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2021 Jimmy Award Winners Announced

New York, NY – July 16, 2021 – The winners of the twelfth JIMMY AWARDS® were announced last night, July 15, 2021. The ceremony, hosted by Corbin Bleu with a special appearance from Mandy Gonzalez, was presented entirely online and will remain available for viewing for 72 hours ONLY, through Sunday, July 18, 2021 via JimmyAwards.com .
The coveted Jimmy Awards for Best Performance by an Actress and Best Performance by an Actor were presented toElena Holder, Triangle Rising Stars (Durham, NC) and Bryson Battle, The Blumey Awards (Charlotte, NC).
Both winners will receive a check for $25,000 to further their education.
This year, a total of 20 awards and scholarships were available to participants. The program has been the catalyst for more than $4,000,000 in educational scholarships to date. Six finalists each received a $3,000 scholarship toward their future education:
  • Benjamin Brown , Philadelphia Independence Awards (Philadelphia, PA)
  • Justin Cooley , Blue Star Awards (Kansas City, MO)
  • Mateo Lizcano , The Roger Rees Awards for Excellence in Student Performance (New York, NY)
  • Victoria Evans , The 5th Avenue Theatre: Celebrating High School Musicals (Seattle, WA)
  • Kuper Walker , The Jerry Herman Awards (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Ava Wolesky , Blue Star Awards (Kansas City, MO)
Additional awards winners received a $2,000 scholarship each:
Best Dancer , presented by The Shubert Organization, for excellence in dance and movement
  • Kiara Geolina , The Broadway San Diego Awards (San Diego, CA)
Rising Star, presented by The John Gore Organization, for impressive advancement during the Jimmy Awards program
  • Ben Gray , The Orpheum High School Musical Theatre Awards (Memphis, TN)
Best Performance in an Ensemble, presented by Thomas Schumacher & Disney Theatrical Productions, for outstanding collaboration during the Jimmy Awards program
  • Brady McComas , The Kelli O’Hara Awards (Oklahoma City, OK)
Spirit of the Jimmys, presented by Iris Smith & Once Upon A Time Productions, for embodying the spirit of this musical theatre celebration
  • Kuper Walker , The Jerry Herman Awards (Los Angeles, CA)

Semifinalist Scholarships, presented by Blumenthal Performing Arts:

  • Taylor Garlick , Utah High School Musical Theatre Awards (Logan, UT)
  • Parker Jackson , Dallas Summer Musicals High School Musical Theatre Awards (Dallas, TX)
  • William Morris , The Broadway San Diego Awards (San Diego, CA)
  • Jaaziah Vallano , The Enchantment Awards (Albuquerque, NM)
  • Naliah Hernandez , Las Casas Foundation’s Joci Awards (San Antonio, TX)
  • Rafaella Mark , The Enchantment Awards (Albuquerque, NM)
  • Audrey Saucier , Nebraska High School Theater Academy (Omaha, NE)
  • Katie Smith , Philadelphia Independence Awards (Philadelphia, PA)
Additionally, the INSPIRING TEACHER AWARD presented by WELLS FARGOwas given to Katelin Ruzzamenti Knight, Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts, Salt Lake City, Utah and Benjamin Pesenti , Elmont Memorial High School, Elmont, NY. These teachers were honored for the encouragement and inspiration that led their students to win the coveted Jimmy Award for Best Performance by an Actress and Best Performance by an Actor at the most recent past Jimmy Awards ceremony, in 2019.
Judges for the 2021 Jimmys were comprised of notable theatre professionals including Tony Award-winning producers, award-winning casting experts and industry professionals. Winners, finalists, and semifinalists were selected by KENT GASH, MONTEGO GLOVER, BRIAN MORELAND, ALECIA PARKER, TARA RUBIN, LUIS SALGADO, NICK SCANDALIOS and BERNIE TELSEY. Preliminary judges who evaluated and cast nominees included PUN BANDHU, RASHAD CHAMBERS, KRISTIAN CHARBONIER, STEPHANIE KLAPPER, KEVIN METZGER-TIMSON, and THOM SESMA.

The annual Broadway-focused talent showcase included medley and production performances by all 72 nominees from 36 regions around the US and featured solos by select finalists. In 2021, all coaching, rehearsals, and activities took place online. The industry coaches who mentored the nominees included: JENNI BARBER, JANET DACAL, EDEN ESPINOSA, MARYANN HU, ADAM KANTOR, and ELISEO ROMÁN. MICHAEL McELROY was the coach coordinator.
The Jimmy Awards was directed by Van Kaplan and choreographed by Kiesha Lalama.Michael Moricz was the musical arranger and conductor, and Mary Jane Brennan was the writer. All four have been with the Jimmy Awards for all 12 years of the program.
The 2021 Jimmys also welcomed eight student reporters from Regional Awards Programs around the country. During the Jimmy Awards production week, these junior journalists sat in on many of the online sessions and rehearsals attended by the performer nominees. Each student reporter submitted a series of videos providing “on the ground” reporting about the nominee experience and how the production was put together. In addition, the student reporters met with industry professionals who provided first-hand experience and advice on the digital and press landscape surrounding the Broadway industry.
The Jimmy Awards are presented by the Broadway League Foundation and Pittsburgh CLO in honor of legendary Broadway producer/theatre owner James M. Nederlander, and are supported by many leading theatre industry organizations.
Student performers qualify for the national program by earning top honors at regional high school musical theatre awards ceremonies presented by Broadway League-member performing arts centers. Each year, more than 100,000 students participate in these annual events.
Several previous student participants have been cast in Broadway, Touring and West End productions. For more information about this and the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, please visit www.JimmyAwards.com . Follow the Jimmy Awards on Facebook , Instagram , Twitter & YouTube !
Apples and Oranges Arts was the streaming and video production partner. The official media partner was WABC-TV.
Founded in 2009 by Nederlander Alliances LLC, Pittsburgh CLO, and Broadway Education Alliance (BEA), the mission of theNational High School Musical Theatre Awards® (NHSMTA®) is to raise the profile of musical theatre in schools, recognize dedicated teachers, and inspire the next generation of performers and enthusiasts. The Jimmy Awards are presented by the Broadway League Foundation and Pittsburgh CLO in honor of legendary Broadway producer/theatre owner James M. Nederlander, and are supported by many leading theatre industry organizations.
1 – 2021 is the first and only time the Jimmys has been completely virtual
3 - Number of nominees who have a twin
4 - Number of Jimmy Awards nominees who were in the audience of the show prior to being a nominee
6 - Number of nominees who are songwriters
9 - Number of nominees whose first Broadway show was Wicked
10 - Number of nominees who play sports
11 - Number of nominees who play musical instruments
15 - Age of youngest nominee
20 - Number of awards and scholarships available to students
33 - Number of Jimmy Awards alumni who have been on Broadway and in National Tours
36 - Number of regions that the nominees represent
59 - Number of High School seniors amongst this year’s nominees
72 - Number of nominees for this year’s Jimmy Awards program
709 - Total number of Jimmy Awards alumni
100,000+ - Estimated number of students nationwide who participated in the program
$4,000,000+ - Since its inception, NHSMTA has been the catalyst for this number of educational scholarships for deserving young performers