Broadway or Bust


Episode 3: "And the Winner Is..."

The show at New York’s Minskoff Theatre is about to begin, and it's time for the BROADWAY OR BUST contestants to take the stage, whether they're ready or not. Watch at the six finalists are selected, and the winners are crowned. In the words of director Van Kaplan, “This week … is going to shape their whole lives, whether they go into the theater or not.”

AIRED: September 23, 2012 | 0:56:46

>> ANNOUNCER: Previously on Broadway or Bust, 60 of America's top high school musical theater performers arrived in New York to compete in the coveted Jimmy Awards, and for the title of Best Male and Female Actor. >> Are you the Broadway or the bust? >> Broadway. >> ANNOUNCER: Josh made the risky choice to sing a solo in Italian. >> ♪ Oh, dio... ♪ >> ANNOUNCER: Evan struggled with his solo from Les Mis. >> What's the starting note? I'm sorry. >> ANNOUNCER: And Brittany tapped into emotions that threatened to overwhelm her.

Boot camp prepared them for this day. >> Absolutely not even close. Go back! Let's go! >> Whoa. >> It's grueling, and it's tough, and not everyone makes it. >> ANNOUNCER: But boot camp is over. >> I need you to screw your heads on right now. >> I'm incredibly nervous. >> Definitely a nervous wreck. >> On a scale of one to ten I'm, like, at a 20. >> ANNOUNCER: Last night all of the contestants sang for the judges. >> ♪ You're going to love me. ♪ >> ANNOUNCER: On tonight's episode... >> One, two, three, Jimmys! >> ANNOUNCER: The young performers step onto a Broadway stage for the first time in their lives. >> ♪ In NYC... ♪ >> ANNOUNCER: Each gets one more chance to wow the judges. >> Guys, we cannot send her out there to sing that song. >> We just keep trying to calm them down and tell them, "Do your show." At some point, I go, "I am starting whether you are ready or not." >> ANNOUNCER: Six finalists will be selected to perform their solos. Only two will win. Find out who. >> The Jimmy Award for Best Performance by an Actor goes to... >> ANNOUNCER: That's all coming up on Broadway or Bust.

>> Explore new worlds and new ideas through programs like this, made available for everyone through contributions to your PBS station from viewers like you. Thank you.

>> ♪ I'm singing in the rain. ♪ >> We're going to the Minskoff Theater! >> For the first time, right? >> The first time.

We're performing. and rehearsing for the 2012 Jimmy Awards. >> Yay!

>> This will officially be our first time on a Broadway stage. >> ♪ Broadway, Broadway... ♪ >> I hope this isn't a sign about how today's going to go. >> ♪ ...with all its charm to be a Broadway star ♪ Bright lights, white lights... ♪ >> I am buggin'.

Oh my gosh, I am so excited. I'm like... I woke up this morning I was like, "Today is the day."

>> Let's go! >> Whoever wins is absolutely deserving.

At least for me, performing on Broadway is like... that's way beyond the prize already.

>> All right, we have just officially arrived.

>> You might want to stand over here out of the rain. >> We're about to step onto a Broadway stage. Hey guys, how does it feel to be going into the Minskoff? >> I'm going to show this video to my kids. Ah, this is, like, the coolest thing I've ever seen in my life. >> Shut the front door. Wow.

>> The afternoon at the Minskoff is all about rehearsal, all about their very first time on stage.

>> So guys, you have to all come over here for a meeting. >> And we walk through the show. And then, you know, at 7:30, the show starts, and it's really up to them.

>> Wow, today is the actual day.

This is what we've been working toward the entire week. And I was kind of like, (humming)

I was kind of, like, singing a little bit. And I said, "Oh God, my voice is going away."

>> I think tonight is going to be the most competition-like feel in this whole entire thing.

We're going to be reminded once again that, "Oh wait, this... somebody has to win this thing." >> In your mind you're screaming, like, "Oh, my god, oh, my god, oh, my god."

But you have to sort of have this cool face on, and just have a smile on your face, and act like you're completely calm.

But inside it's just like... I was a rush of emotions.

>> There's so many talented kids that I know are going to be there that I feel that if I could just get a chance to be a finalist and showcase what I have as well, I would be perfectly happy with that.

>> So ladies, pay attention to this. This is how you get from stage right to stage left.

My name is Alix Claps. I'm the Production Stage Manager for The Jimmy Awards.

I take my pied piper and my parade of 60 kids down underneath. And I want the kids know how to get from one side to another, because they have to do that during the show. That's the orchestra room. Don't mess with them.

If you are one of the six finalists, and you get sent to be loaded on the elevator, this is the elevator. We're coming up to stage left, okay? Then, I take them up to the stage left stairs, and we get onto stage left and then take them out on stage. And it's always magical the first time they come out on stage. It's really... it's one of the most fun moments of the whole week.

>> From the moment we get on stage, you know, everyone is just kind of like, "Oh, my god." And the girls are crying, and they're like, "Oh, my God, I love Broadway!" And I'm just kind of there, just soaking up the moment. And I'm kind of like, "Wow, I could definitely get used to this."

>> When I first stepped on that stage it was like heaven, like I had won more than a billion dollars.

>> When they step on stage for the very first time, that... you know, it's kind of a culmination of the entire five days.

And then we run through their medley numbers.

>> During the technical rehearsal in the afternoon, while one medley's out on stage working, the lighting designer and the music director are doing their thing, and backstage, our job is to just be ready for what comes next. And then my task is to keep them focused and quiet.

