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Meet a Few of the 2016 Jimmy Awards Finalists

Aspiring Broadway stars talk dream roles, Broadway idols, and more.

The National High School Musical Theatre Awards 2016 finalists.
(© Henry McGee)

The 2016 National High School Musical Theatre Awards — also known as the "Jimmy Awards," named after Broadway producer James M. Nederlander — are back at the Minskoff Theatre on Monday, June 27. Sixty-two young finalists won top honors at their regional high school musical theater awards competitions and will now take to the stage for a chance at the Best Actor and Actress Awards, along with university and conservatory scholarships.

Before they make their Broadway debuts, we wanted to learn a little more about some of the faces we may one day be seeing on 45th Street marquees. Get to know a handful of this year's Jimmy Awards finalists and find out what roles landed them a spot in the finals, as well as the other inspirations that brought them to the stage.


Amanda Dayhoff (Placentia, California) - 18
Fiona in Shrek The Musical
Amanda Dayhoff

1. What was your first role onstage?
My first role onstage was Ursula in The Little Mermaid!

2. What was the first song you learned to sing, who taught it to you, and who did you perform it for?
The first song I remember learning was "You Are My Sunshine." My grandpa taught me the words and how to sing it and then I sang it for church.

3. Who is your Broadway idol?
My Broadway idol has to be the incredible Sutton Foster. Not only is she talented and beautiful but she seems so kind and down to earth.

4. What is your dream role?
That's such a difficult question...I suppose my dream role would have to be either Rose from Dogfight or Martha from Heathers. I think they're both such dynamic roles and it would be such a dream to play them.


Cameron Chang (Del Mar, California) - 18
Aldolpho in The Drowsy Chaperone

Cameron Chang

1. What was your first role onstage?
A creature of the forest in Rumpelstiltskin Is My Name. I was seven years old and wore a little baseball cap with two horns on it. It was so fun.

2. What was the first song you learned to sing, who taught it to you, and who did you perform it for?
The first song I ever sang was "The Army Ant Song" from The Bugs Play, which is commonly performed in elementary school classrooms. It was taught to me by my second grade teachers, and I actually used it as my audition song for Rumpelstiltskin.

3. Who is your Broadway idol?
Norbert Leo Butz and Brian D'arcy James. Not only do they have magnificent signing voices but they both have such incredible range as actors. For instance, Butz's work in Catch Me If You Can vs. Wicked; it's extremely hard to believe that is the same actor. Because of their range, they've had the luxury of playing so many different types of characters, which is what I aspire to do.

4. What is your dream role?
Bobby in Company. He is undoubtedly one of the most complex leading men in musical theater history. His handsome, charming, playboy exterior serves as an incredible distraction to what's really going on beneath the surface. Bobby's journey throughout the show is truly devastating, as the exteriors strip down one by one to reveal a sad, broken and hopelessley confused man. Also "Being Alive" may be the most cathartic and satisfying finale of any musical. To be able to embark on that journey would be a one-of-a-kind experience.


Amina Faye (Charlotte, North Carolina) - 18
Sarah from Ragtime

Amina Faye

1. What was your first role onstage?
Baker's Wife in Into the Woods.

2. What was the first song you learned to sing, who taught it to you, and who did you perform it for?
The first song I sang was "Genie in a Bottle" by Christina Aguilera. And I never sing it anymore because now I know the meaning behind it hahahaha.

3. Who is your Broadway idol?
I have too many but I think my Broadway idol at this point in my life is Cynthia Erivo.

4. What is your dream role?
My dream role is Lucy from Jekyll and Hyde.

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