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Taking the Stage

Idaho's first and only high school theater awards could send kids to Broadway

Article by Shasta Ockerberg

Photography by The Morrison Center

Originally published in Meridian Lifestyle

In every school, big city or small town, there's always a group of students who find their true selves through theater, and long for the bright lights and an open stage. For them, theater is their sport, and they should be rewarded on the same level as their athletic acquaintances. With the ideas and determination of Luke Lords and the Morrison Center team, Idaho saw the premiere of the very first Idaho High School Theater Awards.

Also known as the Jimmy Awards, this program nominates theater students for their performances, both individually and as a group, in a high school production. Seven schools in the Treasure Valley were nominated for awards this year, ranging from Best Lead and Supporting Actors to Best Production, and even Best Theater Director. During the Jimmy Awards ceremony at the Morrison Center, each school got to perform a piece from their nominated production. This included numbers from Into the Woods, Brigadoon, Little Women, Mamma Mia, The Little Mermaid, and Cinderella. The reaction from the audience was nothing less than awestruck.

Over the course of four days, the students rehearsed and prepared for the biggest night in their high school theater lives on the Morrison Center stage. As a special treat for their hard work, they got to meet and workshop with one of Boise's beloved musicians, Leta Harris Neustaedter. They also had the opportunity to learn a few choreographed dance routines by Broadway performer Ray Mercer and New York Ballet member Shay Bland, which were performed during the ceremony. They took songs from Newsies, Dear Evan Hansen, and Hairspray, soaking in the adrenaline and hysteria from the crowd and each other.

At the end of the night, eight students from various schools were nominated to compete at the national Jimmy Awards in New York City. With great honor, Elisabeth Clark from Rocky Mountain High School and Yale Langworthy from Richard McKenna Charter School were chosen to represent Idaho. The hope for the Idaho Jimmy Awards is to reach more drama departments throughout Idaho, and give those around the state an opportunity like these kids received. To see the audition process, as well as the categories and requirements for next year's awards, go to MorrisonCenter.com

  • Yale Langworthy and Elisabeth Clark