Kendall Becerra of San Diego, California, and Nicholas Barrón of San Antonio, Texas, won Best Performance by an Actress and Actor, respectively, at the 2022 Jimmy Awards June 27 in a ceremony that saw student performers from across the country competing to be named the best in high school musical theatre. Both will receive $25,000 scholarships to further their educations.
Becerra won following a performance of "Breathe" from In the Heights, while Barrón offered "This is Not Over Yet" from Parade. The evening was hosted by High School Musical: The Musical: The Series star Kate Reinders.
The entire ceremony, which features performances from all of the nominees, is available to stream in full through June 30 here.
$3,000 scholarships were awarded to six additional finalists: Thomas Beeker, of Denver, Colorado; Sophie Pollono of Los Angeles, California; Dakota Lee Renteria of Las Vegas, Nevada; Symoné Spencer of Durham, North Carolina; Joshua Thompson of Durham, North Carolina; and Anna Zavelson of San Antonio, Texas. $2,000 scholarships were awarded to Kylie Edwards of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, winning Best Dancer presented by Moulin Rouge! The Musical; Carl Robinett of San Jose, California, who won Rising Star for impressive advancement during the Jimmy Awards program, presented by the John Gore Organization; Jackson Chase of Orlando, Florida, winning Best Performance in an Ensemble, presented by Thomas Schumacher and Disney Theatrical Productions; and Joshua Thompson of Durham, North Carolina, who won Spirit of the Jimmys for embodying the spirit of the musical theatre celebration, presented by Iris Smith and Once Upon a Time Productions.
Also receiving $2,000 scholarships, presented by the Shubert Organization, were semifinalists Landry Barker of Dallas, Texas; Noah C. Bowers of Des Moines, Iowa; Vera Brown of Memphis, Tennessee; Joshua Devine of Tampa, Florida; Angelis Gonzalez of Nashville, Tennessee; Hayden Henderson of Logan, Utah; Janiyah McAllister of Tampa, Florida; and Ashley Woytal of East Lansing, Michigan.
Last year's Jimmy winners for Best Performance by an Actress and Actor, Elena Holder and Bryson Battle, respectively, presented the Inspiring Teacher Award, presented by Wells Fargo, to their respective theatre teachers Kristin Winchester and Ian Sullivan.
Along with group performances with all 92 nominees and solos from select finalists, the evening featured a group number, "Walls Yet to Climb," guest directed and choreographed by Stephanie Pope Lofgren and introduced by SIX: The Musical star Andrea Macasaet; and a tribute group number, "Shubert Salutes Sondheim," guest directed and choreographed by Dan Knechtges and introduced by Company's Christopher Sieber.
The Jimmy Awards ceremony is the annual culmination of more than 40 nationwide regional awards—representing more than 140,000 students at 1,800 high schools across 25 states—honoring the best in high school musical theatre, bringing regional winners together for a week of events, workshops, and master classes with industry professionals in New York City. The week culminates in a final ceremony on a Broadway stage, where nominees compete with performances to earn the top titles and college scholarships. The return to an in-person event follows an online event earlier this year and the cancellation of the 2020 ceremony.
On hand to coach this year's cohort of nominees were Desi Oakley, Max Chernin, Howard McGillin, Janet Dacal, Maryann Hu, Denis Jones, and Jacques Smith. Judging the final performances were Broadway performer Montego Glover, producer Alecia Parker, and casting directors Tara Rubin and Bernie Telsey, with Kristian Charbonier, Stephanie Klapper, Kevin Metzger-Timson, Dale Mott, and Seth Sklar-Heyn serving as preliminary judges prior to the ceremony.
The 2022 ceremony was directed by Van Kaplan and choreographed by Kiesha Lalama, with Geoffrey Ko and Wiley DeWeese serving as music directors. Mary Jane Brennan wrote the evening.
Past Jimmy Award winners include Andrew Barth Feldman and Renée Rapp, both of whom quickly moved on to Broadway careers. Feldman, most recently seen in Disney+'s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, also starred on Broadway in the title role of Dear Evan Hansen, while Rapp was the final Regina George in Mean Girls on Broadway.