The 12th annual JIMMY AWARDS® was presented by the Broadway League Foundation virtually on Thursday, July 15, 2021. Competing in this national awards ceremony recognizing the best of high school musical talent were Justin Cooley and Ava Wolesky, Starlight’s Blue Star Awards winners for Outstanding Actor in a Lead Role and Outstanding Actress in a Lead Role. Both Cooley and Wolesky were finalists at the JIMMY AWARDS®, placing in the Top 4 for the JIMMY AWARDS® for Best Performance by an Actor and Best Performance by an Actress, respectively.
Along with six other finalists, both students were rewarded for their high-quality performances with $3,000 scholarships toward their future education. This year, a total of 20 awards and scholarships were available to the 72 JIMMY AWARDS® nominees, who represented 36 regions around the US. Winners were selected by a panel of Broadway industry experts.
“This is well-earned recognition for Ava and Justin,” said Alex Jones, Vice President of Community Engagement at Starlight. “Their performances were off the charts, and it was wonderful seeing both of Starlight’s Blue Star Awards winners representing Kansas City so well as Jimmy Awards finalists.”
The annual JIMMY AWARDS® has provided more than $4,000,000 educational scholarships to date. This prestigious competition has featured many talented high school performers, and several JIMMY AWARDS® alumni have gone on to appear in Broadway, Touring and West End productions. This year’s event was hosted by Corbin Bleu, with a special appearance from Mandy Gonzalez. For more information about the JIMMY AWARDS® National High School Music Theatre Awards program, visit JimmyAwards.com.
Starlight’s Blue Star Awards, which qualified Cooley and Wolesky to compete at the JIMMY AWARDS®, are held each spring to recognize achievement and excellence in musical theatre among Kansas City area high school students. To learn more about Starlight’s community engagement programs, including the Blue Star Awards, visit kcstarlight.com/engage.