Whitewater Local Lauren Harkness is one of two Jerry Award Recipients to Advance to NYC for the 2019 JIMMY AWARDS®

Overture Center for the Arts announced that two Jerry Award ‘Outstanding Leading Performance’ recipients performed and were selected to advance to The Jimmy Awards®, also known as the National High School Musical Theatre Awards (NHSMTA), held in New York City. They will also be part of the Jerry Awards showcase at Overture Center on Sunday, June 9. Tickets are available now at overture.org/events/2019-jerry-awards.

Lauren Harkness | Junior at Whitewater High School in Whitewater, Wis.

  • Received one ‘Outstanding Leading Performance’ Jerry Award this year:
    • Olive Ostrovsky in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Christian Spaay | Senior at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee, Wis.

  • Received one ‘Outstanding Leading Performance’ Jerry Award this year:
    • Marius in Divine Savior Holy Angel’s production of Les Misérables 

Featuring dynamic ensemble and solo performances, the competition will feature 86 high school students from 43 regional programs across America. Nominees will be vying for the Jimmy Award for Best Performance by an Actor and Actress. This year, over 1,700 high schools and 100,000 students are participating in the events leading to the Jimmys Awards ceremony.

Tony Award®-Winner BEN PLATT will host the eleventh annual JIMMY AWARDS® ceremony on Monday, June 24th at 7:30 p.m. at the Minskoff Theatre, 200 West 45th Street in Manhattan. This marks his second time in the role. He first hosted the ceremony in 2017, the same year that he won the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for his performance in Dear Evan Hansen.

Tickets for The Jimmy Awards are now on sale and can be purchased by visiting JimmyAwards.com  or Ticketmaster.com. Prices range from $49 to $110. Premium seats are $350.

Details about the live stream of the event will be announced soon.

“Ben Platt is a tremendously talented performer who perfectly represents what Broadway is all about. He did an outstanding job when he first hosted the ceremony in 2017 and we are thrilled to have him return to the stage this year,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League. “Seeing these young artists step onto a Broadway stage for the first time after a week of intense training is unforgettable. It’s an evening that stays with you long after the lights have dimmed, not only for the 86 nominees competing but for everyone who will be watching and cheering them on.”

“I am thrilled to be back hosting the Jimmy Awards again this year. It is one of my favorite times of the year where everyone comes together to celebrate young talent with a passion for theatre,” said Ben Platt. “I look forward to seeing all of this year’s amazing performances.”

Student performers qualify 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. Since its inception in 2009, the National High School Musical Theatre Awards® (NHSMTA®) has enabled over $2,000,000 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.

NHSMTA nominees will prepare for their debut on a Broadway stage during a ten-day professional training intensive with NYU Tisch School of the Arts’ New Studio on Broadway faculty members plus other theatre professionals. Winners will be selected by a panel of industry experts.

Founded in 2009 by Nederlander Alliances LLC, Pittsburgh CLO, and Broadway Educational Alliance (BEA), the NHSMTA’s mission is to raise the profile of musical theatre in schools, recognize dedicated teachers and inspire the next generation of performers and enthusiasts. Also known as The Jimmy Awards, in honor of legendary Broadway producer/theatre owner James M. Nederlander, the NHSMTA is supported by many leading theatre industry organizations. More information about the National High School Musical Theatre Awards can be found at JimmyAwards.com.

The Broadway League administers the program through The Broadway League Foundation, which acts as its philanthropic arm. Part of the Foundation’s mission is to enlighten and increase the public’s knowledge, appreciation and awareness of the theatrical arts, and since its founding in 1993 has supported a number of projects to help preserve Broadway’s heritage and introduce new audiences to Broadway theatre. The Foundation is a corporation organized under the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law of the State of New York, the purposes of which are exclusively charitable as defined in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. Donations to support the program can be made at JimmyAwards.com.

At this year’s 2019 Jimmy Awards event, the INSPIRING TEACHER AWARD presented by WELLS FARGO will be bestowed to two teachers for the encouragement and inspiration that led their students to win the 2018 coveted Jimmy for Best Performance by an Actress and Best Performance by an Actor.

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