Local musical theatre students set to dust the competition at Jimmy Awards

Srp 2010 Edit Edit

A show at Kansas City’s Starlight Theatre is nothing short of magical. // Courtesy Starlight Theatre

Oh, we remember being young and trying to match Idina Menzel’s high notes at the end of Wicked’s “Defying Gravity.” Lucky for our egos, and for the health of eardrums everywhere, that was from inside a car on the way to class.

Even luckier, both Justin Cooley of Olathe East High School and Ava Wolesky of Liberty North High School plan to wow us with top-notch musical theatre performances at the 12th annual Jimmy Awards tomorrow, July 15.

Back in May, Kansas City’s picturesque Starlight Theatre hosted its 19th annual Blue Star Awards ceremony, where more than 90 local high school students were honored for their skills on the stage or behind the scenes in a musical theatre setting. Justin and Ava won Blue Star Awards for Outstanding Actor or Actress in a Lead Role, respectively, which propelled them to compete at this year’s Jimmy Awards.

For the 2021 Jimmys, all coaching, rehearsals, and activities took place online, and a total of 20 awards and scholarships are available to participants like Justin and Ava. Winners will be selected by a panel of Broadway industry experts. This is No Small Thing, y’all.

The Jimmy Awards kick off at 7:30 pm ET—6:30 p.m. local time—and premiere online at JimmyAwards.com. However, viewing privileges will remain available for 72 hours through Sunday, July 18. High School Musical‘s Corbin Bleu will tackle hosting duties. We’ll also be graced by Mandy Gonzalez. You know, of Hamilton and In the Heights fame.

Is it still bad luck to say good luck to actors and actresses before a performance? Either way, we tip our hats to Justin and Ava. You got this.


The 2021 Jimmy Awards will involve 72 nominees from 36 participating regional programs around the US. Student performers qualify to compete in the national program by winning top honors at regional high school musical theatre competitions presented by Broadway League-member performing arts centers. Each year, more than 100,000 students participate in these events.

Categories: Culture