The 2018 National High School Musical Theatre Awards (known more commonly as the Jimmy Awards) awarded top prizes to Andrew Barth Feldman and Reneé Rapp. The national competition, hosted by Tony winner Laura Benanti, took place June 25 at Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre.
Feldman won Best Performance by an Actor for his work as Frank Abagnale, Jr. in Catch Me If You Can at Lawrence Woodmere Academy in New York, New York. Rapp took home Best Performance by an Actress, having played Sandra Bloom in Big Fish at Northwest School of the Arts in Charlotte, North Carolina.
In total, 80 students competed in the tenth annual ceremony, marking the largest pool of talent the program has seen. Each previously earned a spot in the competition through winning regional competitions throughout the country.
The first act of the ceremony featured four medleys that showcased the performances that earned the students acclaim in their communities, as well as a retrospective tribute to Disney Theatrical Productions. From the group performances, eight finalists were selected; each performed a solo number in the second act before final deliberations from the panel of judges, comprised of casting directors, producers, industry leaders, and more.
Feldman and Rapp received $10,000 scholarships; the remaining finalists each received scholarships of $3,000.
The students participated in a professional training intensive at NYU Tisch School of the Arts in the week leading up to the ceremony and received mentorship from a variety of industry professionals, including Adam Kantor (currently on Broadway in the Tony-winning The Band’s Visit), Tony nominee Howard McGillin, Lisa Brescia, Maryann Hu, Natalie Weiss, and Schele Williams.
The ceremony also included appearances by The Band’s Visit Tony winner Ari’el Stachel, Disney Channel’s Freaky Friday stars Heidi Blickenstaff and Cozi Zuehlsdorff, and three Jimmy Awards alums currently on Broadway: 2014 winner Jai’len Christine Li Josey (SpongeBob SquarePants), 2010 winner Kyle Selig (Mean Girls), and 2012 finalist Nathan Salstone (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child).
The Jimmy Awards, named for the late theatre owner and producer James M. Nederlander, were founded in 2009 by Nederlander Alliances, Pittsburgh CLO, and the Broadway Education Alliance and are presented through the Broadway League.
See below for a complete list of this year’s award recipients:
Best Performance by an Actor ($10,000 scholarship)
Andrew Barth Feldman (New York, NY)
Best Performance by an Actress ($10,000 scholarship)
Reneé Rapp (Charlotte, NC)
Additional Finalists ($3,000 scholarship)
Riley Thad Young (memphis, TN)
J.R. Heckman (Cleveland, OH)
Darian Goulding (Chicago, IL)
Emily Escobar (Tampa, FL)
Sabrina Astle (La Mirada, CA)
Maria Ines Moenho (Palm Springs, CA)
Inspiring Educator Awards (awarded to the instructors of the previous year's winners)
Nadine Love (Orlando, FL)
Janine Papin (Winder Park, FL)
Best Performance in an Ensemble ($2,000 scholarship)
Hannah Kanter (Los Angeles, CA)
Rising Star Award ($2,000 scholarship)
Halle Surgil (Midland, PA)
Spirit of the Jimmys Award ($2,000 scholarship-TIE)
Daniel Kohanbash (Los Angeles, CA)
Garrett Morris (Houston, TX)
Special Recognition Scholars ($2,000 scholarship)
Zach Fogel (La Mirada, CA)
Veronica Ballejos (San Jose, CA)
Elisha Horne (Denver, CO)
Amelia Beckham (Memphis, TN)
Noah Tobery (Midland, PA)
Britta Rae Cowan (Minneapolis, MN)
Best Dancer Award ($2,000 scholarship)
John Zamborsky (Orlando, FL)
Carnegie Mellon Pre-College Scholarship
Andrew Barth Feldman (New York, NY)
Watch the full ceremony, streamed live on Facebook through a partnership with Dear Evan Hansen and Wells Fargo—as well as with video and technology partner Apples and Oranges Arts—below.