The joy was palpable for 2018 Jimmy Awards Best Performance by an Actor winner Andrew Barth Feldman, who chatted with Broadway News before the ceremony.
“It feels like I’m brought back to the hours before everything in my life changed forever,” he said.
“I’m just so excited knowing that’s what going to be happening to these incredible nominees.”
Feldman went on to play the title role in Broadway’s “Dear Evan Hansen” following his win. The other winner Feldman’s year was Reneé Rapp, who also went on to appear on Broadway in “Mean Girls.”
Since the Jimmy Awards launched in 2009, more than 20 nominees, finalists, and winners have gone on to land roles on Broadway and in National Tours.
Currently, there are at least six nominees and winners from the awards program’s 13-year history in Broadway shows and another eight touring across the country.
Adam J. Levy, an alum of the 2012 ceremony and presenter at Monday night’s ceremony, spoke to Broadway News about the importance of the Jimmy Awards in impacting the next generation of theater artists.
“Ten years ago I came here to experience New York for the first time, and my week at the Jimmys inspired me to move to New York right out of high school.
“Based on the connections I had made here, I was able to forge ahead and build these relationships, and that’s 100% led me to be where I am.”
Now, Levy is making his Broadway debut as a swing in “Moulin Rouge! The Musical.”
And he’s not the only one.
Mateo Lizcano, a 2021 nominee, is currently the Evan Alternate and Connor understudy in “Dear Evan Hansen” on Broadway.
Lizcano attended Monday night’s ceremony after experiencing the Jimmys virtually in 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic raged on.
Even though last year’s process and ceremony were a departure from the in-person camaraderie, Lizcano told Broadway News, “It was really a fantastic experience.”
“Seeing all of the amazingly talented performers your own age just makes you feel so good.”
Regardless of whether or not the nominees win, the experiences will stay with them long after the week concludes.
Monday night’s big winners were Kendall Becerra and Nicholas Barrón, who were picked from a pool consisting of 92 students representing 46 high school musical theater awards competitions around the country.
And while winning the top awards is an honor, Feldman said: “That wasn’t the memory that sticks with me.”
“It was the connections I made that week and the people, the talent that I got to be near.”
“I look back on it more fondly than I can say. It was the greatest week.”