The NHSMTA’s, known as the prestigious Jimmy Awards®, Canceled due to COVID-19 

What that means for Oklahoma’s 



OKC Broadway A Nederlander and Civic Center Foundation Presentation reports that The Broadway League has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Jimmy Awards® due to the ongoing crisis with COVID-19. This decision was made out of respect for the health and safety of the many students, families, theater professionals, and fans who attend and participate in this national program each year.  And due to the ongoing mandates from local officials, many events at the Civic Center Music Hall have been postponed or canceled. As a result, OKC Broadway is revising the 2020 Kelli O’Hara Awards, sponsored by Paycom and presented by OKC Broadway and Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, to a virtual audition and winner selection process.  The finalists announced for this school year will submit their video auditions, and the awards committee will select the Outstanding Actor and Actress.  And although the winners will not compete in New York this year, they will still receive an all expenses paid trip to New York to see the newest Broadway shows as soon as it is deemed safe to do so. The awards committee will also be honoring the Best Musical, Best Ensemble and the standout performer from each school.


“We’re saddened that we will not be able to send our potential award winners to New York to compete against the best in high school performers across the nation - especially since the 2020 Kelli O’Hara Awards were to be our inaugural year participating in the NHSMTA. However, just as other Oklahomans have risen to the occasion and adapted their policies in this unprecedented time, we too are making the most of the situation and will continue with the competition aspect of this year’s program. Our Oklahoma high schools continue to produce great shows and talent so we commend the teachers and programs and encourage them to continue making an impact,” said Elizabeth Gray, Executive Director of the Civic Center Foundation and General Manager of OKC BroadwayWe’ll be back next year better than ever, so watch out New York!”


The Jimmy Awards® celebrates the brightest stars of high school musical theatre from around the U.S.  Regional winners are invited to New York for professional training and compete in a spectacular national awards program on a Broadway stage.   The Kelli O’Hara Awards, created for the 18-19 school season, are officially recognized as the local regional awards program of the Jimmy Awards® and were poised to recognize the 2020 nominees, where participants compete for the titles of Outstanding Performance by an Actor and Actress among other honors.  The top performers receive a trip to New York to compete on Broadway amongst other regional awards winners.  That dream for many of Oklahoma’s most talented high school performers will be delayed until 2021, however, OKC Broadway is committed to still recognizing the exceptional talent of this year’s schools and participants.

“We are heartbroken that so many of the 143,000 students who participate in high school musicals across the country will not have an opportunity to show off their hard work, and that 92 nominees won’t be able to realize their Broadway dreams this year by performing live on a Broadway stage at the Jimmy Awards in New York City," said Charlotte St. Martin, President of The Broadway League. "Our priority is the health and safety of all. We look forward to next year when we can welcome nominees and fans back to the Big Apple and continue to celebrate the future of Broadway together at the 2021 Jimmy Awards."