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Catching Up with the Jimmy Awards Alumni- Part 2

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

Catching Up with the Jimmy Awards Alumni- Part 2

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. View the full list of nominees!

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: Nora Cullinan, Emily Emmett, Arella Flur, Caleb Jingo, Alyssa McDonald, Tony Moreno, Morgan Roberts, Michelle Rubich, Alex Syiek, and Riley Thad Young.

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

Catching Up with the Jimmy Awards Alumni- Part 2 Nora Cullinan

School: Los Alamos High School

City, State: Los Alamos, New Mexico

Jimmys Year: 2019

Favorite Memory: Meeting Alex Lacamoire when we recorded "You Will Be Found" on the first night. I had no idea what to say to him because he's just so brilliant but he was super nice and took a picture with me. It's a terrible picture but I will treasure it always.

Been Up To: I'm currently in my second year at Loyola University New Orleans, where I'm studying classical voice performance with a minor in theatre arts. Live performance opportunities have been slim to none this past year, but last month I sang the role of the First Witch in Henry Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. It was an outdoor, socially distanced and masked production with Loyola's Opera Workshop and it was so rewarding to get to sing for a live audience again after so long. I've been able to participate in some virtual endeavors as well. Last fall I competed in the Southern Region of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, where I placed fourth in the Lower College Treble Musical Theatre category with my performance of "When Hope Goes" from The Spitfire Grill. I also got to sing for a New Orleans Opera masterclass with opera legend Greer Grimsley. My regional awards program, the Enchantment Awards, put on a virtual benefit concert last December with past nominees and winners and it was so much fun to work with all those talented people again. I can't wait for the day that live performance is back to normal!

Tell This Year's Class: This is a competition, but if you spend the whole time thinking about that you will miss all the important stuff. Take this time to learn from your peers as well as the professionals, make connections, and have fun!

Where can we see new clips?: Check out Loyola Opera Workshop's production of Dido and Aeneas:

Catching Up with the Jimmy Awards Alumni- Part 2 Emily Emmett

School: Flower Mound High School

City, State: Flower Mound, TX

Jimmys Year: 2012

Favorite Memory: My favorite memory is stepping onto the Minskoff stage for the first time with all of my newly made friends. I will never forget the feeling of stepping on a Broadway stage for the first time. It was magical and a memory I will never forget.

Been Up To: Since 2012, I have graduated from Oklahoma City University with a Bachelor's of Music in Musical Theatre, I lived in New York for a while, and then moved back to Dallas where I've performed in multiple regional shows as well as continued to do voice-over work and teach/direct children's theatre. I am also working on my first novel.

Tell This Year's Class: Have fun and make friends! Nothing is better than meeting new friends in the industry and making relationships that last a lifetime.

Where can we see new clips?: I have a website: and I am also on all social media platforms where I post videos of my singing.

Arella Flur

School: Charlotte Latin School

City, State: Charlotte, NC

Jimmys Year: 2019

Favorite Memory: Seeing our headshots on the billboard in Times Square!

Been Up To: Currently enrolled in the theatre program at Northwestern University focusing in theatre management and producing.

Tell This Year's Class: Take in every moment you can watching your fellow nominees throughout the week. You are surrounded by some of the most talented people in the country and can learn so much in just a week!

Catching Up with the Jimmy Awards Alumni- Part 2

Caleb Jingo

School: Westerville South High School

City, State: Westerville, OH

Jimmys Year: 2019

Favorite Memory: As cliche as it sounds, "the friends I made along the way" were truly the most memorable and cherished parts of the Jimmy Awards for me. We created some unbreakable bonds as many of us continue to keep in touch to this day, and that fact alone is such a testament to how positively the Jimmy Awards have influenced me.

Been Up To: I am now working toward a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre at Ohio Northern University, along with minors in Dance and Communication Studies. I have taken on the position of Secretary for the school's improv troupe, Fearless ShenANYgans, and have additionally been inducted into the Theta Alpha Phi National Theatre Honors Fraternity. Aside from college, I've most recently interned with Short North Stage in Columbus, Ohio, performing in their virtual production of "Quarantine with the Clauses" last holiday season.

Tell This Year's Class: I would strongly suggest that you not shy away from a single opportunity. Be outgoing, be courageous, and be willing to let yourself fully commit to creating the art for which you are passionate. Take control of your own destiny, so that you may propel yourself farther than you ever could have imagined.

Catching Up with the Jimmy Awards Alumni- Part 2 Alyssa McDonald

School: Nyack High School

City, State: Nyack, NY

Jimmys Year: 2018

Favorite Memory: My favorite Jimmy Awards memory was definitely performing the opening number. It was such a magical moment. We all walked on stage in the dark and as we were waiting for the number to start, we were all squeezing each others hands because of how excited we were. When the lights came up and we all began to sing, tears came to my eyes. It was such a powerful moment to perform on a Broadway stage for the first time, alongside 80 students who have the same dreams and goals as me. I will never forget that, and I am so grateful that I had that opportunity.

Been Up To: After the Jimmys, I finished my senior year of high school and went on to study Musical Theatre at Western Connecticut State University. I have been working on my craft, and am trying to be the best I can be. I am lucky that my university is trying their best to give us performance opportunities, this year I got to be in a virtual musical called "The Radium Girls" and a virtual production of "A Midsummer Nights Dream".

Tell This Year's Class: The best advice I can give is to just soak it in and have fun. The Jimmy Awards is a lot of hard work, but it is so worth it for the friends you will make and the experiences you will have. So try not to get overwhelmed, do your best, and have fun!

Where can we see new clips?: There is a video that shows my performance that got me to the Jimmys. You can also find some videos and recordings on my instagram @alyssamariemcd.

