BWW Feature: BOBBY G AWARD Winners Head to Broadway
Fresh out of starring in their spring musical, two Colorado teens are about to make their Broadway debuts this Monday.
Recent graduates of Valor Christian High School, Abby Linderman and Kyler Hershman have been in Manhattan this past week getting ready to compete in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, AKA The Jimmy Awards.
Last month, both performers took top acting honors in Colorado's division of the competition, The Bobby G Awards, for their production of Thoroughly Modern Millie. Linderman played titular character Millie Dillmount, while Hershman played her boss, Trevor Graydon. In addition, Linderman won for her collaboration on the show's choreography. Their show was also nominated for Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical.
This isn't the first time a pair of students from the same school took home these accolades. In 2015, Emma Buchanan and Evatt Salinger of Durango High School both won for their roles in Les Misérables.
"It was a whirlwind; I didn't expect it all." Linderman said. "All the nominees were so fantastic, there wasn't a world in which I could see it happening."
Both winners said more than anything, they enjoyed the experience of getting to know the other nominated students. And after the awards were over, their biggest celebration was just getting some rest.
The road to the Jimmy Awards is barely a month from the Bobby G Awards, so there's only so much time for the students to prepare. But most of that preparation is strictly mental.
"I have nothing to lose," Hershman said. "I'm just going to soak up as much of the experience as possible and build relationships with the other amazing humans there."
But there's only so much preparation you can do until you arrive in New York for the weeklong intensive. Linderman planned to meet with friend and last year's Bobby G winner Abby Lehrer to learn more about what's to come.
Linderman has been performing in theatre since she was young, but Hershman has more of a sports background. His first musical was Valor Christian's Les Misérables just last year, where he nabbed the role of Marius without even knowing the show beforehand.
For their production of Thoroughly Modern Millie, Abby had her sights set on the leading lady because she admires the character's pioneer spirit. Initially, Hershman aimed for the role of Jimmy, but it soon became clear that Trevor was the character he was meant to be.
"It's a musical that teaches you that sometimes the plan you have in your head isn't the plan for you," Linderman said, "and that's OK."
Since diving into the theatre world, Hershman said Linderman has helped acclimate him to the culture-like helping to choose monologues or recommending what color he should wear for his headshots.
Like many of their generation, both performers are drawn to seeing more contemporary work. As performers, Lindermann would like to eventually do roles like Mother in Ragtime and Charity in Sweet Charity, and Hershman is eyeing shows like Dear Evan Hansen and Newsies. If gender was no factor, Linderman would play Javert from Les Mis and Hershman would be a Schuyler Sister from Hamilton.
"We're slowing merging into the same person," Linderman joked with Hershman. In fact, after the two perform together in the Jimmy Awards, they'll both be attending PACE University in the fall to obtain their BFAs in musical theatre.
The Jimmy Awards will take place at Broadway's Minskoff Theatre on Monday, June 24th at 7:30 EST. Hosted by Tony-Winner Ben Platt, the ceremony will be livestreamed on Facebook. Last year's winners of the Jimmy Awards are currently starring on Broadway in Dear Evan Hansen and Mean Girls.