ArtsBridge Foundation nominates Georgia students for Jimmy Awards
Georgia Thomas, a senior graduate of Greater Atlanta Christian School in Norcross, Ga., is competing in best performance in an acting category, while senior graduate Eli Talley of Ringgold High School in Ringgold, Ga., represents the state in the best performance by a category of actors.
Both Thomas and Talley got their tickets to New York thanks to the 2022 Shuler Awards – the Georgia High School Musical Theater Awards – organized by ArtsBridge Foundation and held on April 21. and earned runner-up honors as Frank Abagnale Jr. in “Catch Me If You Can.”
Talley’s place for the Jimmy Awards contest recently opened when the winner of the 2022 Shuler Awards Nicholas Alexander Wilkinson II of Tri-Cities High School in East Point, Georgia voluntarily withdrew from the Jimmy Awards in order to join his classmates who were asked to perform “Fela!” at the International Thespian Festival in Bloomington, Ind., next month. Wilkinson won the Shuler Award in the title role, while the overall production of “Fela!” won the 2022 Shuler Awards for direction and choreography by Jade Lambert-Smith and Briana Bunkley.
As lead actresses and actors, respectively, Thomas and Wilkinson will represent Georgia in the National High School Musical Theater Awards (NHSMTA) program named The Jimmy Awards and will participate in this year’s 13th Annual Awards at Minskoff. New York Theater in June. 27, with excellence scholarships and professional opportunities to be seized. In addition to performing at the awards ceremony, students will participate in masterclasses and receive training and preparation with Broadway coaches and accomplished professionals.
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“In Georgia and Eli, our state has two rock stars heading to the Jimmy Awards,” said Beth Lenhart, director of arts education for the ArtsBridge Foundation. “We congratulate Nicholas on joining the production of ‘Fela!’ at the festival, which will also showcase Georgia’s high school musical theater talents on another national stage. To all those student performers, we jovially and enthusiastically exclaim, Break a leg!”
This year marks the return to Broadway of the Jimmy Awards after a two-year absence, as the national competition was canceled in the spring of 2020 due to pandemic-related Broadway closures and returned last year with an all-virtual format hosted by the Broadway League. In the 13 year history of the Jimmy Awards, the ArtsBridge Foundation has helped two students win the Jimmy Awards, including Alexandria Payne of Tri-Cities High School in 2010 as well as Jai’Len Christine-Li Josey of Tri-Cities High School in 2014.
As part of the 2022 Shuler Awards, Thomas was also awarded two theater and performing arts-related scholarships through the ArtsBridge Foundation, including the Alliance Theater Lockstep Technology Group Summer Intensive Fellowship and Jimmy Awards Fellowship, which Talley also won as one of the state’s Jimmy Awards contestants.
As part of its new partnership with ArtsBridge Foundation announced in early June, The Elaine Sterling Institute in Lenox Square welcomed Thomas and Talley to the ESI Salon for a special pampering session, treating the two Jimmy Awards attendees to hair, nail and makeup sessions with current ESI students.
“We want to share with the world how amazing [our state’s] talent is,” said Elaine Sterling. “Georgia and Eli are going to fly among the stars, and I’m so proud that our ESI students were able to support them and help them look beautiful and ready to rock New York! “
About the ArtsBridge Foundation
ArtsBridge Foundation is dedicated to providing quality arts education and community programs that engage, motivate, inspire, and uplift the next generation of artists and arts supporters. ArtsBridge provides arts education opportunities for K-12 students through programs at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center, including field trips, professional development, family programs, and the annual Shuler Awards. Since 2007, ArtsBridge has served more than 410,000 students and educators from 68 Georgia counties, as well as students from five bordering states. The ArtsBridge Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. ArtsBridge Foundation and Georgia Public Broadcasting’s GPB-TV live broadcast of The Shulers won the Southeast Emmy Award in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 – and are nominated for the 2022 Emmy Awards with winners to be announced soon – for coverage of special events, indicative of the superb quality and high production value that Georgian students bring to the stage. For more visit ArtsBridgeGA.org.
About Shuler Awards
Presented as the Shuler Hensley Awards – also known as the Shuler Awards or The Shulers and named for the Georgia born star of the stage and the winners and nominees are recognized as the state’s top high school musical theater students and schools. The Shuler Awards are a year-round program attended by thousands of students and dozens of performing arts professionals who serve as volunteer adjudicators. The full broadcast of Shuler Prize winner presentations and scholarship announcements is available online via GPB.org/Shuler2022.
About the NHSMTA
Since its inception, NHSMTA has been the catalyst for more than $5,000,000 in scholarships awarded to deserving young artists. Named for the Broadway impresario James M. Nederlander, this year-round program is administered by the Broadway League Foundation Inc., the charitable arm of the Broadway League. The mission of the Foundation is to enlighten and increase public knowledge, appreciation and awareness of the theatrical arts and to provide a forum for discussion of issues relating to the preservation and promotion of live theater in as a vital and culturally significant artistic medium. For more visit JimmyAwards.com.