The 2014 Jimmy Awards finalists take in Times Square.
The 2014 Jimmy Awards finalists take in Times Square.

The National High School Musical Theater Awards (dubbed the "Jimmy Awards" after legendary Broadway producer James M. Nederlander) returns to the Minskoff Theatre tonight to celebrate the best of the country's young talent. After five days of intensive coaching, mentoring, and rehearsals with seasoned industry professionals, 56 high school students from across the country will vie for the Best Performance prizes, annually presented to one male and one female performer since the founding of the Jimmys in 2009. TheaterMania caught up with three of these rising stars to find out a little more about what brought them to the stage. From preschool performances to Broadway crushes, read what the finalists had to say.


Brook Solan
Hometown: Las Vegas
Age: 17

Tell us about the experience that got you hooked on musical theater.
When I did my first show in the fourth grade (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat). I wanted to quit toward the end because I had rehearsals so late every single night. But my Mom told me I had to stay because I committed to it, and after staying I found how rewarding it was to act onstage in front of a live audience.

What would you want to do professionally if you didn't become an actor?
Not much...but I'd probably want to be an English teacher.

Who is your Broadway crush?
Aaron Tveit.

What is the first showtune you ever learned to sing? How old were you? Who did you perform it for?
Song: "Home" from Beauty and the Beast.
Age: 9
Performed for: My acting teacher.


Jamie Colburn
Hometown: Holland, Michigan
Age: 17

Tell us about the experience that got you hooked on musical theater?
I was about six years old and my dad brought me to see the national tour of Oliver! I had no clue what a musical was and when my dad told me the title, I thought he meant the cartoon Oliver & Company! I was very wrong.

What would you want to do professionally if you didn't become an actor?
I think I would want to be a psychologist or a math teacher. I have always been interested in listening and helping with other people's issues, and delving into the human psyche is something I already have to do in theater. As for the math teacher, I love teaching and am good at math.

Who is your Broadway crush?
Laura Osnes. Enough said.

What is the first showtune you ever learned to sing? How old were you? Who did you perform it for?
It was probably either "Tomorrow" from Annie or "If I Only Had a Brain" from The Wizard of Oz. My dad is an accompanist/singer, so I was very young when I started singing showtunes, probably around age four. When I sang it would usually be in my living room for whoever was around to hear.


Staci Stout
Hometown: Orlando, Florida
Age: 16 years old

Tell us about experience that got you hooked on musical theater.
I actually got into theater when I was four. It just clicked for me. I was born to perform and it showed, so my mother got me put into a play...I played baby Jesus...But it set me up for the rest of my life in theater.

What would you want to do professionally if you didn't become an actor?
Maybe choreography. I can't stay away from theater...so mostly anything if I couldn't live my real dream.

Who is your Broadway crush?
I'm secretly in love with Andy Richardson, who plays Crutchie in Newsies. I'm not sorry. If I have to explain why, it would probably take up an entire page, so I'm just gonna leave it at the simple fact that I have a crush on him.

What is the first showtune you ever learned to sing? How old were you? Who did you perform it for?
I believe it was "Tomorrow" from Annie. I was eight, and I performed it for everyone I could possibly perform it for.