Hey, Jimmy

Perhaps we’ll see a Jimmy Award winner’s face towering over Times Square one day

What comes to mind when you see the “word” Jimmy might be more telling than you realize. Is it the GMC Jimmy your buddy drove in college? The title of a “Seinfeld” episode? The youngest Osmond brother? Jimmy Stewart or Jimmy Swaggart? Jimmy Choo worn by Jimmy Eat World?

For high school musical buffs it’s the Jimmy Awards, which return for a fourth year on Mon, June 25 — hosted by Constantine Maroulis (“Rock of Ages”) and Deborah Cox (“Aida”) at the Minskoff Theatre in NYC. The pair will star, by the way, in a revival of “Jekyll & Hyde” coming to Broadway in March. It’s a show with music that’s haunting in unexpected ways.

Folks on less familiar terms with “The Jimmy” know these babies as the “National High School Musical Theater Awards.” I prefer the formal approach on this one since it’s just a short jump from “The Jimmy” to “The Donald.” Gold statuettes are lovely, but gold toilets are an embarrasment of riches. But maybe that’s just my lack of a sash and tiara talking.

This year’s Jimmy Awards ceremomy features 60 teens performing “songs and medleys from the roles that won them top honors at their local musical theater awards competition.” I’m told a panel of “industry brass” will be rocking the scoring vibe, with winners earning college scholarship opportunities (think NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts) and other nifty prizes.

Students participating this year will enjoy a program that runs from Wed, June 20 through Tues, June 26 — featuring opportunities to participate in rehearsals and master classes, receive one-on-one coaching from theater professionals, be seen by casting agents, and meet and converse with Broadway actors. Conversing beats the heck out admiring them from afar.

“The Jimmy” was named for Broadway theater owner and producer James M. Nederlander — who was honored in 2010 with the Schoenfeld Vision for Arts Education Award. Nederlander theaters on Broadway include the Brooks Atkinson, the Gershwin, the Lunt-Fontanne, the Marquis, the Minskoff, the Nederlander, the Neil Simon, the Palace and the Richard Rodgers.

Good to know since he’s a lot more classy than some of the other things that come to mind when the name “Jimmy” gets a mention. Click here to learn more about The Jimmy Awards and this year’s nominees.

– Lynn

Note: PBS presents a new three-part documentary series called “Broadway or Bust” Sept. 9-23 — which will feature students competing in the Jimmy Awards.

Coming up: Jukebox tales

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