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JIMMYS BLOG: Meet a Nominee from The Orpheum HSMTAs, Riley Thad Young!

This year, a record 80 high school students from across America will participate in The Jimmy Awards, competing for Best Performance by an Actor and Actress as well as other honors and scholarships at the tenth annual awards ceremony on Monday, June 25.

Student performers qualify to compete in the national program by winning top honors at regional high school musical theatre awards competitions presented by Broadway League member performing arts centers. Over 1,500 high schools and 100,000 students participate in these annual events.

BroadwayWorld is bringing you the inside scoop on this year's Jimmy Awards with student blogger Riley Thad Young- a nominee from Memphis' Orpheum High School Musical Theatre Awards. Earlier this year, he won the title of Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Grasshopper in Hernando High School's James and the Giant Peach.

Read Riley's first entry below!


The Orpheum HSMTA's are such a wonderful experience, there's nothing like it to celebrate the hard work and dedication of high school theatre. We're able to join three states together to reward theatrical achievements in all aspects.

I think in the case of our awards there was no way I couldn't have been surprised to win. I was nominated alongside very talented, devoted actors who played their respective parts incredibly. We all had to go through a judging process to determine the winner, and everyone sounded amazing. I was very prepared, however it was still surprising to learn that I had been chosen in such an elite group.

JIMMYS BLOG: Meet a Nominee from The Orpheum HSMTAs, Riley Thad Young!
Photo Credit: Find Memphis
JIMMYS BLOG: Meet a Nominee from The Orpheum HSMTAs, Riley Thad Young!
Photo Credit: Find Memphis

The hardest part about playing the Grasshopper was not only becoming a believable insect, but acting larger than life. I myself am not a very large individual but in a show like James and the Giant Peach, you have to portray everything so outgoing and eccentric. Besides wearing stilts to be actually large, I had to act everything so big beyond my actual size.

I was familiar with the Jimmy Awards. For years I've watched the Jimmy Award medleys, and in both 2013 and 2015 I had friends who participated! Last year however, my best friend Ethan Benson was a nominee and I had the opportunity to go watch him shine on the Minskoff stage, all while sitting next to Kyle Dean Massey.

JIMMYS BLOG: Meet a Nominee from The Orpheum HSMTAs, Riley Thad Young!


Check back later as Riley's journey to the Jimmys continues!

Tony Award Winner Laura Benanti will host the presentation which will take place on Monday, June 25th at 7:30PM at the Minskoff Theatre,200 West 45th Street in Manhattan. The 10th annual Jimmy® Awards ceremony will be streamed Live in its entirety on Facebook with support from 2017 Tony Award winning Best Musical Dear Evan Hansen and Wells Fargo.

Founded in 2009 by Nederlander Alliances LLC, Pittsburgh CLO, and Broadway Education Alliance (BEA), the mission of the Jimmy Awards/National High School Musical Theatre Awards (NHSMTA) is to raise the profile of musical theatre in schools, recognize dedicated teachers, and inspire the next generation of performers and enthusiasts. Since the inception of the program, participating students have earned over $2,000,000 in university and conservatory scholarships. Several student participants have already been cast in Broadway, Touring and West End productions.

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From This Author Guest Blogger: Riley Thad Young

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