ArtsBridge Foundation Names Georgia Student Entrants For Jimmy Awards

Georgia Thomas and Eli Talley have been named the entrants to the Jimmy Awards in New York City.

By: Jun. 24, 2022

ArtsBridge Foundation Names Georgia Student Entrants For Jimmy Awards

ArtsBridge Foundation recently announced the names of two Georgia high school students who will represent the state at the national 2022 Jimmy Awards.

Georgia Thomas, a graduating senior at Greater Atlanta Christian School in Norcross, Ga., is competing in the best performance by an actress category, while graduating senior Eli Talley of Ringgold High School in Ringgold, Ga., is representing the state in the best performance by an actor category.

Both Thomas and Talley earned their tickets to New York through the 2022 Shuler Awards-the Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards-organized by ArtsBridge Foundation and held April 21. Thomas won for her performance in the title role of "Anastasia" while Talley performed-and earned runner-up honors-as Frank Abagnale Jr. in "Catch Me If You Can."

Talley's spot for the Jimmy Awards competition recently opened when 2022 Shuler Awards winner Nicholas Alexander Wilkinson II of Tri-Cities High School in East Point, Ga., voluntarily withdrew from The Jimmy Awards in order to join his classmates who were invited to perform "Fela!" at the International Thespian Festival in Bloomington, Ind., next month. Wilkinson won the Shuler Award in the title role, while the overall production of "Fela!" won 2022 Shuler Awards for direction and choreography by Jade Lambert-Smith and Briana Bunkley.

As the leading actress and actor entrants, respectively, Thomas and Wilkinson will represent Georgia in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards (NHSMTA) program named The Jimmy Awards and participate in this year's 13th annual awards show at the Minskoff Theatre in New York on June 27, with merit scholarships and professional opportunities up for grabs. In addition to performing in the awards ceremony, students will participate in master classes and receive training and preparation with Broadway coaches and accomplished professionals.

"With Georgia and Eli, our state has two rock stars heading to the Jimmy Awards," said Beth Lenhart, ArtsBridge Foundation director of arts education. "We applaud Nicholas for joining the production of 'Fela!' at the festival, which will also showcase Georgia's deep bench of high school musical theatre talent on another national stage. To all these student performers, we jovially and enthusiastically exclaim, break a leg!"

This year marks the Broadway return of The Jimmy Awards after a two-year absence, as the national competition was cancelled in spring 2020 due to pandemic-related Broadway closures and returned last year with an all-virtual format organized by Broadway League. In the 13-year history of The Jimmy Awards, ArtsBridge Foundation helped two students to win The Jimmy Awards, including Alexandria Payne from Tri-Cities High School in 2010 as well as Jai'Len Christine-Li Josey from Tri-Cities High School in 2014.

As part of the 2022 Shuler Awards, Thomas also earned two theater- and performing arts-related scholarships through ArtsBridge Foundation, including the Alliance Theatre Summer Intensive Scholarship and the Lockstep Technology Group Jimmy Awards Scholarship, which Talley also earned as one of the state's Jimmy Awards competitors.

As part of its new partnership with ArtsBridge Foundation announced in early June, The Elaine Sterling Institute at Lenox Square hosted Thomas and Talley at The Salon at ESI for a special pampering session, providing the two Jimmy Awards entrants with hair, nail and make-up sessions with current ESI students.

"We want to share with the world how incredible [our state's] talent is," said Elaine Sterling. "Georgia and Eli are going to fly amongst the stars, and I'm so proud our ESI students could support them and help them look beautiful, and ready to rock New York!"

About ArtsBridge Foundation

ArtsBridge Foundation is dedicated to providing quality arts education and community programs that engage, motivate, inspire, and elevate the next generation of artists and arts supporters. ArtsBridge provides arts education opportunities to K-12 students through programs at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, including field trips, professional development, family programs, and the annual Shuler Awards. Since 2007, ArtsBridge has served more than 410,000 students and educators from 68 Georgia counties, plus students from five bordering states. ArtsBridge Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. ArtsBridge Foundation and Georgia Public Broadcasting's GPB-TV live broadcast of The Shulers won the Southeast Emmy Award in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021-and is a 2022 Emmy nominee with winners soon to be announced-for special event coverage, indicative of the superb quality and high production value Georgia students bring to the stage. For more visit ArtsBridgeGA.org.

About the Shuler Awards

Presented as the Shuler Hensley Awards-also known as the Shuler Awards or The Shulers and named for the Georgia-born star of the stage and screen-winners and nominees are recognized as the best of the state's high school musical theatre students and schools. The Shuler Awards is a year-round program engaging thousands of students and dozens of performing arts professionals who are volunteer adjudicators. The complete broadcast of Shuler Award winner presentations and scholarship announcements is available online via GPB.org/Shuler2022.

About NHSMTA

Since its inception, NHSMTA has been the catalyst for more than $5,000,000 in educational scholarships awarded to deserving young performers. Named for Broadway impresario James M. Nederlander, this year-round program is administered by The Broadway League Foundation Inc., The Broadway League's charitable division. The Foundation's mission is to enlighten and increase the public's knowledge, appreciation, and awareness of the theatrical arts and to provide a forum for the discussion of issues relating to the preservation and promotion of live theatre as a vital and culturally significant artistic medium. For more visit JimmyAwards.com.

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