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Catching Up with the Jimmy Awards Alumni- Part 1

The Jimmy Awards return as a virtual ceremony on Thursday, July 15, 2021.

It's just one month until the biggest night in high school musical theatre! The Jimmy Awards officially return as a virtual ceremony on Thursday, July 15, 2021.

As presented by the Broadway League Foundation, the program has, in past years, invited two nominees from each of these regional ceremonies to New York City to participate in a theatre intensive including coaching and rehearsals with Broadway professionals in preparation for a one-night-only talent showcase on a Broadway stage.

Before we get to know this year's nominees, BroadwayWorld is catching up with some of the program's alumni! Below, get to know just a few, including: Ethan Hardy Benson, Sarah Chico, Jamie Colburn, Caitlin Finnie, Adam Ross Glickman, Emma Heistand, Daniel Kohanbash, Emily Kuhn, Dino Nicandros, Samantha Steinmetz, and John Zamborsky.

Be sure to check back later to hear from even more Jimmy Awards alumni!

Catching Up with the Jimmy Awards Alumni- Part 1 Ethan Hardy Benson

School: Olive Branch High School

City, State: Olive Branch, MS

Jimmys Year: 2017

Favorite Memory: It was so amazing getting to walk as a huge group through Times Square to eat dinner at Sardi's before we saw COME FROM AWAY that evening.

Been Up To: I am now a rising senior at the University of Michigan! I was most recently Jack Kelly in a production of NEWSIES IN CONCERT that is available on YouTube. It was filmed in movie-style, and we were able to record the vocals in a studio following COVID-19 protocols. Additionally, I have participated in many productions, including some that I have produced myself!

Tell This Year's Class: Be yourself. There is so much power in what YOU bring to the table. We need you. You owe it to yourself to stand firm in the amazing person you are.

Sarah Chico

School: Marana High School

City, State: Tucson, AZ

Jimmys Year: 2016

Favorite Memory: I have extremely fond memories of working with my coach, Gavin Creel. He was so sweet and fun! One time, I was the first to walk into the rehearsal space that we had, and he was sitting at the piano playing "Bali Hai" from South Pacific, which was my secondary song, and when we saw me he was like "I was JUST thinking of you!!" and then he had me sit next to him while we talked about the song and waited for everyone else to get there! It was such a sweet moment to share with him!

Been Up To: Since my time at the Jimmy's, I graduated high school in 2017 and then at the start of 2019, I served an 18 month mission for my church in the Michigan/Ohio part of the country! I just got home in mid August 2020 and now I am currently working on my first production since high school with a community theater here in Tucson. We are doing West Side Story, and I am playing Rosalia which was been SO fun cause in the revival version of "America", she sings about how she was to go back to Puerto Rico and the other Shark girls sing back to her and it's just so much fun!

Tell This Year's Class: Don't stress, you're here, you're thriving! Just be YOU because that's what makes your singing and storytelling unique.

Where can we see new clips?: I don't post much of me performing BUT send me a message on Facebook if you actually want to see or hear anything I've done!

Jamie Colburn

School: Holland High School

City, State: Holland, Michigan

Jimmys Year: 2014

Favorite Memory: So many wonderful memories it's hard to pick just one! I actually met my best friends through the Jimmy's (my Michigan counterpart and the two nominees from Wisconsin) so anything including them was always a blast. However, one specific memory always comes to mind when I think of the Jimmys. It was after the awards were over and we had just finished up our Q&A with Rachel Hoffman. I was one of the last two leave the studio, when a woman came up to me who was working for the program and asked if I was the person who sang "Flight" for my finals solo. When I replied yes, she then got teary eyed and told me that her best friend used to sing that song and that he had passed away not too long ago. She went on to say that hearing me sing that song made her feel like she was seeing him again and finally got to say goodbye. That moment was short but also life changing. It showed me just how powerful we are as artists. I now think about that every time I go on stage.

Been Up To: I graduated with a degree in musical theatre from the University of Michigan in 2019. One of my greatest accomplishments happened in 2017 when I started a theatre company in my hometown called Exit Left Theatre Company which is meant to give the spotlight to those who need it most, and create theatre that sparks a conversation. The company has continued to grow and is still making an impact on my hometown today. Performance wise, I have performed as Tony in WEST SIDE STORY with the New York Philharmonic and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and I have worked regionally with Broadway royalty including Terrance Mann, Laura Michelle Kelly, Dee Hoty, Christopher d'Amboise, Jen Cody, Forest McClendon, and many others. I also was a vocalist for the Liz Swados Project produced by Ghostlight Records, and have also started working on some short films.

