The 2018 Jimmy® Awards at the Minskoff Theatre: And the Winners Are!

The 10th Annual Jimmy® Awards, presented by The Broadway League Foundation and Pittsburgh CLO on Monday, June 25, at the Minskoff Theatre, provided an evening of high-energy entertainment showcasing the impressive talents of 80 regional musical-theater high-school students in both ensemble performances and medleys with featured solos. Tony Award-winner Laura Benanti served as host, bringing her engaging personality and hilarious sense of humor to the event, contributing personal anecdotes about her own background in musical theater, and addressing the importance of The Jimmys to support the next generation of theater artists.

2018 Jimmy® Awards nominees with guest speakers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Photo by Henry McGee/NHSMTA.
2018 Jimmy® Awards nominees with guest speakers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Photo by Henry McGee/NHSMTA.

Joining Benanti were Broadway luminary Ari’el Stachel, who presented a video of the nominees’ past week in New York while preparing for their Broadway debut (including a session with guest speakers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul); Jimmy® Award alumni Nathan Salstone, Kyle Selig, and Jai’Len Christine Li Josey, all appearing in current Broadway shows; and the Disney Channel’s Cozi Zuehlsdorff and Heidi Blickenstaff, who introduced the students in a lively Disney production number, offering a promotional tribute and review of the media giant’s history on Broadway.

Following the preliminary musical segments, directed by Van Kaplan, choreographed by Keisha Lalama, and masterfully arranged by Conductor Michael Moricz, a panel of judges selected eight finalists – Riley Thad Young (Memphis, TN), J.R. Heckman (Cleveland, OH), Andrew Barth Feldman (New York, NY), Darian Goulding (Chicago, IL), Emily Escobar (Tampa, FL), Sabrina Astle (La Mirada, CA), Marisa Ines Moenho (Palm Springs, CA), and Renée Rapp (Charlotte, NC) – each of whom then took to the stage for a solo number in the spotlight. The event culminated in the presentation of awards and cash prizes in the following categories to Broadway’s stars of tomorrow:

Renée Rapp. Photo courtesy of The Jimmy® Awards.
Renée Rapp. Photo courtesy of The Jimmy® Awards.

Best Performance by an Actor – Andrew Barth Feldman (New York, NY);

Best Performance by an Actress – Renée Rapp (Charlotte, NC);

Best Performance in an Ensemble – Hannah Kanter (Los Angeles, CA);

Best Dancer – John Zamborsky (Orlando, FL);

Rising Star Award – Halle Surgil (Midland, PA);

Spirit of The Jimmys – (tie) Daniel Kohanbash (Los Angeles, CA) and Garrett Morris (Houston, TX);

Special Recognition Scholarships – Zach Fogel (La Mirada, CA), Veronica Ballejos (San Jose, CA), Elisha Horne (Denver, CO), Amelia Beckham (Memphis, TN), Noah Tobery (Midland, PA), and Britta Rae Cowan (Minneapolis, MN);

6-Week Pre-College Drama Summer Program Scholarship – Andrew Barth Feldman (New York, NY).

Andrew Barth Feldman. Photo courtesy of The Jimmy® Awards.
Andrew Barth Feldman. Photo courtesy of The Jimmy® Awards.

Along with the student honors, Wells Fargo’s Inspiring Teacher Awards were given to Nadine Love (William R. Boone High School, Orlando, FL) and Janine Papin (Trinity Preparatory School in Winter Park, FL), in recognition of their encouragement and guidance of students who took the top honors in 2017.

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners, and kudos to all participating students, programs, and sponsors of musical theater!

Running Time: Approximately three hours and 10 minutes.

The Jimmy® Awards were presented on Monday, June 25, 2018, at the Minskoff Theater – 200 West 45th Street, New York City.

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Deb Miller
Deb Miller (PhD, Art History) is the Senior Correspondent and Editor for New York City, where she grew up seeing every show on Broadway. She is an active member of the Outer Critics Circle and served for more than a decade as a Voter, Nominator, and Judge for the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre. Outside of her home base in NYC, she has written and lectured extensively on the arts and theater throughout the world (including her many years in Amsterdam, London, and Venice, and her extensive work and personal connections with Andy Warhol and his circle) and previously served as a lead writer for Stage Magazine, Phindie, and Central Voice.


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