Monday could very well be the most important night of their lives.
After bopping around through an exuberant, five-minute mash of songs from currently running Broadway shows – “Tootsie,” “The Cher Show” and “Be More Chill,” to name a few – the 86 nominees stood grinning and red-faced.
“That was an adrenaline run,” said choreographer Keisha Lalama.
Lalama adjusted formations and cleaned the number, down to a simple hand movement on one word.
That’s the type of precision that will be on the stage Monday night at the Minskoff Theatre.
“You’re surrounded by the people who are just absolute pros at this business,” said nominee Michael Harp, from St. Louis, Missouri. “And the other people from across the country who are also in this endeavor with you, they’re the next performers for theatre. They’re the next Broadway generation.”
The Jimmy Awards is a national musical theatre program that brings high school students to New York City for a nine-day professional intensive. It culminates in a performance on the Minskoff stage where the nominees compete for the honor of Best Actor and Best Actress.
Students are selected to compete by winning their regional high school musical theatre awards programs – over 1,700 high schools across the country participate in these regional events annually.
The Jimmy Awards will livestream on both Facebook and YouTube on Monday, June 24, at 7:30 p.m. EST.
Meet some of this year’s nominees and watch a clip of the opening number below!
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis High School Musical Theatre Awards
Billy Lawlor, “42nd Street”
On meeting Alex Lacamoire for the first time: “When he walked in, I was like, ‘That’s him?!’ He has a wonderful personality and he’s really funny, but he’s also a great coach for getting the feeling for music, as well.”
On his tap teacher, Larry Fuller: “He kind of gave me my feet.”
Harp has been taking tap lessons since he was 4 years old!
San Antonio, Texas
Las Casas Foundation’s Joci Awards
Horace Vandergelder, “Hello, Dolly!”
On being a bass: “It’s amazing here. People really, really support you for your strengths. Telly (Leung) when I was working with him in the workshop, he was like, ‘Your bass voice is so spectacular. It’s so different. It’s really one of your strengths – you shouldn’t be ashamed of it.’”
On the Jimmy Awards: “Being able to perform on the Minskoff stage at 18 years old at the Jimmy Awards, that’s a dream you have as a little kid that you think is impossible and that you think there’s absolutely no way in hell that can ever come true. And then you’re doing it.”
This is Hager’s first time in New York City!
Jesus, “Jesus Christ Superstar”
On his first day of rehearsal: “It was a little nerve wracking. I was a little worried at first about the energy in terms of the competition that shouldn’t really exist in our heads. My goal in coming here was to have fun and to learn as much as I could.”
On his dream role: “Donny Novitski in ‘Bandstand.’ I love Corey Cott, and his emotional performance is just inspiring. And at the same time a challenge to be able to perform and portray that deep of a character going through all of those thoughts and emotions in his head while also having the skills to play the piano.”
Dusek got to attend the Jimmy Awards last year as an audience member!
Utah High School Musical Theatre Awards
Belle, “Beauty and the Beast”
On her first musical: “I got started in theatre as a 5 five year old with my dad. I was in ‘Cats,’ in a community production. And there are no 5-year-old parts, so I licked my paws and rolled around the stage with cat ears on, and I got the bug from that.”
On winning her regional competition: “When they made the big announcement, I was totally giddy. I was so excited – what actress doesn’t want to come to New York for a week and compete?’”