Daniel Blum and Gabi Ilg are up for Best High School Actor and Actress at this year’s National High School Musical Theater Awards, better known as “The Jimmy Awards.”
Both Blum and Ilg have been acting from a young age and performed in their high school theater productions. Blum attended Mayfield High School, while Ilg went to Medina High School. They first competed at The Dazzle Awards at Playhouse Square in May and won their respective categories.
“When I heard my name called, I didn't even process that it was my name. I just kind of knew it wasn't anyone else's,” said Ilg.
“I felt like I was going to throw up,” said Blum. “When I heard my name called, I kind of blacked out a little. It was crazy.”
Winning the regional competition at Playhouse Square meant that competing at “The Jimmy Awards” in New York City was the next step. The awards will bring 92 nominees together from 46 organizations across the country.
Blum and Ilg have been preparing for the big show with rehearsals over the past week alongside Broadway’s best at The Juilliard School.
“The days are long, but it's worth it and everybody loves it because this is what they want to do,” said Blum.
“I'm just so excited for all of our hard work to pay off and to like hear those the sold out crowd that's just so excited for all of us to be there on stage,” said Ilg.
Blum and Ilg will perform at the Minskoff Theater in Manhattan with their families and friends attending the awards show, cheering them on.
While the competition is tough, both have thought about what it would mean to hear their names called as the big winner.
“It almost feels like a gateway. You hear your name called and so does everybody else,” said Blum. “I'm going to be nervous, excited, and I'm going to be happy for whoever wins.”
“I think it would just be a very reaffirming feeling because, even though we're all here, everyone is experiencing self-doubt,” said Ilg. “If we were to hear our names called, it would just be so much like, oh, I'm good at this, and I am giving something good to the world.”
As for their dream Broadway roles, Gabi says they would like to star as Lydia in “Beetlejuice The Musical,” while Daniel says Javert in “Les Misérables” is his pick.
The Jimmy Awards being Monday, June 27 at 7:30 p.m. in New York City. You can also livestream the event.
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