Dr. Phillips Center sends two musical theater students from a local high school to the National Jimmy Awards


In a night they’ll never forget at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, 400 musical theater students from 30 high schools and nine counties accepted awards at the 8th Annual Applause Awards 2022 supported by AdventHealth and Chick-fil-A.

At the end of the showcase, two talented students, Samantha Nelson from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts and Jackson Chase from Lake Nona High School were named this year’s female lead performer and male lead performer respectively. The finalists were Sirena Mia De La Rosa, also from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, and Ethan Garrepy from Winter Park High School.

Nelson and Chase will go on to compete in the National High School Musical Theater Awards, known as the Jimmy Awards in New York City on June 27, 2022. They will compete against 92 of the top musical theater students across the country and be dubbed as the next generation of Broadway stars.

Students will receive professional training opportunities, prizes and an opportunity to win the coveted Best Performance by an Actor and Best Performance by an Actress in the Country awards at the end of the week-long competition.

Inspired by the Tony Awards, this year’s Applause Awards at the Dr. Phillips Center were conducted by Broadway veteran Ray Roderick and hosted by award-winning Broadway and TV actress/singer Rachel York. This high-energy event unfolded following a statewide search by a panel of 30 casting agents, who visited all of the schools that entered the national competition throughout the process. several months of selection with more than 4,000 students.

In addition to recognizing the area’s musical theater talent and selecting the top two winners of the Jimmy Awards, the Dr. Phillips Center also awarded more than $25,000 in scholarships to 16 deserving college-bound seniors.

The 2022 Applause Awards winners are supported by AdventHealth, Chick-fil-A Greater Orlando, State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture, the Florida Council on Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, Isermann Family Foundation and Walmart Store #3817. The full list of winners is available here.


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