Catching Up with the Jimmy Awards Alumni- Part 2 Tony Moreno

School: Trinity Preparatory School

City, State: Winter Park, FL

Jimmys Year: 2016 and 2017

Favorite Memory: My favorite Jimmy Awards memory is from 2017, when Ben Platt, our host, came into our dressing room to hang out with us before the show. We talked about all sorts of things, like Ru Paul's Drag Race and whether or not he should buy an Apple Watch. He interacted with us as if we were his pals, and it was a great way to diffuse nervous energy before showtime.

Been Up To: I've just finished my fourth and final year in the University of Arizona's BFA Musical Theatre program (Bear Down!). I'll be spending this upcoming summer at the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, NY, and soon after my time at the Hangar ends, I'll be moving to NYC.

Tell This Year's Class: I wish I would have kept a journal during my time at the Jimmys. It really is a very special and formative week, and it all happens so fast. I would do what you can to make sure you have a way of remembering every little detail-you'll want a way to revisit everything you learned, interactions you had, and how you felt from day to day. Also, enjoy every moment, don't sweat the little stuff, and make sure you eat well and sleep well every night-and rest your voices!

Where can we see new clips?: You can find some videos on my website at I'll be uploading more content as projects I've been working on are released, such as my senior showcase from UArizona.

Catching Up with the Jimmy Awards Alumni- Part 2 Morgan Roberts

School: Tahoma Senior High

City, State: Maple Valley, Washington

Jimmys Year: 2017

Favorite Memory: My favorite memory has to be seeing Come From Away on Broadway with all of the other nominees! It was so fun to bond with them all over such a fantastic show.

Been Up To: After the Jimmy's I started college-- and I will be graduating from Pacific Lutheran University with my BFA in Musical Theatre this May! After that, I am moving to New York to attend Stella Adler Studio of Acting's Professional Conservatory.

Tell This Year's Class: Be yourself! Give yourself the room to be creative and enjoy the whole experience, because you will remember it forever. Be someone who people want to work with again. HAVE FUN!

Where can we see new clips?: Check out my website!

Catching Up with the Jimmy Awards Alumni- Part 2 Michelle Rubich

School: Briarcliff Highschool

City, State: Briarcliff Manor, NY

Jimmys Year: 2009

Favorite Memory: Day 1, Our first sitzprobe as a group!! Maybe also marking the opening number.

Been Up To: Still performing, recently did a show at Carnegie Hall in Nov 2019 before shutdowns. I'm surviving teaching group fitness and working as a personal trainer.

Tell This Year's Class: You are resilient, and can withstand anything. You've learned new valuable skills from this past year, and it will only make you more humble, more hungry, and smarter. Too late to give up now!

Catching Up with the Jimmy Awards Alumni- Part 2 Alex Syiek

School: Huntington Beach High School

City, State: Huntington Beach, CA

Jimmys Year: 2009

Favorite Memory: In general, getting to know some really great people. I recently worked on a small cabaret with a friend I met all the way back in 2009! This is an experience that lasts!

Been Up To: I attended Baldwin Wallace University for Musical Theater Performance, and upon graduating, began working as a company member with sister companies Great Lakes Theater and Idaho Shakespeare Festival. Then, in 2015, I returned to school at NYU's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program where I honed my lyric and music writing skills. Since my completion of that program, I have written and performed throughout the country, with my next full length musical, 'The Show on the Roof,' set to open as part of Boise Contemporary Theater's 2021-2022 season.

Tell This Year's Class: Be a professional, yes, but have fun and make connections. You never know who you'll end up working with 10 years down the line!

Where can we see new clips?: You can search AlexSingsOnline on Youtube or visit

Catching Up with the Jimmy Awards Alumni- Part 2 Riley Thad Young

School: Hernando High School

City, State: Hernando, Mississippi

Jimmys Year: 2018

Favorite Memory: I'd say I have a few favorite memories. One of them is probably when we did our costume parade for the directors/producers and Van Kaplan told me I'd be allowed to use my stilts and be the first person to use stilts in the Jimmy's!! The other two are kind of one in the same. One of the best moments of my life is when they announced me as a 2018 Finalist and I was absolutely blown away, I didn't expect it at all and wanted to cry but couldn't. Along with that, performing "Memphis Lives in Me" for my Finalist performance was a moment I'll never forget as long as I live. I'll spend the rest of my career trying to match that moment.

Been Up To: Since the Jimmy's, I've begun attending Shenandoah Conservatory for my BFA in Musical Theatre. Last year I played Nigel Bottom in the collegiate premiere of Something Rotten, which was an honor. I've done a few other productions here including: Godspell, Heathers, and a new musical titled BLOOM. This previous summer I was cast in Shenandoah Summer Musical Theatre's production of Hello Dolly as Barbary Tucker, as well as productions of Cinderella and Sister Act (unfortunately all cancelled due to COVID). However this summer I'm performing in Pickleville Playhouse's summer season as Peter Pan in Peter Pan as well as one of their original shows.

Tell This Year's Class: Make the most of your experience at the Jimmy's. Don't rush it, take it all in. There will be an overwhelming wealth of knowledge and wisdom thrown at you over the course of about a week and you can't take any of it for granted. Build relationships with your mentors and other nominees because they will become forever friends. Just don't take it for granted.

Where can we see new clips?: You can find videos of me on my Instagram @rileytsyoung as well as on my tiktok @rileythadyoung. There are also videos on my Facebook (Riley Thad Young) and my YouTube (Riley Thad Young).

For more information about the Jimmy Awards, visit:

Photo Credit: Mark Abramson

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