An east wind blew me from the stage of Houston Christian High School’s production of “Disney and Cameron Macintosh’s Mary Poppins” all the way to New York this summer where I won the prestigious recognition of the Spirit of the Jimmy Awards.
My journey to New York’s most notable high school theatre competition, the Jimmy Awards, began when I was in elementary school and met the man who would eventually become my high school theatre director, Bobby Linhart. I worked with Mr. Linhart in the years leading up to high school in community and church theatre productions, but it wasn’t until I enrolled at Houston Christian and began training in their award-winning theatre program that my hobby turned into a passion.
Classes where I was able to study voice and theatre, along with the rigor of traditional academics, was the biggest factor in my recent success. Mr. Linhart has a fundamental grasp of what it means to be a performer and how to play to an audience while being true to yourself. Small class sizes allowed me to get personal attention and the support I needed to accelerate all aspects of my education. Additionally, there are many clubs I participated in which aligned with my interests and stretched my abilities more than I thought possible.
I was fortunate to be cast as the Stage Manager in “Our Town” and Emmett in the school’s 2017 production of “Legally Blonde.” During my junior year, I earned the role of Bert in the 2018 production of “Mary Poppins.” This iconic and lively character gave me the opportunity to show my growth as an actor, which was recognized with “Best Actor” by the Tommy Tune Awards. It was a fantastic experience that I will remember for the rest of my life.
My Tommy Tune Award made me eligible to compete in the Jimmy Awards, the national equivalent of Tommy Tunes. The Jimmy Awards was a whirlwind of fun and hard work. I tried the best I could to talk to everyone, since just like the Tommy Tune Awards, the focus was not on winning but instead, the experience. I tried my best to learn what I could from the amazing guests The Broadway League invited, including the coach I was assigned to, Adam Kantor. When they called my name for the award, everyone around me freaked out and gave me a hug, telling me how much they loved me and saying I was great. I could do nothing but awkwardly smile and laugh as I walked up to get an award I didn’t really expect at all.
It’s been such an honor to represent Houston Christian High School through this journey. I couldn’t have done it without their encouragement and support. I can’t wait to see all the rising stars the school will produce in the future. ‘Stang ‘Em!