Tell This Year's Class: Be in the moment and don't let the competitive nature of the awards get the best of you. No matter what happens, these people you are meeting will be your community for the rest of your life. Even the coaches! To this day, I still run into folks from the Jimmys, whether it be at an audition, at college, a cabaret, or even walking down 42nd St. Focus on these amazing relationships you are building because that's the biggest thing you will ever get from an experience like this.

Where can we see new clips?: If you just search Jamie Colburn on Youtube, I'll pop up! You can also see performance clips on my instagram, @jcolburn96, and my website,

Catching Up with the Jimmy Awards Alumni- Part 1 Caitlin Finnie

School: The John Cooper School

City, State: The Woodlands/TX

Jimmys Year: 2012

Favorite Memory: My favorite memory of the Jimmy Awards is our performance night. We were all so excited and had such a buzzing energy. It was so incredible to perform with everyone that night and to have had all of our rehearsals and hard work realized with friends and family on the Minskoff Stage.

Been Up To: After the Jimmy's, I went to Northwestern University, where I studied Voice & Opera and Musical Theatre. While I was there, I made my professional debut in The Lyric Opera of Chicago's The King and I. After school I moved to New York and was soon cast in the National Tour of Les Miserables as ensemble and Cosette understudy. I stayed with Les Miz for just over two years and then moved to the World Tour of The Phantom of the Opera as the Christine alternate. Because the tour was scheduled to run in Korea and Taiwan in 2020, we became the only major Broadway musical to run during the pandemic. We are scheduled to open in China later in 2021.

Tell This Year's Class: My advice is to perform your best and to learn from the mentors who you'll get to work with, but ultimately, remember to live in the moment and to have fun. You'll develop friendships that you'll keep with you long after the Jimmy's.

Where can we see new clips?: Later this summer I'll have music videos and a website with performance videos!

Catching Up with the Jimmy Awards Alumni- Part 1 Adam Ross Glickman

School: American Heritage School

City, State: Fort Lauderdale, FL

Jimmys Year: 2010

Favorite Memory: THE PEOPLE. THE PEOPLE. THE PEOPLE. Getting to meet and work with such incredible, talented, beautiful people in NYC. I am so lucky.

Been Up To: Selectively-I have toured nationally with THE SOUND OF MUSIC, I have performed internationally with DISNEY ON CLASSIC as seen on Disney Channel Japan, I have been seen on Vice TV'S DANNY'S HOUSE as SHERM. I have performed as an actor and singer regionally across the USA, and in NYC. I am a member of AEA, and continuing to work as performer, and teach/coach students in both voice and performance.

Tell This Year's Class: Listen, and respond- allow yourself to be vulnerable and be OK with the unknown. Connect your body/mind to your craft, and know that YOU are the ONLY YOU, and NO ONE is LIKE YOU. YOU are special.

Where can we see new clips?:, Vice TV.

Catching Up with the Jimmy Awards Alumni- Part 1 Emma Heistand

School: West Orange High School

City, State: Orlando, FL

Jimmys Year: 2017

Favorite Memory: My favorite memory was getting to sit with all my amazing peers I was connecting with all week while we all watched my culture alive and thriving in the On Your Feet Musical. It brought me back to family reunions in Miami, and made my grandfathers stories of his times in Cuban come to life. I was proud and inspired seeing Latins sharing our music, colors and story on the stage.

Been Up To: After the Jimmy Awards I attended and recently just graduated from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee in beautiful Boston. I have been growing in my craft while have discovered my passions for education of theatre AND mental health in performers and artists!! As a new BFA graduate I look forward to my next journey and purpose with the arts and creating a better world.

Tell This Year's Class: My advice is simple... be you. We hear that all the time but truly no one does you better then YOU so shine bright and tell your beautiful, unique story because there is a perfect place for all humans and talent in this world. Hold your head up high, soak it all in, connect, and learn from everything and everyone around you!

Catching Up with the Jimmy Awards Alumni- Part 1 Daniel Kohanbash

School: Beverly Hills High School

City, State: Beverly Hills, CA

Jimmys Year: 2018

Favorite Memory: My favorite Jimmy Awards memory was rehearsing for my medley! Working with Keisha, Van, Michael and the other nominees! Also, I ended up working with Theo (assistant choreographer on another project a year or so later! It was an unforgettable moment.

