Past Jimmy Awards contestants like McKenzie Kurtz, Christian Thompson take the stage at 54 Below

BySandy Kenyon WABC logo
Monday, January 29, 2024
Past Jimmy Awards contestants take the stage at 54 Below
Sandy Kenyon has the latest.

MANHATTAN, New York City -- For almost 15 years, the Jimmy Awards have honored the best high school performers in the nation.

Monday, a group of past contestants took to the stage at 54 Below to entertain.

Approximately 100 thousand young people compete to become one of the select few brought to New York City for the Jimmy Awards each summer. From that group, one male and one female performer are chosen as winners.

Some of the past contestants who have triumphed have gone onto big careers on Broadway and in movies in television. In fact, some have gone so far to compare the Jimmy Awards to the NFL Draft.

Lauren A. Marchand, the 2023 Jimmy Award Winner for Best Female Performer, joined the ranks of past winners like Andrew Barth Feldman and Morgan Higgins.

Feldman shared the big screen with Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence in "No Hard Feelings," and Higgins was featured in "Bad Cinderella" on Broadway.

Higgins was a finalist at the Jimmy Awards in 2015.

"It's not a signed, sealed, delivered situation where if you win you're gonna be a star. It's just being part of the program is very helpful because it gives you community," Higgins said.

When it comes to future success after the Jimmy Awards, all that matters is that you are "in it," not that you "win it."

For example, McKenzie Kurtz, who is starring in "Wicked" on Broadway and launches a new Broadway show, "The Heart of Rock 'N Roll" in March, was not a finalist the year she attended the Jimmy Awards.

"It's about the experience, and it's about everything you learn and the growth that you have through the process and the competition itself," said Kurtz.

The 15th annual Jimmy Awards will return to Broadway on June 24.