Jimmy Awards: Top high school musical theater talent set to compete

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The Jimmy Awards honoring the best musical theater performers in the nation's high schools returns this year, and ABC 7 is a proud sponsor of the event that streams on July 15.

This year's host, Corbin Bleu of "High School Musical" fame, was taping portions of this year's virtual presentation in the same studio where "Live With Kelly and Ryan" welcome viewers each weekday.

Students qualify for the national competition by earning top honors at various regional events.

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The Jimmy Awards has announced this year's 72 nominees from 36 regions around the United States.

In 2019, I joined them in a rehearsal hall in Midtown -- and the atmosphere in the room was electric.

It may be a virtual show this year, but the goal remains the same: To help jumpstart the show business careers of the most promising among them.

Each year, two students are presented with a trophy for the Best Performance by an Actress and Best Performance by an Actor.

Past winners like Andrew Barth Feldman ("Dear Evan Hansen") have gone on to star on Broadway.

"Our future of theater comes from these students," Bleu said. "It's so important we continue to honor arts education and the love of theater in these students that we know we're going to go see them perform onstage and on Broadway in the upcoming future."

Bleu added he wished that he'd known about the competition when he was in high school.

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The Jimmy Awards announced that Broadway, film, and television star Corbin Bleu will host the 2021 show.

There's one more Jimmy Award to tell you about -- the trophy that goes to the year's Most Inspiring Teachers, presented by Wells Fargo.

One of those awards this year goes to Benjamin Pesenti, who teaches at Elmont Memorial High School on Long Island.

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