Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Oh, what a NIGHT!

The past couple of days have been an absolute whirlwind of excitement for the nominees!  Sunday brought a full morning of rehearsal before it was time to change for the first night with the Judges.  One by hilarious one, the medleys performed for our panel of judges, surrounded by the support of their chaperones and staff.  When the medleys concluded, it was on to the solo round.  Each nominee took their turn in the spotlight and gave their very best performance.  52 incredible performances later, the evening concluded with a vote by the group for the Spirit of the Jimmy Award.

Bright and early Monday morning we boarded the buses for the Minskoff where each nominee would take their first steps onto a Broadway stage.  The day was complete with a practice run-through including mics, lights and all that jazz. After dinner the nominees gathered with Van and Kiesha for a series of very special awards  After a review of these awards our two leaders awarded Madeline Mathias the Jimmy Award for Best Ensemble, Rayven Burdette the Jimmy Award for Most Improved and Drayton Maclean Mayers the Spirit of the Jimmy Award, which had been voted on his peers the night before. In addition, Kamari Saxon was selected by Carnegie Mellon University to attend the Carnegie Mellon University Six-Week Pre-College Drama Program!  Congratulations to these award winners - each a wonderful representation of hard work in their own right.

After LOTS of hugs and photos, the nominees headed to their respective dressing rooms before it was "PLACES," and the show was off an running with Tony Award-winning host Michael Cerveris at the helm and surprise special guests Tony Award-nominees Robbie Fairchild and Brandon Uranowitz from An American in Paris in the wings.  Finally, the time came to announce the finalists and you could feel the love on stage from each nominee as they cheered on the finalists - Alec Michael Ryan, Drayton Maclean Mayers, Anthony Skillman, Morgan Higgins, Marnie Quick and Marla Louissaint.  Solo after solo these sensational six dazzled the audience with their performances before making their way to the Minskoff lift through which they rose on stage for the final announcement.  A hush came over the crowd and the winners were announced - Anthony Skillman the M.A.C.Y. Awards and Marla Louissaint from the Gershwin Awards.  Congratulations to this dynamic duo, their fellow finalists, special Jimmy Award winners and each and every nominee who poured their heart out on stage.  From start to finish the show was as flawless as possible, with each nominee shining as bright as the lights on the Minskoff marquee.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Hi, My name is...

It's hard to believe that just two short days ago the nominees were introduced to their coaches.  After two days of coaching on their respective solos, they all poured into the rehearsal room first thing this morning to settle in for a full morning of solo performances.  This was the very first time they performed for the entire group, giving everyone a chance to shake out any nerves in preparation for tomorrow evening's performance for the judges.  The support felt in the room was incredible - each nominee cheering on their fellow performers and new-found friends.  After lunch and medley rehearsals it was back into the studio to work on the opening number, which is sure to blow the hair back of each and every audience member Monday night!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Puttin' on the Ritz

Dress Parade...
A "parade" for the creative team featuring all manners of dress involved in Monday night's show.

From opening number through closing each item that the participants wear is approved - just like a Broadway show! Last night's dress parade was full of smiles and lots of colorful costuming.  Now that final selections have been made it's off to a full day of medley rehearsal, coaching and more preparation for Monday at the Minskoff.

Last night brought more moments of excitement, one of which was courtesy of Tony Award-winning Director and Choreographer of An American in Paris, Christopher Wheeldon, who stopped by to pay the nominees a visit and talk about his interesting road to Broadway (which included the purchase of a vacuum cleaner in exchange for a plane ticket to NYC!).

Friday, June 26, 2015

Hello, NYC!

We're off an running at NYU! Wednesday was an exciting day filled with introductions a pizza party and then right into music rehearsal with our Music Director Michael Moricz.  Thursday morning came bright and early and the nominees hit the ground running with staging the opening number for Monday's show.  After an inspiring lunch discussion with Broadway legend Frank Wildhorn the group jumped into medley rehearsal and solo coaching with our incredible panel of industry coaches.  Then it was off to Times Square for dinner at the one-and-only Sardi's, a photo in Duffy Square and then the Tony Award-winning Broadway hit An American in Paris (and an AMAZING talk-back with the cast)!  Today (Friday) is a busy day complete with more solo coaching, medley rehearsal and work on the opening and closing numbers. Tonight? The DRESS PARADE, where the show starts to really come together visually with costumes, etc.  Before lights out we'll stage the finale then head home for some much-needed rest.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Did You Know...

The Jimmy Awards Nominees are on their way to New York City and will begin their first rehearsals TOMORROW!  Students will work though a five-day intensive with NYU Tisch School of the Arts that will prepare them for their Broadway debuts showcasing dynamic ensemble work and solo performances. During the seventh annual competition, they will be competing for the coveted Jimmy™ Award for Best Performance by an Actor and Actress on Monday, June 29th at 7:30 p.m. at the Miscoff Theatre, 200 West 45th St. in Manhattan. Plus, two-time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster will be hosting the ceremony!

Since its inception in 2009, the Jimmy™ Awards have enabled over $1,000,000 in university and conservatory scholarships to be awarded to talented students at the national and local level-several of whom have already been cast in Broadway, touring and West End productions.

Student performers qualified to compete in the national program by winning top honors at regional high school musical theatre awards competitions presented by Broadway League member performing arts centers. Over 1,000 high schools and 50,000 students participated in these annual events. To view the 2015 nominees click here!

Don’t forget to connect with us on Youtube, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for any and all Jimmy™ Awards 2015 updates! We’ll be following the students throughout the competition. Tickets for the Jimmy™ Awards can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com and range from $39 to $79. Premium seats are $175.