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Awards Season

2018 Jimmy Awards Celebrate Musical Theater’s Stars of the Future

2018 Jimmy Awards Celebrate Musical Theater’s Stars of the Future
Photo Source: Jimmy Awards

While the Tony Awards mark the official end of New York’s theater awards season, it is not in fact the final notable awards show of the year.

That would be the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, which every June assemble young thespians from across the country, many of whom surely experience their own Tonys-like intensity.

Lovingly nicknamed the Jimmy Awards after James L. Nederlander, the competition returned to Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre (home to “The Lion King”) for its tenth installment June 25, summoning a record-breaking 80 teenaged-triple threats, all vying for the respective best actor and actress awards.

Hosted by Tony winner Laura Benanti, the evening capped a week-long New York City intensive, during which competitors cohabitated in New York University dorms and received mentorship from top-tier theater professionals including casting directors, choreographers, and performers Jenn Colella and Adam Kantor.

In winking recognition of their future prospects, Jimmys hopefuls kicked off the ceremony with a medley of songs from this past Broadway season’s Tony-nominated tuners, including “Mean Girls,” “Frozen,” and “The Band’s Visit,” before beginning the event’s competition portion.

READ: What Star-Making Broadway CD Tara Rubin Wants to See in Her Audition Room

And that competition is not for amateurs. All talent arrives at the Jimmys having already won top honors in their hometowns; on the night, they sing segments of the roles for which they were recognized, before eight finalists—four male, four female—are selected for solos. Ultimately emerging victorious this year were Reneé Rapp of Charlotte, North Carolina, and New York City’s own Andrew Barth Feldman, both of whom received funds of $10,000 towards their continued education. 

Presenters for the evening included recent Tony Award winner and NYU alum Ari’el Stachel, as well as Jimmy alumni and current Broadway performers Jai’len Christine Li Josey (“SpongeBob SquarePants”), Nathan Salstone (“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”), and Kyle Selig (“Mean Girls”).

Judges of the 2018 ceremony included casting directors Tara Rubin and Bernard Telsey, as well as producer extraordinaire Marc Platt. Presented by The Broadway League, the Jimmys have impacted more than 100,000 students nationwide and provided upwards of $2 million in scholarships to date. Learn more about the Jimmy Awards and the 2018 competitors right here.

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