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Local high school students take on Broadway stage at Jimmy Awards

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(Photo: The Fox Cities PAC) Green Bay East student Paige Neumeyer (left) and Kimberly High School student Travis Vandenberg (right) attend the annual Jimmy Awards in New York City.

APPLETON (WCWF) -- The future of Broadway might be right here in Northeast Wisconsin! This month, two local students traveled to New York City as nominees for the annual Jimmy Awards.

The National High School Musical Theater Awards also known as the Jimmy Awards recognizes the work done by standout high school students across the country and helps dreams become reality.

Nominees are selected from high school musical theatre competitions sponsored by presenters of Touring Broadway productions throughout the country. 80 students from 40 regional programs were nominated this year. Two of those 80 students were Green Bay East High School actress, Paige Neumeyer and Kimberly High School actor, Travis Vandenberg.

The pair represented the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Awards, an educational initiative of the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. The Center Stage program gives students a chance to attend workshops throughout the year with professional artists and explore different aspects of theater and the performing arts. Professionals then attend each participating school's musical production, choosing the students who would represent the program in New York City.

The program sends one best actress and one best actor winner to New York for a nine-day theatre intensive of coaching and rehearsals with industry professionals. The students also had the opportunity to audition for scholarships and perform on stage at the Minskoff Theater, which is currently the Broadway home to Disney's The Lion King.

The Jimmy Awards, in it's 10th year has been the launching pad for some of Broadway's rising stars. Two current actors on The Great White Way were Jimmy Award participants and winners. Jai'Len Christine Li Josey, who is in her debut role in Spongebob Squarepants won the 2014 Best Actress title and in 2010, Kyle Selig won Best Actor. Selig made his Broadway debut this year as Aaron Samuels in the Broadway adaptation of Mean Girls.

Paige Neumeyer was nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Leading Actress for her role as Cassie in Green Bay East's production of A Chorus Line, a role she was also selected to sing from during the medley portion of The Jimmy Awards.

Travis Vandenberg was nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Leading actor for his role as Seymour Krelborn in Kimberly's production of Little Shop of Horrors.

Take a look at a rehearsal of the opening number featuring the 2018 finalists and see if you can spot Travis and Paige:


"We are so proud of Paige and Travis for their hard work in New York City this week and congratulate them on their performance at The Jimmy Awards," said Fox Cities PAC director of marketing and communications, Trisha Witt. "As representatives of our Center Stage High School Musical Theater Awards program, the two were outstanding ambassadors of the amazing talent found throughout Northeast Wisconsin."

Take a look at some of the pictures from Travis and Paige's trip from The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center above.


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