NEW YORK — A Californian and a New Yorker have won top honors at the National High School Musical Theater Awards.
Anthony Skillman, of Mission Viejo, California, was named best actor and Marla Louissaint, of New York City, was named best actress Monday night at the sixth-annual "Glee"-like competition, nicknamed the Jimmy Awards after theater owner James Nederlander.
Each will receive a $10,000 scholarship award, capping a monthslong winnowing process that began with 50,000 students from 1,000 schools and ended at the Minskoff Theatre, the long-term home of "The Lion King," which doesn't perform on Mondays.
The 52 teens who made it to New York this year — 26 girls and 26 boys — got a five-day theatrical boot camp fueled by pizza at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, complete with scrambling to learn an opening and closing group number, performing their medley numbers and advice on their solo songs, plus a field trip to watch "An American in Paris."
The judges were Bernie Telsey and Rachel Hoffman from casting company Telsey + Company, Disney Theatrical Group head Thomas Schumacher, New York University's Kent Gash, National Artists Management Company leader Alecia Parker, casting specialist Tara Rubin and Nick Scandalios from the Nederlander Organization.
The host was two-time Tony Award winner Michael Cerveris, who is starring on Broadway in "Fun Home." Four runners-up will each receive $2,500.
Mark Kennedy can be reached at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits