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15 years ago, the Jimmy Awards began changing the American theater for the better

The National High School Musical Theater Awards celebrates its 15th anniversary.

Andrew Barth Feldman at the 2018 Jimmy Awards afterparty at Planet Hollywood in New York City on June 25, 2018 (Credit: Henry McGee/NHSMTA)

In recent years, the National High School Musical Theater Awards (a.k.a. the Jimmy Awards) have become known as a Broadway pipeline for talent. Eva Noblezada was a 2013 Jimmys finalist and is now a two-time Tony Award nominee for her turns in “Miss Saigon” and “Hadestown.” Andrew Barth Feldman won Best Actor at the 2018 Jimmys before replacing in the title role of Broadway’s “Dear Evan Hansen.” Reneé Rapp won Best Actress that same year before being cast in Broadway’s “Mean Girls” as Regina George, a role she re-created for the 2024 movie version. Not to mention Main Stem actors such as Antonio Cipriano, McKenzie Kurtz and Jake Pedersen, all of whom are alumni of the Jimmys.

That Broadway-Jimmys connection “is important,” said Rachel Reiner, executive director of the Awards. “But it’s not the only reason we do the Jimmys.” 

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