Jimmy Award nominees get to see their faces on giant Times Square billboard

Sonia Rincón Image
Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Jimmy Award nominees get to see their faces on giant Times Square billboard
Sonia Rincon reports from Times Square where the 2024 Jimmy Award nominees got to see their faces up close on a giant billboard.

TIMES SQUARE, Manhattan (WABC) -- It was quite an exciting night for some young Broadway hopefuls, who got to see their faces on a giant billboard in Times Square ahead of the 2024 Jimmy Awards.

For some of the contestants, seeing their names and pictures amid the Times Square lights just feels right.

"It's so surreal. I've wanted this since I was a little girl. It's just so amazing and I'm so grateful this amazing opportunity," said Jimmy Awards nominee Elliana McKean.

The contestants, 102 high school musical stars who won regional competitions all over the country, will soon compete with, and against each other at the Jimmy Awards, which is named after James Nederlander. It'll be hosted this year by Josh Groban.

At the end, a best actor and actress are named winners, and many go on to Broadway, like Renee Rapp who won in 2018 and starred in the 'Mean Girls' musical on the stage and screen.

This year's show is next Monday at the Minskoff Theater, home of the 'Lion King.' It's in its 15th year and already boasts 67 alumni who have performed on Broadway or national tours.

Leading up to the show, the nominees get to work with a creative team, and real Broadway directors and choreographers.

On Tuesday, they got to pick the brains of Rich and Tone Taluega of 'MJ the Musical,' who handle movement and choreography.

"Sharing stories and anecdotes and little methods and techniques on what made us who we are in the industry," Tone Talauega said.

"To have that young energy in the room like that, It was very inspiring for us," Rich Talauega said. "And just to see that energy. I mean these kids are from all over the country. So for them to all be picked, hand chosen to be here, that's huge in itself."

They contestants are from all over the country, but a few aren't from too far away.

Isaiah Baston is from Bayshore Senior High School on Long Island and won the regional Roger Rees awards. Even as a New Yorker, he says that seeing his name and face on a billboard was a big "wow" moment.

"It's exhilarating," Baston said.

The show will be streamed live on the Jimmy Awards website on June 24.

ABC7NY is a proud sponsor of the Jimmy Awards.


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