Been Up To: I've been studying Musical Theater at UCLA and pursuing a Music Industry minor as well! I will also be releasing my first single "Summer in Chicago" under the artist name DKOHH.

Tell This Year's Class: Leave a unique and individual mark on the Jimmy Awards cast. This is such an important moment in your artistic journey and you wouldn't want to have that journey as anyone else but the maximum version of YOU!

Where can we see new clips?: My original music is now available!

Catching Up with the Jimmy Awards Alumni- Part 1 Emily Kuhn

School: Tonawanda High School

City, State: New York

Jimmys Year: 2018

Favorite Memory: Getting the confidence to become the best performer I can be.

Been Up To: Attending SUNY Fredonia as a BFA Musical Theatre Major! Recently was ensemble in Our Town.

Tell This Year's Class: Write everything down and get a good nights sleep if you can!

Where can we see new clips?: Instagram: @emilykuhhn

Catching Up with the Jimmy Awards Alumni- Part 1 Dino Nicandros

School: Memorial High School

City, State: Houston, TX

Jimmys Year: 2010

Favorite Memory: The masterclasses/professional coachings were top notch and enlightening. However, I fondly remember horsing around and bonding with the guys in our downtime. We had all met just days before, yet it took no time for us to become such a tight group. Christopher Walken impressions were all the rage in summer 2010.

Been Up To: I came out to LA and studied acting at Pepperdine University. In the years since graduating, I've been lucky to work in theaters all across the country-and one or two around the world-while crossing off some bucket list roles along the way. It's been fun to occasionally run into Jimmy alums in the most random places!

Tell This Year's Class: Take the pressure off of yourselves from the get-go. You're good, that's why you were selected! Just be sponges of information. And because you're dealing with unprecedented circumstances-none of which we experienced back in our day-try to have a good sense of humor about it all. Theatre will come back, so just enjoy that special week without stressing about what comes next. Break so many legs! We're rooting for you!

Where can we see new clips?: My website: IG: @dnicandros

Catching Up with the Jimmy Awards Alumni- Part 1 Samantha Steinmetz

School: Blue Valley High School

City, State: Stilwell, Kansas

Jimmys Year: 2009

Favorite Memory: Having the opportunity to sing in front of Bernie Telsey. I didn't realize what a huge deal that was at the time!

Been Up To: Acting! I've moved mostly to film and television work but take the opportunity to do theatre whenever I can. I'm also a founding member of The Coop (a NYC based theatre company producing work Off-Broadway).

Tell This Year's Class: Don't give up. Put your entire heart into everything you do - every reading, every audition, every play you go to see. Pay attention. Remain curious.

Where can we see new clips?: I'll be in upcoming episodes of Succession and Dr. Death. You can also check out my website for past clips:

Catching Up with the Jimmy Awards Alumni- Part 1 John Zamborsky

School: Spruce Creek High School

City, State: Port Orange, FL

Jimmys Year: 2018

Favorite Memory: Probably the masterclass with Wayne Cilento. Being a male dancer, a lot of life advice, technique, and personal experience he shared with us really resonated with me. Also, having him select me as Best Dancer for that year gave me the feeling of being "seen" that 18 year old me needed, as well as helping to open some doors for me throughout college!

Been Up To: I am heading into my senior year at Elon University for Music Theatre. I've picked up minors in Dance and Sociology as well. This fall, I will be studying Shakespeare abroad at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. In between school years, I've worked summer stock and regional theatre jobs, including The Forestburgh Playhouse and Virginia Repertory Theatre. In fact, I'll be returning to Forestburgh this summer!

Tell This Year's Class: My biggest piece of advice is something that will take a long time to really resonate. It's something that all of us struggle with to some extent. Obviously, the Jimmy's are very famous. We've seen how it can launch entire careers with Andrew, Sofia, Renee, etc. Don't let the importance and notoriety of the event impact the integrity of the art you are coming to New York to do. The minute that you start changing your craft to coincide with what YOU think that the judges/casting team wants is the minute you remove any authenticity from your art. It isn't your job to cater your performance to what you perceive they want. If you work through this week being kind, respectful, responsible, and attentive then I can guarantee you will get everything you can out of this program. That is what will allow you to leave your mark on the program and make an impression that will follow you when you start to audition professionally. And that is what will make you someone that people will want to hire again and again. Everyone that makes it to the Jimmy's is insanely talented so ,rather than trying to kick the highest or belt the highest, leave your impact and make your mark through your humanity!

Where can we see new clips?: Please check out my Instagram @izamwhoiam and my website at

For more information about the Jimmy Awards, visit:

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