The Jimmys Honors Student Actors
High school musicals get a night on Broadway
Adult theater actors have the Tonys, but high school hopefuls have the Jimmys! Veteran performer Kathie Lee Gifford hosted the 2nd Annual National High School Musical Theatre Awards -- called the Jimmys -- at the Marquis Theater in New York City this week.
The awards celebrate outstanding student achievement by recognizing individual young actors for their onstage talents. Named after Broadway producer and theatre owner James Nederlander, the Jimmys were decided and presented after 44 high school students went through five days of interviews, private coaching, master classes, and rehearsals.
|Kid Reporter Cecilia Gault interviews Kathie Lee Gifford, host of the 2nd Annual High School Musical Theater Awards known as the Jimmys. (Photo courtesy Cecilia Gault)|
The competitors were selected from nearly 1,000 schools across the nation. While in New York they worked with professionals from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and Camp Broadway.
This year, The Jimmy Awards for Best Performances went to Alexandria Payne, from Tri-Cities High School in East Point, Georgia, and Kyle Selig, of Huntington Beach High School, Huntington Beach, California. Each student received a $10,000 scholarship. Three other students received $2,500 scholarships.
They also got some good advice from Gifford, who is currently a co-host of The Today Show on NBC.
"Dreaming big and having a good work ethic is the key to become a successful performer on stage," Gifford said. "You must love performing more than anything in the world. Performing must be the one thing you dream about when you go to sleep and you can't wait to do it every morning when you wake up."
Exposure to Broadway's shows and veterans doesn't hurt either, says Krysta Rodriguez, who plays Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family.
"I saw a lot of plays when I was a kid," she told the Scholastic Kids Press Corps. "It is very important to see a lot of plays and musicals to improve your eyes, ears, and skills."
Hunter Ryan Herdicka from A Little Night Music agrees with both Gifford and Rodriguez.
To be a successful actor you have to "see shows and go to auditions and want this more than anything," he said. Hendicka added that no matter how much he performs, he still gets nervous before performing.
"Being nervous is the fuel that gives you power," he said.
Just imagine the power backstage at the Marquis Theater on Monday night with 44 high school students nervously awaiting their cues!
"I didn't want to miss it," Tommy Tune told the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.
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