Also known as the Jimmy Awards (named for producer James M. Nederlander), the awards ceremony was hosted by Kathie Lee Gifford and featured presenters Tommy Tune (Nine, My One and Only, Grand Hotel), Neil Haskell (9 to 5), Norm Lewis (Side Show, The Little Mermaid) and Jason Tam (A Chorus Line). Honors were presented to Wine (Wedding Singer) and Mark (Thoroughly Modern Millie) in the Best Actress/Actor categories, respectively. Both of the performers received $10,000 prizes and scholarship assistance to attend the NYU Tisch School of the Arts Department of Drama, contingent upon acceptance into the program.
The Jimmy Awards also honored Paula Ohaus (Hoboken High School in Hoboken, NJ) with the Outstanding Arts Education Program award and Lynda Hodges (an educator at Dr. Sun Yat Sen Middle School 131 in NYC) for her work introducing Shakespeare to Asian, Hispanic and African American children.
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The NHS Musical Theater Awards are based on Pittsburgh CLO's Gene Kelly Awards, which began in 1991. Numerous regional theatre companies have followed suit, including Casa Mañana's Betty Lynn Buckley Awards.