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    About the Program

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    The National High School Musical Theatre Awards® (NHSMTA®), otherwise known as the Jimmy Awards®, was established in 2009 by Pittsburgh CLO and Nederlander Alliances, a division of The Nederlander Organization, to elevate the importance of theatre arts education in schools and reward excellence in student performance. The program impacts approximately 100,000 students annually who participate in high school musical theatre competitions sponsored by over forty professional theatres throughout the US.

    Since its inception, NHSMTA has been the catalyst for more than $6,000,000 in educational scholarships awarded to deserving young performers. Named for Broadway impresario James M. Nederlander, this year-round program is administered by  The Broadway League Foundation Inc.

    Thanks to the support of its participating professional regional theatres and donors, NHSMTA continues to grow. In 2012 the program inspired PBS to produce a 3-part documentary series called “Broadway or Bust,” which followed students on a journey from their hometown competitions to their debut on a Broadway stage at the Minskoff Theatre. The series, which premiered in September 2012, was showcased in 100% of PBS's Top 50 strategic markets.

    The depth, scope, and education-centric mission of NHSMTA coupled with its extensive television and media exposure has made participating in the program an aspiration for a growing number of high schools. Based on feedback from participating theatres, school administrators are now directing both human and financial resources to improve the quality of theatre arts education in their districts. This renewed enthusiasm for the performing arts in schools is already helping to invigorate local theatres and the communities they serve.

    NHSMTA week takes place annually in June in New York City. The Jimmy Awards are presented on Broadway at a Nederlander theatre.


    The National High School Musical Theatre Awards® (NHSMTA®) is a celebration of student achievement in high school musical theatre across the country culminating in the annual Jimmy Awards® ceremony. 


    • advance a national conversation about the importance of arts education 
    • create a unifying platform for regional awards programs and advance their local school engagement efforts in a nationally recognized program that provides opportunities to connect to the Broadway industry 
    • recognize outstanding individual artistry in vocal, dance, and acting performance 
    • encourage an equitable and inclusive theatre community for all 
    • honor teachers and their schools’ commitment to performing arts education and connect local schools to a national network encouraging their arts education endeavors 
    • provide nominees with the opportunity to learn from Broadway professionals on and off the stage and make industry connections 
    • engage families in the artistic activities of their children 
    • contribute to the development of future arts workers and audiences for live performing arts in communities across America. 


    The Jimmy Award for Best Performance by an Actress and Best Performance by an Actor is awarded annually to two grand prize winners selected from a group of student performers representing the participating regional awards programs sponsored by professional theatres. Winners are selected by a panel of industry experts.  The National High School Musical Theatre Awards is called the Jimmy Awards in celebration of James M. Nederlander’s career-long dedication to supporting young talent.

    James M. Nederlander or “Jimmy,” Chairman of The Nederlander Organization, was the visionary theatrical impresario who built one of the largest private live entertainment companies in the world known for producing and presenting world-class entertainment since 1912. 

    Jimmy started working in the theatre at age 7 sweeping floors for his father, David Tobias (D.T.) Nederlander, in Detroit, Michigan. During a career that spanned over 70 years, Jimmy amassed a network of premier legitimate theatres including nine on Broadway: the Brooks Atkinson, Gershwin, Lunt-Fontanne, Marquis, Minskoff, Nederlander, Neil Simon, Richard Rodgers, and the world famous Palace; in Los Angeles: The Pantages; in London: the Adelphi, Aldwych, and Dominion; and in Chicago: the Auditorium, Broadway Playhouse, Cadillac Palace, and CIBC Theatres, and the Oriental Theatre which in 2019 was renamed the James M. Nederlander Theatre in Jimmy’s honor.

    He produced over one hundred acclaimed Broadway musicals and plays including Annie, Applause, La Cage aux Folles, Les Liaisions Dangereuses, Me and My Girl, Nine, Noises Off, Peter Pan, Sweet Charity, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickelby, The Will Rogers Follies, Woman of the Year, and many more.

    “Generous,” “loyal” and “trusted” are just a few of the accolades his friends use to describe him. Jimmy was beloved by the industry and the recipient of many distinguished honors including an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the University of Connecticut (2014), the Exploring the Arts Foundation Award (2014), the United Nations Foundation Champion Award (2012), The Broadway League’s Schoenfeld Vision for Arts Education Award (2011), the New York Pop’s Man of the Year (2008), and the special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement (2004). To mark the Nederlanders’ centennial in 2012, The New York Landmarks Conservancy proclaimed Jimmy to be a “Living Landmark.”

    Original Founders

    Pittsburgh CLO, one of the country’s largest regional musical theatre organizations, has been a driving force behind the preservation, creation, and promotion of live musical theatre since 1946. In addition to producing fresh new productions of Broadway classics, the not-for-profit’s mission is to develop new works and showcase new talent. The organization’s dedication to the musical theater art form extends beyond its main-stage season with the CLO Cabaret Theater, the Pittsburgh CLO Academy of Musical Theater, the Construction Center for the Arts, and the Gene Kelly Awards for Excellence in High School Musical Theater.

    Nederlander Alliances, LLC is a division of Nederlander Presentations, Inc. the producing arm of a family company prominent for three generations in management and operation of theaters and productions of distinguished entertainment. The Nederlander Organization owns and/or operates nine Broadway theaters and runs a notable chain of legitimate theaters around the world. Now under the leadership of James L. Nederlander, The Nederlander Organization continues the tradition of operating historic theatres, producing and presenting the best in theatrical and concert events, and innovating new ways to engage future generations of theatregoers.