Thursday, April 25, 2013

Illinois High School Musical Theater Award Finalists



Awards Program to be Held at the Broadway Playhouse Monday, April 29
Talented Young Performers will Compete to Represent Illinois in
The National High School Musical Theater Awards
"The Jimmy™ Awards," named after James M. Nederlander

ANYTHING GOES National Tour Cast Member Sean McKnight Coaches Students

Broadway In Chicago is thrilled to announce the twenty-four finalists for the Second Annual Illinois High School Musical Theater Awards in celebration of outstanding achievement in high school musical theater performances.  The finalists (12 young actors & 12 young actresses) have been invited to participate in the Awards program, which will be held at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place (175 E. Chestnut St.) on Monday, April 29, 2013.

In preparation for the Awards program, the twenty-four finalists will receive direction and coaching from ANYTHING GOES National Tour cast member Sean McKnight.  McKnight will teach the high school students “Anything Goes” choreography which the students will perform at the final awards ceremony at the conclusion of Monday's events.

The finalists will audition in front of Chicago's top theatre professionals, including Eileen LaCario (Vice President of Broadway In Chicago), Sean McKnight (Anything Goes National Tour), Dominic Missimi (Former Director and Founder of Northwestern University’s Music Theater program), and Sam Samuelson (Film, Television and Theatre Agent, Stewart Talent).  In addition to their day with the Broadway In Chicago team, all finalists will receive tickets to see ANYTHING GOES at the Cadillac Palace Theatre.

From the twenty-four finalists, one actor and one actress will be chosen to represent Illinois in the finals in New York.  These two talented young stars will be provided with an all-expense paid trip to participate in a performance enrichment program, representing the state of Illinois at the National High School Musical Theater Awards, June 26 – July 2, 2013.  On Monday, July 1, 2013, the students will perform at the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway where a panel of judges will choose two students for the coveted awards of Best Performance by an Actor and Best Performance by an Actress.  The National High School Musical Theater Awards, also known as The Jimmy™ Awards, are named for legendary Broadway theater owner and producer James M. Nederlander.  Broadway In Chicago is a Nederlander presentation, and is excited to participate again with a network of theatres across the country participating in The Jimmys™.

Name Hometown High School
Allison Atkenson Palos Park Amos Alonzo Stagg High School
Eyeri Cabrera-Loos Chicago The Chicago High School for the Arts
Joe Cavaiani Arlington Heights Buffalo Grove High School
John Clay III Oak Park Oak Park River Forest High School
Jennifer Leigh Coren Riverwoods Deerfield High School
Brennan Davis Edwardsville Edwardsville High School
Claudia Dockery Naperville Benet Academy
Katie Frye Delavan Delavan High School
Hannah Gleason Plainfield Providence Catholic High School
Molly Hernandez Glen Ellyn Glenbard West High School
Megan Joyner Marion Marion High School
Christopher Kelly Flossmoor Homewood-Flossmoor High School
Jacob Laden-Guindon Chicago Northside College Preparatory High School
Alex Levy Buffalo Grove Adlai S. Stevenson High School
Franco Longobardi Arlington Heights Prospect High School
Ben Love Byron Byron High School
Reagan Pender Chicago Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School
De'Jah Perkins Chicago The Chicago High School for the Arts
Alejandro Raya Moline Moline Senior High School
Andrea Schumann Lake Barrington Barrington High School
Taylor Marie Sherry St. Charles St. Charles North High School
Lauren Van Speybroeck Rock Island Alleman High School
Marianna Veneri Niles Maine East High School
Ben Viette Belvidere Belvidere North High School

The National High School Musical Theater Awards (NHSMTA) was established in 2009 to elevate the importance of theater arts education in schools and reward excellence in student performance.  The program impacts over 50,000 students annually who participate in high school musical theater competitions sponsored by thirty professional theatres throughout the US.

Since its inception, NHSMTA has been the catalyst for more than $750,000 in educational scholarships awarded to deserving young performers.  Also known as The Jimmy™ Awards, named for Broadway impresario James M. Nederlander, this year-round program is administered by the Broadway Education Alliance (BEA) a New York based non-profit corporation dedicated to supporting initiatives that inspire creativity, build confidence and stimulate critical thinking in America’s youth.  NHSMTA is BEA’s first national initiative.

Thanks to the support of its participating professional regional theatres and donors, NHSMTA continues to grow.  This year the program inspired PBS to produce a 3-part documentary series called “Broadway or Bust,” which follows students on a journey from their hometown competitions to their debut on Broadway at the Minskoff Theatre.  The series, which premiered in September 2012, was showcased in 100% of PBS's Top 50 strategic markets and is one of their most highly rated programs.  It continues to be aired on stations across the country, and along with dozens of additional online video segments, remains popular viewing around the clock and around the world at

The depth, scope and education-centric mission of NHSMTA coupled with its extensive television and media exposure has made participating in the program an aspiration for a growing number of high schools.  Based on feedback from participating theatres, school administrators are now directing both human and financial resources to improve the quality of theatre arts education in their districts.  This renewed enthusiasm for the performing arts in schools is already helping to invigorate local theaters and the communities they serve.   For more information, please visit

Broadway In Chicago was created in July 2000 and over the past 13 years has grown to be one of the largest commercial touring homes in the country. A Nederlander Presentation, Broadway In Chicago lights up the Chicago Theater District entertaining well up to 1.7 million people annually in five theatres.  Broadway In Chicago presents a full range of entertainment, including musicals and plays, on the stages of five of the finest theatres in Chicago’s Loop including the Bank of America Theatre, Oriental Theatre, Cadillac Palace Theatre, the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University and just off the Magnificent Mile, the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place.
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