|Location||New York City|
|Presented by||The Broadway League|
Nederlander Alliances, LLC
|Currently held by|
The National High School Musical Theatre Awards, more commonly known as the Jimmy Awards, are awards given annually to recognize musical theatre performances by high school students in the United States. Two main awards are given each year, Best Performance by an Actress and Best Performance by an Actor.
Performers qualify as nominees by winning a regional competition in one of approximately 40 participating theatres across the country. Nominees travel to New York City to perform at a talent showcase held on Broadway. Winners and finalists receive a scholarship (in 2019, winners received $25,000 scholarships). Winners and nominees have often gone on to significant careers in musical theatre, such as Eva Noblezada and Reneé Rapp, who went on to starring roles in Broadway productions. The Jimmys have been described by the New York Times as "The Tonys, for teenagers".
The Jimmy Awards were inspired by the Gene Kelly Awards, an award given by the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera since 1991, honoring musical theatre productions put on by high schools in the Pittsburgh area. Van Kaplan, the executive producer of the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, pitched the idea of creating a nation-wide version of the awards to the Nederlander Organization. The two organizations founded the new award, naming it after the Broadway producer and theatre owner James ("Jimmy") M. Nederlander. The first Jimmy Awards were held in 2009 at NYU's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, with 32 contestants from 16 regions. The 2010 awards were held at the Marquis Theatre, with all subsequent shows held at the Minskoff Theatre.
The awards became a success, in part due to growing popularity online of videos of performances from the award show (particularly the show's signature medleys). In 2012, PBS released a three-part documentary series, Broadway Or Bust, following the nominees of the Jimmy Awards that year. In 2014, The Broadway League Foundation (the charitable arm of The Broadway League, which produces the Tony Awards) took over the management of the Jimmy awards. The number of participating regional theatres has increased over time, reaching a high of 43 regional competitions (and 86 nominees) in 2019.
Students qualify for the Jimmys based on a role played in a high school musical production that year. The role must be significant (for example, the character must perform at least one solo).
Approximately 40 theatres belonging to the Broadway League hold "Regional Awards Programs" (RAPs), each of which selects two winners for the region (a Best Actor, and Best Actress) who then become Jimmy Award nominees. The RAP selects candidates by reviewing high school musical productions. Selected candidates perform at an RAP award ceremony (which must be a "full-scale public event" with at least 100 attendees), performing in the same role they played in their high school production.
The Jimmy Award nominees travel to New York City for a week in June, culminating in a live show in which the winners are determined. During the week, the nominees rehearse their performances for the award show and receive coaching from industry professionals. The show is directed is directed by Van Kaplan and choreographed by Kiesha Lalama.
The show begins with an opening number (typically a "mega-mix of contemporary Broadway hits") involving all nominees, followed by a series of "showcase medleys", in which several nominees appear in costume in the role they performed in their high school's musical, each in turn singing a short solo, while the remaining performers act as backup singers and dancers. These medleys have gained a cult following, with fans appreciating the crossover between disparate popular musicals. Since 2016, due to an increasing number of nominees and time limitations, only a portion of nominees have participated in showcase medleys, with the remainder instead performing in a group number. The medleys are arranged and conducted by musical director Michael Moricz.
During an intermission, a panel of experts selects about eight finalists. During the show's second half, the finalists each perform a solo, and the winners are announced. In addition to the main awards of Best Performance by an Actress and Best Performance by an Actor, other awards are given out with smaller prizes. In 2019, awards were given for Best Dancer, Rising Star, Best Performance in an Ensemble, and Spirit of the Jimmys, each associated with a $2,000 scholarship.
Winners and finalists
- Hershberg, Marc. "Jimmy Awards Celebrate First Decade". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-08-29.
- Hetrick, Adam (July 1, 2009). "Young Performers Wine and Mark Are Winners of Inaugural Jimmy Awards". Playbill.com.
- Rogers, Dean (February 24, 2015). "Stephen Mark". THe Rogers Revue.
- Mellen, Greg (February 3, 2016). "Broadway debut just the start for Huntington Beach actor". The Orange County Register.
- McPhee, Ryan (July 27, 2017). "Mean Girls Musical Finds Its Plastics in Taylor Louderman and Ashley Park; Additional Casting Announced". Playbill.com.
- Rawson, Christopher (June 30, 2010). "Broadway's Jimmys honor high school performers; Two Pittsburgh students among 44 chosen nationwide". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Pousner, Howard (August 4, 2010). "Q&A with actress Alexandria Payne: 'I really have big dreams'". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- Behrens, Tom (September 23, 2010). "Episcopal High grad adds to a growing list of theatrical awards". The Houston Chronicle.
