BWW Previews: HOSTED BY BROADWAY'S SPIDERMAN, THE BROADWAY STAR OF THE FUTURE AWARDS SHOWCASE IS at Straz Center For The Performing Arts

BWW Previews: HOSTED BY BROADWAY'S SPIDERMAN, THE BROADWAY STAR OF THE FUTURE AWARDS SHOWCASE IS  at Straz Center For The Performing Arts
Throughout the school year, high school musical productions in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Manatee Counties are reviewed by a panel of adjudicators, who submit a detailed 10-page critique to the Straz Center for Performing Arts for consideration for the Broadway Star of the Future Awards Showcase.

The Broadway Star of the Future Awards Showcase is Tampa Bay area's regional awards program affiliated with the National High School Musical Theatre Awards (NHSMTA) or the Jimmy Awards, named in honor of James M. Nederlander, renowned Broadway theater owner and producer.

For this year's showcase on June 3, 25 schools and 42 high school performers are nominated. Among the nomination categories are Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Actor, Outstanding Actress, Outstanding Supporting Performer, Outstanding Director, Outstanding Musical Director, Outstanding Choreographer, Outstanding Orchestra, Outstanding Technical Achievement and additional special acknowledgement awards. Winners in the Best Actor and Actress category are performing in the Broadway Star of the Future Award Showcase at the Straz Center this Sunday in Ferguson Hall.

Actors Jacob Atkins (Alonso High School - Zombie Prom - Jonny), Noah Diggs (PCCA at Gibbs High School - The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Frollo), Chris Loving (Palm Harbor University High School - The Drowsy Chaperone - Man in Chair), Luke McAndrew (Howard W. Blake School of the Arts - Side Show - Terry Connor), and Caleb Quezon (Tampa Preparatory School - Cabaret - Emcee) are nominated for Outstanding Actor.

Emily Escobar (Alonso High School - Zombie Prom - Toffee), Logan Franke (HB Plant High School - In the Woods - The Witch), Maggie Musco (HB Plant High School - Into the Woods - The Baker's Wife), Emily McAndrew (Howard W. Blake School of the Arts - Songs for a New World - Woman 2), and Rebekah Vallejo (Howard W. Blake School of the Arts - Songs for a New World - Female) are nominated for Outstanding Actress.

At the close of Sunday's ceremony, one young man and young woman will win the opportunity of a lifetime.

He and she will represent the Straz Center in the 2018 National High School Musical Theatre Awards, known as "The Jimmys, ®" during an all-expense paid trip to New York City. Presented by The Broadway League Foundation, The Jimmys recognize outstanding vocal, dance, and acting performance and offer the Broadway Star winners and the other nominees to work with professional directors, coaches, producers, meet with agents and casting directors and be considered for several recognitions, including a $10,000 college scholarship during 9-days of training, workshops, rehearsals and master classes with Broadway professionals.

Fresh off the highly popular live televised Easter production of NBC's Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert and previously as Peter Parker in Broadway's Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, Justin Matthew Sargent will be the host of the showcase. Joining Justin as co-hosts will be last year's winners, Maggie Musco and Christian Meany.

Justin will be reaching back in his theatre history repertoire to perform a fan-favorite, "Don't Stop Believing" from his role as Drew in Rock of Ages.

Justin will also be part of the Straz' summer Broadway Intensive, teaching two days of Master Classes. "I think as artists, we should never be complacent. We should strive to be better and improve on areas of weakness."

Justin offered advice to the 10 teens vying for the chance to win Best Actor and Actress and represent the Straz at The Jimmy Awards. "This (showcase) is supposed to be fun. This business is very hard and can be very difficult. When you get an opportunity to showcase your craft, you should relish that and have fun with it," he said. "Work hard but enjoy yourself."

Broadway Star of the Future Awards will be held Sunday, June 3, at 2 p.m. Regularly priced tickets are $20 and may be purchased by calling 813.229.7827, in person at the Straz Center Ticket Office or online at www.strazcenter.org.

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From This Author Deborah Bostock-Kelley

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