Skip to content

Gretchen Shope and Damson Chola Jr. named winners of 2024 Jimmy Awards

Finalists were also revealed at the 15th annual ceremony.

(L-R) Gretchen Shope, Josh Groban and Damson Chola Jr. at the 15th annual Jimmy Awards ceremony (Credit: Tricia Baron)

The winners and finalists of the National High School Musical Theatre Awards (known as the Jimmys) were announced at a June 24 ceremony hosted by Josh Groban at the Minskoff Theatre. The awards, now in its 15th year, honors achievement in high school-level theater. Local awards programs, based out of performing arts centers across the country, sent 102 students to compete in a week-long training program that preceded the awards ceremony.

Gretchen Shope won for Best Performance by an Actress, while Damson Chola Jr. was awarded the citation for Best Performance by an Actor. 

Shope, representing the Sutton Foster Awards in East Lansing, MI, performed “The Music That Makes Me Dance” from “Funny Girl” in the finalist round, while Chola, a participant from the Broadway Dallas High School Musical Theatre Awards, sang “Make Them Hear You” from “Ragtime.” The award comes with a check for $25,000 each, presented by the Nederlander Organization, to assist in furthering their education. 

Additionally, six finalists were selected: Fabiola Caraballo Quijada (Broadway Dallas High School Musical Theatre Awards), Peter Dessert (Blue Star Awards in Kansas City), Catherine Dosier (Spirit of the MACY Awards in La Mirada, California), Luke Martin (Nevada High School Musical Theater Awards in Las Vegas), Samia Posadas (Monte Awards in Tucson, Arizona) and James Thibault (Stephen Sondheim Awards in New Haven). The finalists each received $5,000 towards their future education, presented by the musical “MJ.”

A slate of noncompetitive honors were awarded, as well, all of which came with a $2,500 scholarship.

Quijada won the SCAD Achievement Scholarship, presented by Savannah College of Art and Design.

Samara Follette (Nebraska High School Theater Academy in Omaha) won the Rising Star, which recognizes impressive advancement during the Jimmy Awards program, presented by the John Gore Organization.

The award for Best Dancer, presented by the Shubert Organization, was given to Alana Hogan (Broadway Star of the Future in Tampa). 

Hayden Poe (Shuler Hensley Awards in Atlanta) was cited with the Spirit of the Jimmys, presented by Thomas Schumacher, for embodying the spirit of the Jimmys’ musical theater celebration.

For their outstanding collaboration during the Jimmys week, five individuals received the Outstanding Performance in an Ensemble Award, co-presented by M·A·C and No Guarantees: Savannah Carrasco (Utah High School Musical Theatre Awards in Logan, Utah), Connor Egloff (Miami Valley High School Theatre Awards in Dayton, Ohio), Spencer Kearns (Broadway San Diego Awards in San Diego), Cameron Krauss (Philadelphia Independence Awards in Philadelphia) and Sophie Rose (Discovery Awards in Tulsa).

Founded in 2009 by Nederlander Alliances LLC, Pittsburgh CLO, and Broadway Education Alliance, the Jimmy Awards is presented by the Broadway League Foundation, the philanthropic division of the Broadway League.