A teenager from California with a flair for singing funny songs and another from Florida who emerged triumphant after tackling two tough operatic tunes won top honors Monday at the National High School Musical Theater Awards.
Elizabeth Romero, 18, from Fullerton, Calif., was named best actress and Joshua Grosso, 18, from Tampa, Fla., got the best actor crown at the fourth annual competition, nicknamed the Jimmy Awards after theater owner James Nederlander.
Both also received $10,000 scholarship awards, capping a months-long winnowing process that began with 50,000 students from 1,000 schools. Sixty finalists were invited to New York to compete for the title and make their Broadway debuts on the Minskoff Theatre stage.
“I am at a loss for words. I can barely breathe,” said Romero. “This is unbelievable: To perform on a Broadway stage in the heart of New York City. That’s unheard of for a lot of kids our age.”
A seven-judge panel that included Tony Award nominee Montego Glover chose the winners after watching them perform solos and medleys over Sunday and Monday. The night’s hosts were Constantine Maroulis and Deborah Cox, stars of the upcoming revival of “Jekyll & Hyde.”
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