The Jimmy Awards are returning to an in-person format for the first time in three years.
The 13th annual awards ceremony, as part of the National High School Musical Theater Awards program, will be held at the Minskoff Theatre on June 27 at 7:30 p.m. Kate Reinders will host.
Broadway News was in attendance as the 92 nominees from schools across the United States rehearsed Friday morning at the Juilliard School.
Under the direction of Van Kaplan with choreography by Kiesha Lalama, the students rehearsed their opening medley, featuring songs from the current Broadway season combined with moments from long-running musicals.
Lalama was heard reminding students to find stillness between moments, but also to find joy.
“Professionals have fun,” she said.
“It’s that joy that we want to see,” Kaplan added.
The nominees hail from 46 high school musical theater awards competitions around the country.
Two of the nominees, Amelia Gibbons and Ryan James Sweeney, said that meeting other students who share the same passion has been one of the highlights of the week-long process of preparing for the big ceremony.
“The energy in the room is phenomenal,” Gibbons said.
“The saturation of talent in this room is so unbelievable,” Sweeney added.
“It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. It’s so inspiring,” he said.
Gibbons and Sweeney are just two of the dozens of nominees who will perform at Monday night’s ceremony. Throughout the week, students have the opportunity to work with industry coaches who mentor the nominees, including Desi Oakley, Max Chernin, Howard McGillin, Janet Dacal, MaryAnn Hu, Denis Jones and Jacques Smith.
In an early afternoon coaching session with about a dozen students, Hu provided words of wisdom.
“Be present and pay attention,” she said.
Students presented their solo pieces, ranging from “Next to Normal” to “She Loves Me” to “Once on This Island,” and more.
The judging panel for the ceremony includes Tim Federle, Montego Glover, Brian Moreland, Alecia Parker, Tara Rubin and Bernie Telsey. The panel will select two students who will take home the grand prizes for Best Performance by an Actress and Best Performance by an Actor.
Other prizes and scholarships will also be awarded during the ceremony.
A separate panel will judge the nominees ahead of the actual ceremony. Those judges include Kristian Charbonier, Stephanie Klapper, Kevin Metzger-Timson, Dale Mott and Seth Sklar-Heyn.
Previous winners of the Jimmy Awards include Kyle Selig, Andrew Barth Feldman, Renee Rapp and Jai’Len Christine Li Josey.
Gibbons and Sweeney are excited at the prospect of adding to that legacy.
“To hopefully become a role model for someone, I want to show people that they are capable of so much more than they realize,” Gibbons said.
“You, too, can be a high schooler and be on a Broadway stage.”