Theater Notebook: Two high school teenagers traveled to New York after Broadway San Diego awards

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Coronado School of the Arts senior Kendall Becerra and Canyon Crest Academy senior Ryan Sweeney head to Broadway to attend the National High School Musical Theater Awards, better known as the Jimmy Awards, on June 27.

Becerra and Sweeney are the winners of the 2022 Broadway San Diego Awards, an annual competition for high school theater students in San Diego County, which returned to a live competition this year after being canceled in 2020 and held virtually in 2021.

Ryan Sweeney performs at the Broadway San Diego Awards finale on May 29 at the Balboa Theater.

(Ken Jacques)

The winners of 40 regional award programs compete each summer at the Jimmy Awards at the Minskoff Theater in Manhattan. Of the 140,000 eligible students nationwide, about 90 make it the Jimmys each year to compete for two awards: Best Actor or Best Actress in a Musical. Winners receive a cash prize (in 2019 the prize was $25,000).

Local prizes and travel expenses for winners in New York City are sponsored by Broadway San Diego, a division of the Nederlander Organization, one of the nation’s largest entertainment venue owners and operators. The Jimmys are named after the company’s CEO and producer, James “Jimmy” Nederlander, who died in 2016.

In the fall, Becerra plans to attend Marymount Manhattan College, where she will study musical theater. She said she’s wanted to be in musicals since she was in kindergarten and has wanted to compete in the Jimmys since she started high school.

Kendall Becerra performs at the Broadway San Diego Awards finale on May 29 at the Balboa Theater.

Kendall Becerra performs at the Broadway San Diego Awards finale on May 29 at the Balboa Theater.

(Ken Jacques)

“My freshman year of high school, a former Coronado School of the Arts student who went to the Jimmys gave us the whole rundown, and ever since then I’ve dreamed of playing Minskoff, but I never thought that it would become a reality,” she said. ”

Sweeney is part of Canyon Crest’s Envision Theater Arts program. In the fall, he will attend Baldwin Wallace University, a liberal arts college in Ohio, where he plans to study musical theater and composition.

“I really dream of one day being able to use the theater arts to inspire people, just like I was inspired as a freshman in high school,” he said.

They were among 19 semi-finalists hand-picked from more than 70 regional high schools who spent a week in workshops, practice and performance training ahead of the May 28-29 competition at the Balboa Theater. The awards program is led by Artistic Director Joey Landwehr.

Sweeney and Becerra were chosen from a group of six finalists, including Anthony Graf from Cathedral Catholic High School, Ben Jimenez from La Jolla High, Emma Ragen from La Jolla Country Day School and Sage Taylor from Elite Academic Academy. Full disclosure: I have been part of the BSD Awards volunteer judging team for many years.

To follow the progress of local winners at the Jimmys, visit jimmyawards.com.

A scene from

A scene from the play ‘The Hunt’ in the Scripps Ranch Theater’s 2019 Out on a Limb Festival.

(Daren Scott)

Scripps Ranch announces “Out on a Limb” lineup

The Scripps Ranch Theater will wrap up its 42nd season later this month with its Out on a Limb—New Plays from America’s Finest City festival. Founded in 2011 by Robert May, the festival program returns after a pandemic hiatus with new works by Californian playwrights. The four winning one-act plays will be presented together in the same program at 8 p.m. on June 24 and 25 and at 2 p.m. on June 26.

The plays featured are Raegan Payne’s “Chameleon,” about God having a crisis of confidence; “Go Fish” by Thomas J. Misuraca, about a woman worried that her elderly mother who lives alone has turned the corner; “Fidelity” by Marilyn Harris Kriegel, on the complexity of truth; and Christian St. Croix’s “We Lovers,” about a group of people who come together in Balboa Park to share their cinematic love stories. Tickets cost between $10 and $20 at scrippsranchtheatre.org.

Moonlight reorganizes the program of “Cinderella”

Moonlight Stage Productions has canceled the first two performances of its “Cinderella” musical comedy series by Rodgers and Hammerstein at the Moonlight Amphitheater due to a few cast members testing positive for COVID. Originally scheduled for Wednesday, June 8, “Cinderella” will now open on Saturday, June 10. To make up for the dates reserved for ticket holders of canceled performances, two new performances have been added on Tuesday evenings. Those with tickets for the June 8 show will be rescheduled to Tuesday, June 14, and ticket holders for the June 9 performance will be rescheduled to Tuesday, June 21. Those unable to attend the new dates can contact VisTix on (7600 724-2110.

Diversionary and Lamb’s Extend shows

Two local theaters have announced extensions of ongoing musical productions. Diversionary Theater has extended its first musical “Eighty-Sixed” through June 26, and Lamb’s Players Theater has extended its musical “Million Dollar Quartet” through July 24. For tickets, visit diversionary.org or lambsplayers.org.

Seinfeld back in San Diego

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld will return to San Diego in the fall, with two shows, at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on September 16, at the San Diego Civic Theater. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, June 10 on broadwaysd.com.

Kragen writes about theater for the San Diego Union-Tribune. Email him at [email protected]

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