Tony Nominee Benj Pasek and Cast of Annie Inspire High School Jimmy Award Nominees

By Michael Gioia
30 Jun 2013

Lilla Crawford
Lilla Crawford

The 5th Annual National High School Musical Theater Awards, also known as the Jimmy Awards, will take place July 1. Playbill.com checks in with the students, who hail from 31 regions across the United States, as they spend the week in New York City and prepare for the highly anticipated competition that will take place at Broadway's Minskoff Theatre.

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In between vigorous rehearsals with director Van Kaplan, choreographer Kiesha Lalama and music director and arranger Michael Moricz — who stage the 2013 National High School Musical Theater Awards, which take place at the Minskoff Theatre and are hosted by Tony Award nominees and Cinderella co-stars Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana — the 62 high school students competing for this year's "Jimmy" find themselves immersed in New York's theatre scene, dining at the famed restaurant Sardi's, attending a show at the Palace Theatre and chatting with Tony Award-nominated artists.

Following the June 27 evening performance of Annie, the students — dressed their best for an evening on the town — were greeted by cast members from the 2013 Tony Award-nominated Best Revival for a post-performance talkback. The orphans, including lead actress Lilla Crawford, and members of the adult ensemble, answered the students' questions about what it's like to work with artists such as choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler and co-stars Jane Lynch and Anthony Warlow, as well as their experience at this year's Tony Awards and how they landed the job.

Crawford in Annie.
photo by Joan Marcus



"I haven't actually been to a 'Broadway' audition, so I guess I didn't know that they would have gone that far — 11 callbacks...!" said Matthew Durward Lynn, who represents the Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards for his performance as the title role in Bay Boy: The Musical. "And then they got [cast] and couldn't tell anyone for three months — [that] sounds awful... The worst blessing you could have."

"It was intimidating learning that [Emily Rosenfeld, the actress playing Molly] was eight...on Broadway...working," he added. "It's crazy, but Monday, we'll be on Broadway."

On Monday, the students will perform for guest judges 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), who will pick the 2013 Best Actor and Best Actress.  Continued...