2009 Jimmy Award-Winners Announced

by Jacob Coakley


High School performers from across the country perform in The Jimmy Awards opening number
High School performers from across the country perform in The Jimmy Awards opening number

NEW YORK and PITTSBURGH—Nederlander Alliances, LLC and Pittsburgh CLO, co-producers and founding partners of The National High School Musical Theater Awards, presented the first annual Jimmy Awards in a ceremony held Monday night at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, New York University.  The awards show was hosted by television and theatre personality Kathie Lee Gifford.  Awards were presented by multiple Tony Award-winner Tommy Tune (The Will Rogers Follies, Grand Hotel); Broadway veterans Neil Haskell (9 to 5 the Musical, “So You Think You Can Dance” ); Norm Lewis (The Little Mermaid, Les Misérables); and Jason Tam (A Chorus Line, “One Life to Live”).


The Jimmy Award for Best Performance by an Actress was awarded to Jenny Wine from Wichita, Kan. She represented the Music Theatre of Wichita’s Jester Awards.

The Jimmy Award for Best Performance by an Actor was awarded to Stephen Mark from Norwich, Conn. He represented the Spirit of Broadway Theater’s Connecticut High School Musical Theater Awards.

Both winners are eligible for four-year scholarship assistance to attend the NYU Tisch School of the Arts Department of Drama, contingent upon acceptance into the program. In addition, The Nederlander Organization presented both winners with a check for $10,000 to help these talented students pursue their dreams.

This year’s honorees were chosen from a field of talented high school students representing regional competitions in the United States. The National High School Musical Theater Awards participants took part in five days of musical theatre rehearsals, master classes, private coaching sessions and interviews with theatre professionals at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.  Winners were chosen by a panel of industry experts including Scott Ellis (Roundabout Theatre Company); Kent Gash (Tisch School of the Arts); Montego Glover (Memphis, The Color Purple); Alecia Parker (NAMCO); Nick Scandalios (Nederlander Organization and Bernie Telsey (Telsey + Company, MCC Theater).

Two arts education awards were also presented during the ceremony.

The Jimmy Award for an Outstanding Arts Education Program was presented to Paula Ohaus from Hoboken High School in Hoboken, New Jersey.  She was nominated by Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey.  The award was created to honor a high school teacher or administrator who demonstrated an enduring commitment to quality performing arts education. Ohaus proactively seeks opportunities for her students to see live theatre and to learn about the creative process and business.  She also runs a young critics program. The award includes a $5,000 cash prize to be used for the winner’s arts program.

Camp Broadway also presented a Jimmy Award to Lynda Hodges, an arts advocate and theatre educator at Dr. Sun Yat Sen Middle School 131 in the Chinatown neighborhood of New York City.  Ms. Hodges is a dedicated New York City theatre teacher who for 15 years has worked to introduce Shakespeare to Asian, Hispanic and African American children—many of whom learned English as a second language. Camp Broadway supported Ms. Hodges’ efforts with a $500 gift and will provide her school with StageNotes lesson plans; an in-school residency on musical theatre; the rights to a musical from Theatrical Rights Worldwide catalog and the opportunity for her 6th, 7th and 8th grade class and her theatre club to see a Broadway show.

The NHS Musical Theater Awards is a national celebration of outstanding student achievement recognizing individual artistry in vocal, dance and acting performance by high school students. The Jimmy Award is named in honor of legendary Broadway theatre owner and producer James M. Nederlander.  The award features an illustration of James M. Nederlander drawn by world renowned artist Al Hirschfeld.

The following professional regional theatres were represented at the competition: Casa Mañana, Forth Worth, TX; Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, Atlanta, GA; FCLO Music Theatre, Fullerton, CA; Helen Hayes Youth Theatre, Nyack, NY; Hershey Theatre, Hershey, PA; Kansas City Starlight Theatre, Kansas, MO; McCoy Rigby Entertainment, Yorba Linda , CA; Music Theatre of Wichita, Wichita, KS; North Carolina Theatre, Raleigh, NC; North Shore Music Theatre, Beverly, MA; Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn, NJ; Pittsburgh CLO, Pittsburgh, PA; Rochester Broadway Theatre League, Rochester, NY; The Old Globe, San Diego, CA; The Spirit of Broadway Theater, Norwich, CT; and Theatre Under the Stars, Houston, TX.

Additional information is also available on The National High School Musical Theater’s web site, www.nhsmta.com.