Jimmy Award winner Ekele Ukegbu took the national stage when she reprised her winning song from Aida on LIVE With Kelly and Ryan July 30. The young performer was crowned the 2019 Jimmy Awards winner for Best Performance by an Actress earlier this summer, having played the title role in her Long Island high school's Aida. She headed to the national competition after winning the The Roger Rees Awards in the New York City Area.
Ukegbu sang “Easy As Life” from the musical, written by Elton John and Tim Rice, as part of the group medley portion of competition at the Minskoff Theatre in June and again on the daytime talk show for television audiences nationwide. During the competition, she sang The Color Purple's “I'm Here.”
Watch her powerful performance in the video below.
Ukegbu's win marked the second consecutive year in which a student from the Roger Rees Awards went on to win the competition; in 2018, Andrew Barth Feldman won the Jimmys and now stars as the titular role in Broadway’s Dear Evan Hansen.
The Long Island teen is set to attend New York University; her Jimmy Award win comes with a $25,000 scholarship prize.
Disney’s Aida first bowed on Broadway in 2000. The production starred Heather Headley as Aida, Adam Pascal as Radames, and Sherie Renee Scott as Amneris. Nominated for five Tony Awards, the production took home four statues: Best Original Score for John and Rice, Best Actress in a Musical for Headley, Best Scenic Design for Bob Crowley, and Best Lighting Design for Natasha Katz.
There is buzz about an impending tour and Broadway revival directed by original cast member Schele Williams, though no official announcement has been made.