Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Luckinbill Presented NATIONAL ARTS STAR AWARD to James Nederlander At Star Studded Gala In Rancho Mirage

The American Foundation For Arts Education presented its annual National Arts Star Awards on November 20 in a Star-Studded Gala at The Helene Galen Performing Arts Center in Rancho Mirage. Among the honorees, James Nederlander was presented with The Legacy Award for creating The National High School Musical Theatre Awards and his ongoing commitment to arts education. The awards were presented by actor/writer Laurence Luckinbill. The National Arts Star Awards are presented to individuals and organizations that have made a significant impact on Arts Education in America's public schools. The AFAE, originally founded by Carol Channing and her late husband Harry Kullijian, works to restore the arts to our nation's public schools and insure an arts education for every child in America through advocacy and partnering with schools and communities to create specialized arts instructional opportunities for children.

James Nederlander was presented with the National Arts Star Legacy Award for his enduring support of arts education in public schools including creating The National High School Musical Theatre Awards. Chairman of The Nederlander Organization, he is the visionary theatrical impresario who built one of the largest private live entertainment companies in the world that now encompasses venue ownership and management, theatrical producing and concert presentation, merchandising, concessions and patron services. During a career that spans 70 years, Jimmy has amassed a network of premier legitimate theatres including nine on Broadway: the Brooks Atkinson, Gershwin, Lunt-Fontanne, Marquis, Minskoff, Nederlander, Neil Simon, Richard Rodgers, and the world-renowned Palace; Chicago: Auditorium and Bank of America Theatres, Broadway Playhouse, Cadillac Palace and Oriental Theatres; in Los Angeles, the magnificent Pantages Theatre; and in London, the Adelphi, Aldwych, and Dominion Theatres.

He has produced over one hundred of the most acclaimed Broadway musicals and plays of all time including Annie, Applause, La Cage aux Folles, Me and My Girl, Nine, Noises Off, Peter Pan, Sweet Charity, The Will Rogers Follies, Woman of the Year, and too many others to mention.

The National High School Musical Theater Awards was founded by Mr. Nederlander in 2009 to elevate the importance of theater arts education in schools and reward excellence in student performance. The program impacts over 50,000 students annually who participate in high school musical theater competitions sponsored by thirty professional theatres throughout the US. The National High School Musical Theater Award was established and named The Jimmy® to celebrate his career-long dedication to supporting young talent. Marty Wiviat of The Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles accepted the award on behalf of Mr. Nederlander.

The National Arts Star Life Achievement Award was presented to Milton C. Anderson, founder of The Young Americans. Before he founded The Young Americans, Mr. Anderson worked extensively in television variety. He designed musical numbers for more than 27 major musical network television shows on CBS, NBC, and ABC and produced three music specials. During that time Mr. Anderson worked with some of the most legendary entertainers of the century including Gene Kelly, Perry Como, Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, Johnny Mathis, Kate Smith, Julie Andrews and Tennessee Ernie Ford.

In 1962, Milton Anderson founded The Young Americans, the world's first "show choir." Their success has become legendary. They have come to exemplify all that is good in the youth of America. The Young Americans continue to bring entertainment, excitement and hope to audiences everywhere with their International Music Outreach Tours, annual Christmas Show, documentaries, and recordings.

Finally, The Regional Arts Champion Award was presented to Las Casas Foundation. Las Casas is dedicated to the preservation and restoration of the Majestic Theatre and the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre and the development of the San Antonio Performing Arts Center. The San Antonio Performing Arts Center was officially dedicated on September 11, 1989. The preservation and restoration of the Majestic Theatre and the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre and the development of the San Antonio Performing Arts Center are positive influences in the revitalization of downtown San Antonio.

The Foundation's performing arts scholarship program is designed to award financial assistance to college-bound high school seniors based on their interests and abilities in the performing arts. The scholarship program is open to to students from public and private high schools and home schools to in San Antonio and surrounding Texas regions and has become such a successful "scholarship program model", receiving both regional and national acclaim, that plans are in development to roll it out "statewide" in the near future.

Since its inception in 2009, Las Casas Performing Arts Scholarship Competition has awarded $385,000 in scholarship money to deserving students in the disciplines of theatre acting and musical theatre singing and dancing.

The AFAE Gala culminated in a concert reading of FOLLIES which featured Broadway luminaries Carole Cook, Tom Troupe, Rex Smith, Alix Korey, Tony-Nominee Jonelle Allen, Sal Mistretta, Larry Raben, Marti Rolph and more, working alongside the talented students of Musical Theatre University, and after school arts conservatory created and sponsored by The AFEA in partnership with The Palm Springs Unified School District. Proceed for the benefit provide scholarships for the students of Musical Theatre University. For more information of The American Foundation For Arts Education visit

Related Articles View More Los Angeles Stories

Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes, and More from Your Favorite Broadway Stars

From This Author David Green