APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – After a tough year, it’s time to celebrate. The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center just released the names of the students representing the Center Stage program on a national stage this summer.
The National High School Musical Theater Awards, better known as The Jimmy Awards, is going virtual this year, due to COVID-19 health concerns. The awards ceremony will be presented on July 15.
“They will be able to participate in virtual coaching sessions with New York choreographers, directors, and be able to learn from New York theater professionals,” says Maria Van Laanen, president of the Fox Cities PAC.
Lauren Meyer of St. Mary Catholic High School and Mickey Wirtz of Pulaski High School will be representing Wisconsin and the Fox Cities PAC as the Jimmy Actor and Actress nominees.
The students submitted audition videos to the Fox PAC and were chosen out of 11 schools across Northeast Wisconsin. They had to choose a song sung by their Jimmy award qualifying role and submit a dance audition.
“I’ve seen the people who performed at the showcases before and I always looked at them as being really talented and something that was beyond my reach of ever getting to, so to actually win that competition is very, very cool,” says Meyer.
“All four years that I’ve gotten to work with Lauren, she has had such wonderful instinct when it comes to character and making acting choices,” says St. Mary Catholic High School Fine Arts Director Hayden Kraus.
Seniors say starting the school year not knowing if they would even have a play to being given the opportunity to represent Wisconsin on a national scale is a great feeling.
“It doesn’t feel real. It feels like a dream. I put every inch of my soul into music and the acting and I feel like it’s finally paying off,” says Wirtz.
“I’m just really, really proud to imagine that little Pulaski can have someone who would’ve had the chance to be in New York on the stage showing off the talent and hard work that they put in, it’s just really exciting,” says Pulaski High Drama Instructor Amy Tubbs.
Lindsey Seaquist, a Pulaski High School senior, will represent the Center Stage program as a student reporter during the Jimmy Awards this year.
“The Center Stage program is a really great program for getting you involved in theater. And if students have the opportunity and their school is participating in it, they should definitely take advantage of it,” says Seaquist.
The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center has also released its first recipients of the Inspiration Through The Arts scholarship. The $1,000 scholarship is for students who participated in their school’s theater program and are planning to pursue careers in the arts. Emily Metcalf, a senior at Green Bay Preble, and Katie Stucky, a senior at Winnebago Lutheran, are this year’s recipients. Metcalf plans to pursue a career in music therapy and Stucky plans to pursue a career in stage management.
Students aren’t the only ones being recognized this year. Director at Mishicot High School Tracy Bauer is being recognized as the Influential Theater Educator of the Year. Bauer wrote an original musical for the school’s fall production and she is also being praised for her dedication to the students.
Sarah Holub of Green Bay Preble High School is being posthumously awarded this year’s Outstanding Educator Achievement. Holub is credited for building a theater community at Preble and leading the school’s fall production of Now. Here. This.
This year’s high schools participating in the Center Stage program included: Ashwaubenon, Brillion, Denmark, De Pere, Fond du Lac, Fox Valley Lutheran, Green Bay East, Green Bay Preble, Green Bay Southwest, Green Bay West, Hortonville, Kaukauna, Laconia, Little Chute, Luxemburg-Casco, Mishicot, Neenah, New London, Pulaski, St. Mary Catholic, Southern Door, Valley Christian, Weyauwega-Fremont and Winnebago Lutheran Academy.
The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center is a nonprofit arts and cultural education initiative that celebrates and supports the achievements of high school musical theater while developing confidence, creativity, and collaboration among high school students in Northeast Wisconsin. This year marks the program’s 5th anniversary. For more information about the Fox Cities PAC, click here. For more information on the Center Stage High School Musical Theater program, click here.