The National High School Musical Theater Awards (NHSMTA) was established in 2009 to elevate the importance of theater arts education in schools and reward excellence in student performance. The program impacts over 50,000 students annually who participate in high school musical theater competitions sponsored by thirty professional theatres throughout the US (click here for a list of participating theaters.)
Since its inception, NHSMTA has been the catalyst for more than $1,000,000 in educational scholarships awarded to deserving young performers. Also known as The Jimmy™ Awards, named for Broadway impresario James M. Nederlander, this year-round program is administered by the Broadway Education Alliance (BEA) a New York based non-profit corporation dedicated to supporting initiatives that inspire creativity, build confidence and stimulate critical thinking in America’s youth. NHSMTA is BEA’s first national initiative.
Thanks to the support of its participating professional regional theatres and donors, NHSMTA continues to grow. This year the program inspired PBS to produce a 3-part documentary series called “Broadway or Bust,” which follows students on a journey from their hometown competitions to their debut on Broadway at the Minskoff Theatre. The series, which premiered in September 2012, was showcased in 100% of PBS's Top 50 strategic markets and is one of their most highly rated programs. It continues to be aired on stations across the country, and along with dozens of additional online video segments, remains popular viewing around the clock and around the world at www.pbs.org.
The depth, scope and education-centric mission of NHSMTA coupled with its extensive television and media exposure has made participating in the program an aspiration for a growing number of high schools. Based on feedback from participating theaters, school administrators are now directing both human and financial resources to improve the quality of theater arts education in their districts. This renewed enthusiasm for the performing arts in schools is already helping to invigorate local theaters and the communities they serve.
The National High School Musical Theater Awards was founded by Pittsburgh CLO and Nederlander Alliances, a division of The Nederlander Organization, along with inaugural donors NYU Tisch School of the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Shubert Organization, The Broadway League, Tams-Witmark Music Library, Inc., Disney Theatrical Productions, Barry & Fran Weissler/BWF Foundation and Jujamcyn Theaters.
NHSMTA week takes place annually in June in New York City. The Jimmy™ Awards are presented on Broadway at a Nederlander theater.
©The Al Hirschfeld Foundation