A member of Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Spotlight Education program, Nelson was one of 96 nominees from across the country
MINNEAPOLIS (July 10, 2023) — Hennepin Theatre Trust announced today that Rosemount High School student Mia Nelson was named as a Semifinalist at the 14th annual National High School Musical Theater Awards (Jimmy Awards®), a coast-to-coast celebration of outstanding student achievement, recognizing individual artistry in vocal, dance and acting performance. The 2023 Jimmy Awards featured 96 nominees from 48 regional awards programs making their debuts on a Broadway stage.
Nelson’s trip to New York followed her performance in Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Spotlight Showcase last month at the historic State Theatre in downtown Minneapolis. The Trust’s annual event formally recognizes the extraordinary achievements of the students and educators who make up Minnesota’s vibrant high school theater community. At the event, Hennepin Theatre Trust announced that Nelson and Joe Jacobson (St. Francis High School, graduating senior) would represent Minnesota at the Jimmy Awards®. Nelson’s semifinalist award—announced in front of a sold-out audience at the historic Minskoff Theatre on Broadway in New York City—earned her a $2,000 scholarship to further her education.
“A heartfelt congratulations to Mia! I am continuously inspired by our students’ drive, passion and determination, and to see a special talent like Mia grace our stages is incredible,” said Hennepin Theatre Trust President and CEO Mark Nerenhausen. “We are so proud of all of our Spotlight Education students, and we can’t wait to see what they accomplish in the future—both onstage and off.”
A rising senior at Rosemount High School, Nelson started performing at the age of 11 and hasn’t stopped since. She is part of the Tri-M Honors Society, the school’s highest choir (Concert Choir) and the advanced dance tech program. Outside of school, she has trained at Heartbeat Performing Arts Studio in Apple Valley since 2019 and is a Senior Academy and Company member, winning the title of “Dancer of the Year” in 2022. Nelson also takes weekly piano and voice lessons with Sarah Shervey. Some of her favorite roles include Dorothy Gale (The Wizard of Oz), Viola (Twelfth Night Musical Adaptation), and Eileen Evergreen (Nice Work if You Can Get It). Nelson hopes to pursue a career in musical theater.
Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Spotlight Education program is an essential part of arts education in many Minnesota schools. Each year, the program helps nearly 8,000 students in more than 100 high schools build confidence, critical thinking, empathy, a sense of community, knowledge and appreciation of theater. Spotlight Education supplements and enhances arts curricula through production assessments, workshops and arts journalism, increasing equitable access to quality theater education.
The National High School Musical Theatre Awards®, better known as the Jimmy Awards®, is a coast-to-coast celebration of outstanding student achievement in theater. The 2023 Jimmy Awards featured 96 nominees from 48 regional awards programs making their debuts on a Broadway stage. During this unforgettable talent showcase, a panel of judges selected two students to receive the coveted awards of Best Performance by an Actor and Best Performance by an Actress. The program impacts 140,000 students who participate in nearly 50 regional high musical theatre competitions sponsored by presenters of touring Broadway productions throughout the United States. Named for Broadway impresario James M. Nederlander, the program has been the catalyst for more than $6,000,000 in educational scholarships.
Hennepin Theatre Trust drives cultural and economic vitality in Minnesota through leadership of the dynamic Hennepin Theatre District in downtown Minneapolis and educational programming that reaches every area of the state. Its historic theatres — Orpheum, State and Pantages — and event center at 900 Hennepin Avenue light up Hennepin Avenue with top-tier entertainment, including the best of Broadway and a wide variety of arts programming. Hennepin Theatre Trust is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Learn more at HennepinTheatreTrust.org.
The Broadway League (Charlotte St. Martin, President), founded in 1930, is the national trade association for the Broadway industry. The League’s 700-plus members include theatre owners and operators, producers, presenters, and general managers in nearly 200 markets in North America and internationally. Each year, League members bring Broadway to upwards of 30 million people in New York, on Tour across the U.S. and Canada, and around the globe. The Broadway League’s newest category of membership, League Fellows, affords access and benefits to upcoming professionals who represent a diversity of background, ethnicity, experience, and views. The Broadway League annually co-presents the Antoinette Perry “Tony” Awards®, one of the most coveted awards in the entertainment industry.
Key League programs and resources include: Kids’ Night on Broadway®, The Jimmy Awards®, Stars in the Alley®, Viva Broadway, Black to Broadway, Internet Broadway Database® (ibdb.com), Broadway.org, SpotlightonBroadway.com, Commercial Theater Institute (with TDF), as well as numerous conferences and forums for our members. Broadway Bridges® is aimed at giving every New York City public high school student the opportunity to attend a Broadway show before graduation. TheatreAccessNYC (co-produced with TDF) is the one- stop website of accessible Broadway performances for theatregoers with disabilities. Broadway.org is the League’s official on-line headquarters for Broadway in NYC, on Tour, and internationally.
For more information visit BroadwayLeague.com or follow @BroadwayLeague on Twitter and visit us at Facebook.com/BroadwayLeague. Follow @Broadway on Instagram for more Broadway content.
This activity is made possible by voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.