The Broadway San Diego Awards and that path back to the Jimmy Awards and the bright lights of Broadway are back in 2021! After a pause in 2020 due to the unfolding health crisis due to Covid, Broadway San Diego worked very hard to formulate a way to hold the competition virtually this year. Broadway San Diego General Manager Vanessa Davis talks about adapting this competition for this year and how this competition and awards celebrate the talent, work, and resilience of the local performers.
Before the twenty nominated high school students can compete in the 2021 Virtual Broadway San Diego Awards competition on May 20th, 2021, the competition needs nominations from talented theatre education from San Diego County. Categories as Best Actor and Best Actress and each educator can nominate up to four students for the local competition. Winners of the local competition will represent San Diego at the Jimmy Awards virtual completion in July.
The Jimmy Awards is not only a competition but also a showcase of talented theatre students from around the country in front of theatre professionals in New York and beyond. Some notable Jimmy Awards contestants who have gone on to professional careers include Eva Noblezada in 2013 who made her Broadway debut in the revival of MISS SAIGON, Jai’Len Josey who debuted on Broadway in SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS, Andrew Barth Feldman in 2018 who made his Broadway debut as Evan Hansen in DEAR EVAN HANSEN, and more!
Vanessa Davis, as the General Manager of Broadway San Diego, is responsible along with her team for not only bringing Broadway to our local stage but also in helping local theatre students find their place in the spotlight. That’s why it was so important to find a way for San Diego performers to compete this year.
“Once we learned that New York would host a virtual program this year, we knew we wanted to extend the opportunity locally. With the support of our title sponsor, San Diego County Credit Union, we set out to determine the best format for our seventh annual competition. Traditionally, the competition follows the Tony Awards style model, where actors from lead roles in musicals produced by the schools are adjudicated in-person by industry-related community volunteers. This year’s virtual competition’s most significant change is moving to an audition process, which will allow students to submit their performances by video. We will still have adjudicators and judges (local Arts leaders), but the participation process will more convenient.”
Davis says she is excited to have this competition back and that they took into account all of the ways school, theatre, and performing have changed in the last year when crafting the parameters for this year.
“We are excited to have more students throughout the county participate. The audition style invites theatre teachers to nominate four (4) students, waives the entrance fees and the requirement to produce a musical. While schools are still distance learning, we hope these changes make it more convenient and easier for students who have not been able to participate in the past for logistical reasons.”
More than anything though, Davis says that the chance to celebrate the amazing students and the talent that San Diego schools have to offer is what inspires her and her team and gives her hope for the future.
“I am continually impressed and encouraged by their resilience. We have asked a lot from high school students today. They have had a front-row seat to a health crisis and have led conversations about political and social changes that would typically extend well beyond their years. Simultaneously, the traditional rites of passage, Homecoming, School Plays, Sports, Proms, and Graduations had to adjust or postpone altogether, so it’s vital to adapt where we can. I truly believe the future of the arts lies with our beloved “theatre geeks,” and we all have a responsibility to nurture them and then move out their way!”
If you are a theatre educator or know one, you have until Friday, February 19th to nominate the students to participate in this competition.
San Diego County High School theatre educators can nominate up to four (4) students from each school. Nominations must be made through the online nomination form by Friday, February 19, 2021, at 11:59pm. No entry fees are required for the 2021 competition and high schools do not need to produce a musical for students to be eligible. Full application details, as well as rules and regulations, can be found at http://www.Awards.BroadwaySD.com
You can follow Broadway San Diego and get updates on this competition as well as the status of their upcoming theatre season at www.broadwaysd.com
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