Damson Chola Jr. and Gretchen Shope Win at 2024 Jimmy Awards | Playbill

Education News Damson Chola Jr. and Gretchen Shope Win at 2024 Jimmy Awards

Both received $25,000 scholarships at the high school musical theatre awards. Watch their solo performances here.

Damson Chola Jr. and Gretchen Shope

Damson Chola Jr. and Gretchen Shope have won the Best Performance by an Actor and Actress titles at the 2024 Jimmy Awards. This year's ceremony was held at Broadway's Minskoff Theatre June 24, with Broadway favorite and Tony nominee Josh Groban hosting. 

The annual event recognizes the best in high school musical theatre performers from across the country, with each nominee having already won a state-level competition. Both Chola Jr. and Shope received $25,000 scholarships toward their education.

Chola Jr., from the Broadway Dallas High School Musical Theatre Awards in Dallas, Texas, was nominated for his performance as Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors. Shope, from the Sutton Foster Awards in East Lansing, Michigan, was nominated for her performance in the title role in Alice by Heart

See both winners' solo performances in the videos below: 

The Jimmy Awards finalists were James Thibault from the Stephen Sondheim Awards in New Haven, Connecticut; Fabiola Caraballo Quijada from Broadway Dallas High School Musical Theatre Awards in Dallas, Texas; Catherine Dosier from the Spirit of the MACY Awards in La Mirada, California; Luke Martin from the Nevada High School Musical Theater Awards from Las Vegas, Nevada; Samia Posadas from The Monte Awards in Tucson, Arizona; and Peter Dessert from the Blue Star Awards in Kansas City, Missouri. Each finalist received a $5,000 cash scholarship. 

See the 2024 Jimmy Awards nominees perform the show's opening number below.

Presented by the Broadway League Foundation and named in honor of the late producer and theatre owner James M. Nederlander, the Jimmy Awards see nominees partaking in a week of events, workshops, and master classes with industry professionals. The week culminates in the ceremony itself.

The 12 coaches who mentored the 102 high school student nominees throughout the course of the week included English Bernhardt, Janet Dacal, Colin Hanlon, MaryAnn Hu, Leonard Joseph, Adam Kantor, Telly Leung, Adam J. Levy, Desi Oakley, Eliseo Román, Steven Telsey, and EJ Zimmerman.

Special guest presenters included Victoria Clark, Justin Cooley, Andrew Barth Feldman, and Ayana Jackson.

The panel of judges for the awards included Montego Glover, Kenny Leon, Joe Machota, Marc Platt, T. Oliver Reid, Tara Rubin, Nick Scandalios, Bernard Telsey, and Lia Vollack. Special guest judges included James Monroe Iglehart, Alan Menken, and Thomas Schumacher. Preliminary judges who evaluated and cast the nominees in various musical numbers for the ceremony included Gabriel Barre, Kristian Charbonier, Stephanie Klapper, Sammy Lopez, Kevin Metzger-Timson, and Dale Mott.

The Jimmy Awards are notorious for helping young performers get discovered—stars like Reneé Rapp, Andrew Barth Feldman, Jai’Len Josey, and Kyle Selig were all Jimmy winners before making their Broadway debut.

READ: 15 Jimmy Award Alums Who Are Now Theatre Favorites

Monday's ceremony was directed by Van Kaplan and featured music supervision by Geoffrey Ko, choreography by Kiesha Lalama, and group direction and choreography by Luis Salgado.

The Jimmy Awards are presented by The Broadway League Foundation and Pittsburgh CLO, with livestream support provided by Apples and Oranges Arts.

Visit JimmyAwards.com for more information.

Photos: 2024 Jimmy Award Winners

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