See Which Talented High School Students Earned Top Marks at the 2017 Jimmy Awards | Playbill

Education News See Which Talented High School Students Earned Top Marks at the 2017 Jimmy Awards The ninth annual ceremony, hosted by Ben Platt, celebrated the best of high school musical theatre performances.
Tony Moreno, Ben Platt, and Sofia Deler
Tony Moreno, Ben Platt, and Sofia Deler Henry McGee

Sofia Deler and Tony Moreno earned the top honors at the 2017 National High School Musical Theatre Awards (known as the Jimmy Awards). The talent showcase, hosted by Dear Evan Hansen Tony Award winner Ben Platt, was held June 26 at Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre.

Deler won Best Performance by an Actress after earning her spot in the finals for her performance as Woman 1 in Songs for a New World at William R. Boone High School in Orlando, Florida. Moreno, who played Don Quixote/Cervantes in his high school production of Man of La Mancha at Trinity Preparatory School (also in Orlando), earned the award for Best Performance by an Actor.


The two were among 74 high school performers from across the country competing in the ninth annual ceremony—the largest pool of talent the awards have seen. Each of them had already won in the respective regional competitions (the two winners hailed from the Applause Awards).

Following a series of four medleys that highlighted the students’ roles in their high school productions, as well as a musical tribute to the late James M. Nederlander (after whom the Jimmy Awards are named), eight finalists were selected, and each performed a solo number prior to the judges’ final deliberations.

Deler and Moreno were both awarded a $10,000 scholarship, while the remaining finalists earned received $2,500 toward their education.

Presented by the Broadway League through the Broadway League Foundation, the Jimmy Awards are a culmination of a nation-wide celebration of high school talent. The 74 winners from 37 regional competitions arrived in New York last week for a two-week intensive, including coaching from Broadway’s Randy Graff, Adam Kantor, Michael McElroy, and Howard McGillin.

This year’s judges’ panel consisted of NYU Tisch School of the Arts’ New Studio Founding Director Kent Gash, Tony nominee Montego Glover, producers Kevin McCollum and Alecia Parker, general manager Charlotte Wilcox, and casting directors Rachel Hoffman, Tara Rubin, and Bernard Telsey.


The Jimmy Awards were founded in 2009 by Nederlander Alliances, Pittsburgh CLO, and the Broadway Education Alliance. The moniker honors James M. Nederlander, the legendary producer and theatre owner who died at the age of 94 July 25, 2016.

See below for a complete list of this year's winners.

Best Performance by an Actor
Tony Moreno (Orlando, FL)

Best Performance by an Actress
Sofia Deler (Orlando, FL)

Additional Finalists
Sam Primack (Tempe, AZ)
Nathan Keffer (Nashville, TN)
Antonio Cipriano (East Lansing, MI)
Jasmine Rogers (Houston, TX)
Hatty King (Nashville, TN)
Maggie Gidden (La Mirada, CA)

Inspiring Educator Awards (awarded to the instructors of the previous year's winners)
Brendan Jennings (Burbank, CA)
Larry Robinson (Monroe, NC)

Best Performance in an Ensemble
Ian Hayes (Buffalo, NY)

Rising Star Award
Sky Frank (San Diego, CA)

Spirit of the Jimmys Award
Liz Valentin (Appleton, WI)

Special Recognition Scholars ($2,500 scholarship)
Seamus Foley (Des Moines, IA)
Eric Gaydon (San Jose, CA)
Levi Hopkins (Logan, UT)
Sophia Rose Franklin (Tucson, AZ)
Jessica Lewis (Logan, UT)
Liz Valentin (Appleton, WI)

Best Dancer Award
Anna Hertel (Charlotte, NC)

Carnegie Mellon Pre-College Scholarship
Sam Primack (Tempe, AZ)

Go Inside the 2017 Jimmy Awards Hosted By Tony Winner Ben Platt

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