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Meet the 2021 Jimmy Awards Nominees- Part 1

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

It's just under one week 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!

Meet the 2021 Jimmy Awards Nominees- Part 1

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.

In no particular order, BroadwayWorld is getting to know this year's nominees! Below, get to know just a few, including: Halle Audette, Jaston Brooks, Lauren Claxton, Kiara Geolina, Katriana Koppe, Audrey Logan, Kate McCracken, Joshua Messmore, Jaaziah Vallano, and Ava Wolesky.

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


Meet the 2021 Jimmy Awards Nominees- Part 1 Halle Audette

City, State: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Graduation Year: 2022

Look Up To: I'm a dancer first so I look up to a lot of iconic women in the dance world! Ann Reinking, Gwen Verdon, and Liza Minnelli are all performers that I absolutely LOVE!

Looking Forward To: I am looking forward to connecting with the other 71 nominees! It is such a dream to be able to meet other high schoolers who love theatre and the arts as much as I do.

Arts Education: Stages Theatre Company in Hopkins, Minnesota changed my life. From my very first theatre experience at summer camp to performing in 9 musicals with them, I can wholeheartedly say that I would not be here without their guidance. Theatre education is a passion of mine and I can not wait to be a theatre educator that kids look up to!


Meet the 2021 Jimmy Awards Nominees- Part 1 Jaston Brooks

School: Newark High School

City, State: Newark, New York

Graduation Year: 2021

Look Up To: The performer I look up to the most is Anthony Ramos. It's great to see someone of Puerto Rican decent have so much drive and passion for what they do and be successful with it. He's someone that I look at and think "i'm going to be just like them one day".

Looking Forward To: I'm most looking forward to meeting all the amazing talent and seeing how we will work together to produce the final product.

Arts Education: Arts education has impacted my life in countless ways. It has given me a home, a place to really express myself and show off what i'm passionate about. Throughout my life the arts have been the one thing that I feel like I really belong in. Everyone is so accepting and wants to see you succeed. I've been lucky enough to cross path with so many amazing, inspirational, and admirable people throughout my time participating in the arts. But there are two people I will never be more grateful for, and that is my arts educators Mrs. Flock and Emily Howard. The way they've impacted my life is something I will never take for granted. The endless amount of support, all of the rides, always pushing me to be the best version of myself and to work my hardest, the fact that they are just great educators and so much more, are all reason as to why i'm so thankful for them. Without them I don't think i'd be where i am today. I've had so many opportunities working with them and have been fortunate that they have provided me with all the right things to get to here. I can go on and on about how much they've impacted me but i have a word limit. Thank you Mrs. Flock and Emily. And thank you to the arts in general for everything they've done for me.


Meet the 2021 Jimmy Awards Nominees- Part 1 Lauren Claxton

School: Wadsworth High School

City, State: Wadsworth, OH

Graduation Year: 2021

Look Up To: Renee Rapp for being young and powerful and completely seizing every opportunity she gets! It is also amazing that she is a Jimmy Awards Alum!

Looking Forward To: I am looking forward to seeing how this community puts its face forward to the public and how it carries on in the future!

Arts Education: My classes at school in music and theatre always made any day a better day. It fueled a fire of interest for me to pursue this as a career and the constant encouragement my educational environment provided to me was absolutely one of the key components to any success I have had. There was always help at hand when I needed it and that always made me and my time in theatre feel worthwhile and important.


Meet the 2021 Jimmy Awards Nominees- Part 1 Kiara Geolina

School: San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts

City, State: San Diego, CA

Graduation Year: 2021

Look Up To: The performer that I admire most would definitely be Billy Porter because of his fearlessness and unapologetic energy both on and off stage. His work inspires me to take my performance abilities to new heights while staying true to who I am.

Looking Forward To: For this year's Jimmy Awards I am most looking forward to viewing the iconic Jimmy medleys, as this year has a bit of a twist! After all of the hard work our artistic and tech teams put into compiling this amazing show, I really can't wait to watch the final product!

Arts Education: Being involved in the arts for most of my life has made a huge impact on who I am. There is an overwhelming amount of empathy and compassion that lives in the heart of an artist, creating such a welcoming environment. It was through my arts education that I found a sense community and family. The arts community continues to teach me so much about the person I am and the person I hope to become!


Meet the 2021 Jimmy Awards Nominees- Part 1 Katriana Koppe

School: Wantagh High School

City, State: Wantagh, New York

Graduation Year: 2021

Look Up To: A performer that I most look up to is Rob McClure! He is so captivating to watch onstage! His views on the business, life, and performing in general are so inspiring! He is constantly spreading joy and that's how I aspire to be!

Looking Forward To: I'm looking forward to so many things in this years Jimmys! I'm most looking forward to watching the incredible finalist solos!! Everyone that I've met along this wonderful journey is beyond talented and inspiring, I can't wait to see the finalists amazing work!

