Broadway In Chicago is delighted to announce the 24 student nominees for Best Performer in an Actor and Actress role, nominees for Best Ensemble, Best Direction and Best Production for the 2023 Broadway In Chicago Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards (IHSMTA). In its 12th year, IHSMTA celebrates excellence in high school theatre throughout the State of Illinois and is the regional program that feeds into the National High School Musical Theatre Awards also known as The Jimmy Awards®.
The 24 high school student-nominees, selected from over 200 student applicants from 71 participating schools across the state of Illinois, have been invited to participate in the Awards Program, which will be held at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place (175 E. Chestnut) on Monday, May 22, 2023, at 6:30 PM, hosted by Program Sponsor NBC 5’s entertainment reporter LeeAnn Trotter.
During the ceremony, the nominees will perform two musical numbers from Disney’s Aladdin, which will play the Cadillac Palace Theatre from May 17 – 28, 2023. The students are taught the musical numbers by a show representative and given the experience to work with a Broadway professional on a Broadway stage. Additionally, an Aladdin representative sits on the panel of judges made up of industry professionals in the city of Chicago to adjudicate and select the top six finalists and eventual Best Performer in an Actor and Best Performer in an Actress Role.
NOMINEES FOR BEST PERFORMER IN AN ACTRESS ROLE
NOMINEES FOR BEST PERFORMER IN AN ACTOR ROLE
From the 24 nominees, two Illinois award recipients (one Best Performer in an Actor Role, one Best Performer in an Actress Role) will go on an all-expense-paid trip to New York City to represent the State of Illinois at The Jimmy Awards® and participate in a week-long theatre intensive of coaching and rehearsals with industry professionals in preparation for a one-night-only showcase on Broadway, where a panel of judges crowns the nation’s top performers. 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 be a part of the network of theatres across the country participating in The Jimmy Awards®.
For the first time since 2019, IHSMTA welcomes back three award categories: Best Ensemble, Best Direction and Best Production. Best Ensemble evaluates how the ensemble both on and off stage is utilized appropriately throughout the entire show, as well as their overall proficiency in the areas of singing, acting dancing and technical theatre efforts off stage. Best Direction evaluates how the director has used all the elements at their disposal to create the strongest production they can with their available resources. Best Productions evaluates the overall excellence of the production and considers all the above elements. Best Production is awarded to a school who produces an outstanding example of a high school musical.
NOMINEES FOR BEST ENSEMBLE
NOMINEES FOR BEST DIRECTION
NOMINEES FOR BEST PRODUCTION
In addition to welcoming back the three award categories, IHSMTA selected a Student Reporter to cover the 2023 award ceremony through social media. This year’s recipient is Rebecca Spezzano from Geneva Community High School. Spezzano has also been submitted for the Jimmy Awards® Student Reporter search. The Student Reporter opportunity has been added to the program as an effort to include students who are not eligible to be nominated as performers. This provides a chance to expand connections into local schools’ journalism, film, and other related departments. Student Reporters work directly with the Jimmy Awards Digital team which allows them to receive an insider look at the digital marketing strategy of Jimmy Awards coverage while gaining insight into the field as a whole. Student Reporters will be notified and selected by the Jimmy Awards® on or around June 1.
The Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards have proven to be a steppingstone 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, has recently appeared in the National Tour of HADESTOWN and is in the current revival of SWEENEY TODD on Broadway. John Clay III (2013 IHSMTA Best Actor) made his Broadway debut in CHOIR BOY and is currently in NEW YORK, NEW YORK on Broadway. Jack Cahill-Lemme (2016 Best Actor) recently appeared in the North American tour of MOULIN ROUGE! THE MUSICAL, which premiered in Chicago in 2022. Cecilia Trippiedi (2016 IHSMTA Best Actress) joined the National Tour of HADESTOWN in 2022 which will play at the CIBC Theatre June 20-25. Additionally, Jacob Simon (2019 IHSMTA Best Actor) joined the National Tour of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF in 2022, Wren Rivera (2017 IHSMTA Nominee) made their Broadway debut in JAGGED LITTLE PILL, and Joy Woods (2018 IHSMTA Finalist) made her Broadway debut in March 2022, joining the Broadway cast of SIX.
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, Darian Goulding (2018 IHSMTA Best Actor) was a 2018 Jimmy Award® finalist, and Jacob Simon (2019 IHSMTA Best Actor) was the recipient of the 2019 Rising Star Award from The Jimmy Awards®.
The 71 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. In years past, students performed with the casts of DEAR EVAN HANSEN and HAMILTON at Broadway In Chicago’s Summer Concert at Millennium Park, and performed with HAMILTON Chicago Company’s Miguel Cervantes (Alexander Hamilton) at the Illinois Bicentennial Birthday Party at Navy Pier. Most recently students performed at Sunday’s On State, the Chicago Loop Alliance activation inviting people back to the loop after the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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