National High School Musical Theater Awards Held July 1; Cinderella's Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana Host

By Michael Gioia
01 Jul 2013

Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana
Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana
Photo by Carol Rosegg

The 5th Annual National High School Musical Theater Awards (NHSMTA), also known as the Jimmy Awards, take place July 1 at Broadway's Minskoff Theatre. Tony Award nominees and Cinderella co-stars Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana host.

Sixty-two student winners from 31 regional competitions, sponsored by professional theatre organizations in cities across America, take part in the Jimmy Awards, named after Broadway theatre owner and producer James M. ("Jimmy") Nederlander.

"There's great work being done in high schools all across this country," Jimmy Awards director Van Kaplan, who is the executive producer of the Pittsburgh CLO (the co-founder of the Jimmys) and the president of the National High School Musical Theater Awards, previously told Playbill.com. "What the Jimmys does is focus attention on [the students' work in their high school theatre programs] and elevates it to a level to where kids have an opportunity to come to New York and learn, mix with professionals and get their Broadway debut."

The week-long schedule of events (June 26-July 1) in preparation for the Jimmys took place at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and included meetings with seasoned Broadway performers and creative artists, vocal coachings, rehearsals and the staging of this year's National High School Musical Theater Awards.



Read more about how the students prepared here, and click here for the exclusive Jimmy Awards blog by high schoolers Benton Felty and Emily Homburger.

A panel of judges determine the recipients of the Best Performance by an Actor and Best Performance by an Actress awards. They are Scott Ellis (The Mystery of Edwin Drood), Kent Gash (founding director of NYU Tisch School of the Arts' New Studio on Broadway), Montego Glover (Memphis), Rachel Hoffman (casting of First Date, Hands on a Hardbody, Bring It On), Alecia Parker (executive producer of Pippin, Priscilla Queen of the Desert), Nick Scandalios (chairman of The Broadway League and executive VP of the Nederlander Organization) and Bernard Telsey (casting of Tarzan, The Wedding Singer, The Color Purple).

To view the PlaybillVIP for the Jimmy Awards, click here

The National High School Musical Theater Awards was founded in 2009 by the Pittsburgh CLO and Nederlander Alliances to create "a connection between the talented students in the amateur arena of high school musicals and the professional theater world," according to Kaplan. Since its inception, the education-focused NHSMTA has been the catalyst for more than $750,000 in college and conservatory scholarships awarded to young performers.

Over the past five years, the program has been supported by industry leaders and donors, including 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.

For more information and tickets, visit NHSMTA.com.

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NHSMTA is funded by the Broadway Education Alliance (BEA), the "non-profit theatre, performing arts and live entertainment industries service organization dedicated to building coalitions that support theatre arts education and cultural studies for audiences of all ages." To help support the NHSMTA, visit The Broadway Education Alliance.