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Recipients of 2019 Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards Announced

In celebration of outstanding achievement in high school musical theatre performances, Broadway In Chicago is thrilled to announce the award recipients of the Eighth Annual Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards (IHSMTA) sponsored by NBC 5: Jacob Simon of Deerfield, IL (Deerfield High School) as BEST ACTOR for his portrayal of “Bobby Child” in CRAZY FOR YOU  and Marguerite Reed of Palos Park, IL (Mother McAuley High School) as BEST ACTRESS for her portrayal of “Betty Haynes” in IRVING BERLIN’S WHITE CHRISTMAS. Jacob and Marguerite will represent the state of Illinois at The Jimmy Awards® (also known as The National High School Musical Theatre Awards®) in New York on June 24, 2019.

Cary-Grove High School was awarded Best Production presented by Guardian Music Travel for their production of ALL SHOOK UP and Benet Academy was awarded Best Scenic Design presented by SPL, celebrating excellence in scenic design, for their production of PIPPIN (designed by Ramon Marth and Charlie Pipal). Susan S. Gorman was awarded the Best Direction Award for her direction of Deerfield High School’s production of CRAZY FOR YOU. Two new categories were presented this year: Cary-Grove High School was awarded Best Choreography for their production of ALL SHOOK UP (choreographed by Amy Krigas), and Libertyville High School was awarded Best Ensemble for their production of PIPPIN.

On Monday, May 6, Broadway In Chicago crafted a full day of workshops with theatre professionals for twenty-four nominees that culminated in a performance on stage at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place. During the day, nominees performed for a panel of casting agents and theater professionals who chose the recipients of performance awards.

In addition to a workshop led by CHICAGO THE MUSICAL cast member Christophe Caballero (Dance Captain/Swing), whose previous theatrical credits include four Broadway shows including original Tony®-winning companies of La Cage Aux Folles & Jerome Robbins’ Broadway (who also performed at the Tony Awards® during each of the last three decades), each nominee received tickets to CHICAGO THE MUSICAL. 

BEST ACTOR Jacob Simon and BEST ACTRESS Marguerite Reed will be sent to New York City, on an all-expense paid trip, for a week-long theatre intensive of coaching and rehearsals with industry professionals in preparation for a one-night-only showcase, where they will represent the state of Illinois at The Jimmy Awards® on Broadway, on Monday, June 24, 2019. 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 join the network of theatres across the country participating in The Jimmy Awards®.

The Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards have proven to be a stepping stone for young performers, with several appearing in Broadway productions. Nathan Salstone (2012 IHSMTA Best Actor) made his Broadway debut in HARRY POTTER & THE CURSED CHILD, and John Clay III (2013 IHSMTA Best Actor) made his Broadway debut this year in CHOIR BOY. Other Illinois winners have also been successful at The Jimmy Awards®: Jonah Rawitz (2014 IHSMTA Best Actor) was awarded the 2014 Jimmy Award® for Best Performance by an Actor, Cecilia Trippiedi (2016 IHSMTA Best Actress) was awarded the 2016 Jimmy Award® for Best Dancer, and Darian Goulding (2018 IHSMTA Best Actor) was a 2018 Jimmy Award® finalist.

The 72 participating high schools involved in the program are given opportunities to see Broadway In Chicago shows and receive invitations to special events throughout the year. Recently, students performed with the cast of DEAR EVAN HANSEN (including the star of the National Tour Ben Levi Ross) at Broadway In Chicago’s Summer Concert at Millennium Park, in addition to performing with HAMILTON Chicago Company’s Miguel Cervantes (Alexander Hamilton) at the Illinois Bicentennial Birthday Party at Navy Pier.

For more information on The Jimmy Awards®, also known as the National High School Musical Theatre Awards®, visit For more information on both awards and complete rules and regulations, visit