Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Interview: Catching Up with 2021 Jimmy Awards Winner Bryson Battle

The 2022 Jimmy Awards ceremony will take place on Monday, June 27, 2022.

It's been one year since Bryson Battle took center stage as a winner of the 12th annual Jimmy Awards. As a participant from Charlotte, North Carolina's Blumey Awards, Battle took part in the first ever virtual presentation on July 15, 2021, and was awarded Best Performance by an Actor, along with a check for $25,000 to further his education.

As the 92 Jimmy Awards nominees begin to prepare for the 2022 ceremony (in person for the first time in three years), BroadwayWorld is checking in with Bryson to catch up on what he's been up to since his big win, as well as advice for this year's participants. Click here to catch up with his fellow winner, Elena Holder.

What have you been up to since winning last year?

Since winning last year I've been auditioning in addition to attending college. I currently attend The Boston Conservatory at Berklee where I study Musical Theatre, so I basically have a Jimmy program in my everyday life. Singing, acting, and dancing as my classes which I am so grateful for and am deeply appreciative of. I've also been given incredible speaking opportunities doing interviews like this one, and also speaking at conventions. This past month I was invited to speak at the Arts Council for my school district (Cabarrus County) where I spoke about my arts experience through the school district which felt very full circle being able to contribute to something that gave me so much!

Two even bigger things I got to experience were this past fall when the Jimmy's invited myself along with the Jimmy Award 2021 best actress winner (Elena Holder) to participate in the Jimmy Awards Reunion Concert which was a part of Curtain Up! even that reopened Broadway! We got to sing in Time Square which is/was a moment unlike anything I've ever experienced! I specifically remember during the rehearsal process walking with the other performers in the concert to get Starbucks and talking to Elena saying, "We are walking with two Evans (Sam Primack and Josh Strobl) and Princess Anna (McKenzie Kurtz)." I was flabbergasted that this was my life.

The second most memorable experience was last winter when my regional award program took myself and our best actress nominee(Kate Mckraken) to NYC to attend the Broadway Dreams Gala and, in attempts to try not to ramble I got to meet one of my Broadway Idol's, Mykal Kilgore, which was magical. In addition to the Gala's honoree Billy Porter who had an almost ethereal like presence and when he spoke it felt as though he was talking directly to me in amongst a sea of Broadway legends off the top of my head some being Jerry Mitchell, Sherie Renee Scott, and Michael McElroy, so I can't even put into words how grateful I was and still am for that experience!

You participated in a Jimmy Awards unlike any other. What was your takeaway from the experience of participating virtually?

My takeaway from a virtual experience was the energy level needed to give an award-winning performance. When you're stuck in a dance studio by yourself for hours without the interaction of 72 or so students, it can hard to find and maintain the energy level needed in order to do what you want/need to do. I know for myself, I got sick within the first couple days which really added to the isolationist aspect of a virtual experience, but I had to find ways to work through it. One of those ways was remembering how much I wanted to be a part of the Jimmy Awards, and how long I wanted to be a part of them, that really helped in keeping me grounded.

Something that also helped tremendously was the efforts made by my fellow nominees to connect outside and throughout our Jimmy Awards experience. I remember with my medley group we had several FaceTime calls throughout our time at the Jimmy Awards, and during our final round of auditions, we had a stream going within the Zoom chat and within our Snapchat group cheering each nominee on as they did their final audition. So, I would say finding ways to keep you motivated in addition to finding ways to make it fun, because that can truly change your performance.

Have you kept in touch with any of your fellow participants?

Oh boy, do we keep in touch! Like I mentioned before we are all in one big snap group so anytime there's a birthday, we all send a message wishing them a happy birthday or some of the nominees have been auditioning for colleges and have been asking some of the nominees for advice and even if it's just for feedback on a self-tape, we still chat... so to say the least we keep in touch!

If you could do it all again, would you do anything differently?

I don't think I would change anything about my Jimmy Awards experience. I know I learned a lot. Of course, I wish I could've gotten the opportunity to do it live and in person in NYC but New York isn't going anywhere and I know I'll be back soon enough, and I'd say the outcome of my experience was pretty good for myself so no, I don't think I'd change a single thing.

Is there a piece of advice that you got from one of your coaches that has stuck with you?

A piece of advice my coach (Janet Dacal) gave me was progressivism is a two-way street. I had asked how I can help further the diversity and representation seen on Broadway and in the arts in general, and she told me "audition, write, perform, play." Whilst doing so, she told me about her experience working with Lin-Manuel Miranda, with whom she has worked with most notably with "In The Heights." Not only do we have to be auditioning, we have to be writing the stories, orchestrating the music, casting the people, and doing everything we can to make sure our stories are not only told by us but written for us as well. That really stuck with me.

Do you have any advice to share for this year's nominees?

I have a lot of advice for this year's nominees. First, pick material you feel a connection to, something you like working on, and something that speaks to you as an individual and as an artist because this is going to be your baby. You are going to craft it to be something special and unique with the help of your coaches. Second, seize every opportunity! You're going to be surrounded by people who can help you with your dream so don't take it for granted. Live in your moment! Getting to the Jimmy Awards is hard in and of itself so be proud of yourself and try your best not to stress yourself out and just be in the moment, have fun! Your fellow nominees are gonna be your new best friends so connect with as many as you can!

The Jimmy Awards/The National High School Musical Theatre Awards (NHSMTA) program impacts more than 140,000 students who participate in 46 regional high school musical theatre competitions sponsored by presenters of touring Broadway productions throughout the United States. Named for Broadway impresario James M. Nederlander, the program has been the catalyst for more than $5,000,000 in educational scholarships.

Click here for a ful list of 2022 nominees!

Related Articles

From This Author - Team BWW