The sixth annual National High School Musical Theater Awards were held on Monday, June 30, 2014, at the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway. This one-of-a-kind-event was hosted by 2011 Jimmy™ Award-winner and Ryan McCartan. Ryan has recently starred as JD in the Off-Broadway hit musical, Heathers, appears regularly as Diggy in "Liv & Maddie" on the Disney Channel, and is a recurring character on the USA Network's "Royal Pains".
The coveted Jimmy™ Award for Best Performance by an Actress and Best Performance by an Actor on Monday, June 30 at Broadway's Minskoff Theater, was presented to Jai' Len Josey representing the Georgia High School Musical Theater Awards - Shuler Hensley Awards and Jonah Rawitz, representing the Illinois High School Musical Theater Awards.
The Jimmy™ Award is named in honor of James M. Nederlander-the legendary Broadway theater owner and producer. James L. Nederlander, Chairman of The Nederlander Organization, presented both winners with a check for $10,000 to further their education. They will also 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.
Four runners-up each received a $2,500 scholarship toward their future education from the Barry and Fran Weissler Foundation. These winners were Mekhai Lee, Charlotte, NCMatthew Richards, Layton, UT; Brooke Solan, Las Vegas, NV; and Sophia Tzougros, Dousman, WI.
Three additional awards were presented to English Bernhardt, Wakeforest, N.C. (Best Performance in an Ensemble); Joshua Velez, Torrance, CA (Most Improved), and Matthew Washington, Cary, N.C.(Spirit of the Jimmy Awards). Another student, Jai' Len Josey, East Point, GA was selected to attend Carnegie Mellon University's 6-week Pre-College Drama program.
Jimmy™ Award winners were selected by a panel of Broadway brass including Kent Gash (New Studio on Broadway, NYU Tisch School of the Arts Department of Drama); Rachel Hoffman (Telsey +Co); Arielle Tepper Madover (Tony® Award-Winning Producer); Tara Rubin (Casting Director) Nick Scandalios (Nederlander Organization); and Sergio Trujillo (Award-Winning Choreographer).
The production was directed by Van Kaplan and choreographed by Kiesha Lalama, with musical direction by Michael Moricz.
The annual Broadway-focused talent showcase featured performances by all 56 participants and solos by select finalists. Their Broadway debut followed 5-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 discussion with award-winning composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz. The students also took in a performance of Kinky Boots and had a talkback with the cast.