the week and received the same amount of coaching. All nominees were eligible for the scholarships and awards.
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 Tony® Award-winning host Zachary Levi, presenters included: Drew Gehling (currently starring in Waitress), Lena Hall (2014 Tony Award–winner for Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Zainab Jah (most recently in Eclipsed), Marc Kudisch (three-time Tony Award-nominee) and Bianca Marroquin (returning to Broadway’s Chicago in July).
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.
This year, for the first time ever, the pre-event red carpet and the awards presentation were streamed live on Facebook via the National High School Musical Theatre Awards Facebook page, Facebook.com/NHSMTA.
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. Also known as The Jimmy™ Awards, in honor of legendary Broadway producer/theatre owner James M. Nederlander, the NHSMTA is partnered with NYU Tisch School of the Arts and supported by many leading theatre industry organizations. More information about the National High School Musical Theatre Awards can be found at NHSMTA.COM.
JIMMYS BY THE NUMBERS:
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, home of The Lion King
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
Overture Center’s Tommy Awards are funded in part by American Girl’s Fund for Children, American Family Insurance, A. Paul Jones Charitable Trust, Madison Community Foundation, Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts, Sara and Eliot Butler, Sandy and Jun Lee, and contributions to Overture Center for the Arts. Additional support from Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Television.
About Overture Center for the Arts
Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, Wisconsin features seven state-of-the-art performance spaces and five galleries where national and international touring artists, ten resident companies, and hundreds of local artists engage nearly half a million people in educational and artistic experiences each year. OvertureCenter.org