- Kennedy, Mark (September 4, 2014). "'Newsies' tour prepares for a nationwide tour led by a Pittsburgh-area rising star". US News and World Report.
- Gans, Andrew (October 10, 2018). "Corbin Bleu and More Will Join Kelli O'Hara and Will Chase in Broadway's 'Kiss Me, Kate'". Playbill.
- Turpin, Craig (May 4, 2016). "Disney's Liv and Maddie stars perform at N.J. balloon festival". NJ.com.
- Wagmeister, Elizabeth (January 4, 2016). "TV News Roundup: Victoria Justice to Star in Fox's 'Rocky Horror' Special & More". Variety.
- "Heathers Star Ryan McCartan Makes Broadway Debut in Wicked". Playbill. Retrieved 2018-09-28.
- "Broadway or Bust". Northwestern. Summer 2013.
- Barnard, Christopher (June 9, 2017). "Meet Eva Noblezada, the 21-Year-Old Competing for a Tony Award Against Veterans Bette Midler and Patti LuPone". W Magazine.
- McPhee, Ryan (January 7, 2016). "Eva Noblezada Set for West End's Les Miserables After Miss Saigon; Danielle Hope & More Also on Board". Broadway.com.
- "Hadestown: National Theatre". National Theatre.
- "Full Cast Announced for HADESTOWN on Broadway; Rehearsals Begin Today!". Broadway World. February 11, 2019.
- James, Théoden (May 2, 2017). "Former Northwest School of the Arts student is now up against Bette Midler for a Tony Award". The Charlotte Observer.
- "Hadestown: National Theatre". National Theatre.
- McPhee, Ryan (2019-04-30). "2019 Tony Award Nominations: Hadestown and Ain't Too Proud Lead the Pack". Playbill. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
- Levitt, Hayley (July 1, 2014). "Sixth Annual Jimmy Awards Announces Its Victors". Theater Mania.
- Kennedy, Mark (July 1, 2014). "Buffalo Grove teen wins National High School Musical Theater Award". Daily Herald.
- Sabin, Samantha (July 4, 2014). "Charlotte teen Mekhai Lee recognized at National High School Musical Theater Awards". The Charlotte Observer.
- Janssen, Heide (July 1, 2015). "Move over George Clooney: Tustin teen, a recent Orange Lutheran grad, named best high school actor in the U.S." Orange County Register.
- Dziemianowicz, Joe (June 30, 2015). "NYC student wins National High School Musical Theatre Awards on Broadway". New York Daily News.
- O'Brien, Larry (March 2, 2018). "BWW Review: BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL at Providence Performing Arts Center". Broadway World.
- Corrigan, Kelly (July 2, 2016). "Burroughs High graduate Josh Strobl takes top honor in Broadway musical competition". Los Angeles Times.
- Fleming, Tyler (July 15, 2016). "A Monroe teen wins big in her Broadway debut". The Charlotte Observer.
- "Spotlight: Local Teen Actors Win Jimmy Awards". WMFE.org. 14 July 2017.
- Chesney, Danielle (July 5, 2017). "Rising Star: Michigan teen represents Wharton Center in national competition". Lansing City Pulse.
- Desk, BWW News. "Photo Flash: In Rehearsal with A.R.T.'s JAGGED LITTLE PILL; Full Cast and Creative Announced". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved 2018-09-28.
- Peikert, Mark (May 23, 2019). "Jagged Little Pill Announces Broadway Cast". Lansing City Pulse.
- Benbrook, Gil (March 14, 2019). "Valley favorite SAM PRIMACK joins the Broadway cast of DEAR EVAN HANSEN!". PHX Stages.
- "Inspiration Stage's Jasmine Rogers wins the TUTS Tommy Tune Award for best actress". Sugar City Sun. May 23, 2017.
- McPhee, Ryan (June 25, 2018). "The Winners of the 2018 Jimmy Awards, Celebrating High School Musical Theatre Performances". Playbill.
- McPhee, Ryan (November 12, 2018). "Jimmy Award Winner Andrew Barth Feldman to Star in Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway". Playbill.
- Smith, Andy (June 25, 2018). "Charlotte's Reneé Rapp Wins National High School Theater Award". Charlotte Magazine.
- McPhee, Ryan (May 28, 2019). "Reneé Rapp, 2018 Jimmy Award Winner, Will Star in Mean Girls on Broadway". Playbill.
- Hoelzer, Kaitlin (June 25, 2019). "Utah student wins best actor and $25,000 at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York". Deseret News.
- Schuler, Barbara (June 25, 2019). "Elmont teen Ekele Ukegbu wins best actress at Jimmy Awards". Newsday.