Arts Education: I have 2 arts educators that have impacted my life tremendously!! Sameerah Cassidy and Kimberly Davis were the music director and director of the productions that we put on this year!! They proved to me that art thrives no matter what life throws at us!! They inspire me to be a better performer and person every day!


Meet the 2021 Jimmy Awards Nominees- Part 1 Audrey Logan

City, State: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Graduation Year: 2021

Look Up To: I most look up to Sierra Boggess because not only is she incredibly talented, but she also is very inspiring and positive. Every time I watch her in an interview, her vlogs as Christine Daeé, etc., she has such a humble and fun attitude towards her craft. She always seems to be making others feel more comfortable and included. I love watching her perform because she is a very versatile performer. I look up to her not only as an actress, but also as a person!

Looking Forward To: I'm most looking forward to the medleys! We filmed all over our hometowns and big cities nearby, and I'm excited to see how all of the videos were edited together!

Arts Education: Arts education has completely changed my life. The opportunities that have been presented, like the Jimmy Awards, have made me fall even deeper in love with my craft. Arts education is extremely important to students all over the world because it allows them to have a creative outlet in their busy lives. I feel so blessed and honored to have been a part of the Jimmy Awards, and cannot wait for the final show!


Meet the 2021 Jimmy Awards Nominees- Part 1 Kate McCracken

School: Charlotte Latin School

City, State: Charlotte, NC

Graduation Year: 2022

Look Up To: There are so many performers who have shaped my love of theatre. The first that comes to mind is Stephanie J. Block. Her performance as Trina in the Falsettos revival blows me away every single time I see it. She consistently performs with such poise and grace while also being incredibly exciting to watch. It is these kinds of performances that make me certain my future needs to be in the theatre. I also have to mention Ben Platt, as his performance as Evan had a similar effect. When I was in the 7th grade I saw Dear Evan Hansen at the Music Box Theater. It was my first broadway show so I was obviously excited, but I was extra exited for this one because I had been obsessed (and I mean obsessed!!) with the cast recording for months before that. Sitting in the mezzanine and watching him and the rest of the cast give literally everything they had to their performances fueled my passion for theatre in a way that cannot really be put into words.

Looking Forward To: I am looking forward to seeing the other four medleys that I didn't work on! Everyone is so incredibly talented and I just cannot wait to see what fun characters my friends stepped into.

Arts Education: Having access to a theatre arts education over the course of my life has been such a privilege. It has not only helped me to strengthen my craft and love of theatre, but it has given me some of my best friends and favorite people in the world. My arts educators have also been life changing. From Matt Cosper to Emily Witte to all of the teachers who have faith in me, I feel like I have the best support system ever. These educators push me out of my comfort zone in a way that has consistently made me a better artist and human.


Meet the 2021 Jimmy Awards Nominees- Part 1 Joshua Messmore

School: St David's School

City, State: Raleigh, NC

Graduation Year: 2021

Look Up To: I love Katrina Lenk. Her acting is magical and she effortlessly captivated her audiences.

Looking Forward To: To see the final product of our opening number come together!

Arts Education: My dance teacher Kirstie Spadie teaches every class with unmatched energy and excitement. It reminds me to be present in the moment and enjoy the art I create in a daily basis.


Meet the 2021 Jimmy Awards Nominees- Part 1 Jaaziah Vallano

School: Penn Foster

City, State: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Graduation Year: 2021

Look Up To: Rob McClure. I look up to him as a performer because he's so genuine and unforgivably himself. He is the kindest person I have ever met.

Looking Forward To: i'm looking forward to so many things but mostly just learning from people in the industry and growing as a performer.

Arts Education: Arts education has had a huge impact on me with my training and my understanding more about this art form.


Meet the 2021 Jimmy Awards Nominees- Part 1 Ava Wolesky

School: Liberty North High School

City, State: Kansas City, MO

Graduation Year: 2022

Look Up To: I have to pick one? There are too many and I want to work in this industry for a long time--I'm not going to start by making enemies now! Honestly, there really are so many. I've been lucky enough to learn from several Broadway professionals--Alex Brightman, Laura Osnes, Adam Kantor, among others--and I really admire how despite their success they are all so willing to share their gifts and time with students.

Looking Forward To: I can't wait to see the finished product live with everyone else! I have witnessed how incredible the nominees are, and I'm looking forward to seeing what our director Van Kaplan and his talented team are able to create.

Arts Education: I was an all virtual student last year, so I feel fortunate to be a part of such a giving theatre community which has continued to cultivate my interest in the arts and provided a positive outlet for me through this difficult year. I am grateful for the Coterie Theatre in Kansas City, Broadway Artists Alliance, and all of the artists who found creative ways to connect with students when traditional theatre was limited.


For more information about the Jimmy Awards, visit: JimmyAwards.com.


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