>> ♪ Bad news, go 'way call round some day... ♪ >> So sometimes that means they lip-synch along to their friends' medleys and do a kind of silent backstage dance party. >> ♪ May fall down stairs who cares, who cares I'm dancing and I... ♪ >> The biggest challenge is the clock. It's a ticking clock. And no matter what happens, we've got a show.

And there are right now 1,500 people coming. >> We only have a few hours to tech the entire show. We go as fast as we can. We space everything. And for me, the biggest challenge keeping them focused.

>> ♪ Magic foot... ♪ Write the letter.

When someone says, "You're about to go perform on a Broadway stage," you're like, "Wait, what?" And by the time that you can really realize what's going on, you're performing on a Broadway stage.

So I've got to kind of get my mind set right, and center myself, and freak out after I go on, because that's the time that you can let loose, because I don't have to perform anymore.

>> Right on "Great Big Stuff." >> If I were to win this competition, I would just be overwhelmed with, you know, joy, and just amazement.

Here we go. One, two, three, four. ♪ Great big stuff I really do deserve it... ♪ Wow, Evan's so good. I need to get my stuff together and just, like, work my hardest and see, am I good enough? Am I as good as them? Like, constantly trying to compare yourself. ♪ Great big stuff nothing crass or crappy ♪ Great big stuff that would make me very happy ♪ Great big stuff bring it on and make it snappy... ♪ >> It's not just how you do it in the confines of a small room with a piano player behind you. It's you're onstage, and there's a full orchestra, and you're in a Broadway theater, and you have to rise to that occasion, and you have to perform. So the judges are looking at all aspects of your experience. They'll score their ability for singing, dancing, and acting. >> It's like number, number, total score. Like, it's like a number. >> But... but yeah, they were scoring yesterday. >> I don't think it's, like, concrete. >> The kids are always anxious about the judging. They sort of know how it works. And we all only sort of know how it works.

And so the kids are going to love to speculate. They're going to speculate until the cows come home about "Well, what do the judges want to see?"

And, you know, we just keep trying to calm them down and tell them, "Do your show."

>> This is about nobody else tonight but you. Believe in yourselves and go for it, yes. We're going to go "One, two, three," throw our hands up and say, "Jimmy's." Ready? >> One, two, three, Jimmy's! >> Have fun, have fun, have fun! >> I get so close with these kids during our days together. I get so attached to them. We form a very special bond. And the hardest part about that bond is that eventually you have to let go. >> Keisha, she pushed us from the very beginning. She told us, and she warned us, there will be blood, and there will be tears.

But also this kind of revelation, I'd say, of "At least you have what it takes," you know? "You can do it." >> It's been a grueling week, and very stressful. So... and the song that I'm singing is very, very demanding-- vocally demanding, not just emotional.

So after a while I was like, "Yeah, let's go." >> We're in the Minskoff Theater, an enormous theater, Broadway stage.

And they could give the performance of their lives, and ignite the audience, and meet some Broadway casting agents and directors and professionals that might give them that big break.

>> We're going to perform on the Broadway stage. >> It's Broadway. >> Or bust! >> It's B-B-Broadway or Bust. >> Is this thing on? >> Hi mom. >> It's like herding squirrels. You have them all in place, and then something happens. You get news from the house that they need five minutes. So you've got 60 kids backstage, and then you need to keep them sort of in the same place for five minutes. And then you get them all gathered around, and at some point I go, "I am starting whether you are ready or not." And that usually helps to get them in order.

>> Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 2012 National High Musical Theatre Awards.

>> ♪ Look at me I'm the king of New York ♪ Suddenly, I'm the king of New York ♪ Now is the time to seize the day ♪ Stare down the odds and seize the day ♪ Minute by minute that's how you'll win it ♪ We will find a way. ♪ >> As soon as they turned around and said "Look at me," my heart, it just goes, and it's so exciting. And they realize that they're on a Broadway stage, and they cry.

♪ The circle of life and it moves us all ♪ Through despair and hope... ♪ Through faith and love ♪ 'Til we find our place on the path unwinding... ♪ I know it sounds truly crazy and true the vision's hazy ♪ But I swear someday I'll be in NYC ♪ Suddenly I'm the king of New York ♪ Can you feel the love tonight? ♪

>> We are about to see six group medleys with our nominees singing songs from the roles that earned them Best Actress or Actor awards at their regional competitions.

Our judges saw them all rehearse yesterday, but tonight, their performances will be scored. >> Uh-oh.

Let's meet our judges. Wave wildly so we can see you.

Our first judge...

>> There's seven judges-- two casting directors, two producers, a director.

>> Please welcome Scott Ellis. >> Alicia Parker. >> Nick Scandalios.

>> Kent Gash. >> Montego Glover. >> Rachel Hoffman.

>> So it's a real collective of talented people who do this every day of their lives. >> Please welcome... >> What we're going to look for tonight in the medley performances is the people who are already sort of the front-runners for us to, you know, go further or drop back. You know what I mean? It's as simple as now we're going to see them in their costume in their sort of, you know, genre, and see if they shine.

>> ♪ I'm all alone in the universe ♪ So all alone in the universe

♪ I found magic but they won't see it

♪ They all call me a lunatic ♪ Okay call me a lunatic

♪ If I stand on my own so be it... ♪

>> I'm just watching for somebody who has really thought about the character, has thought about who they are, what they need, and really looking for somebody who also even when they are not performing the solo, they're in their character still, and their relating to the other people on the stage as their character. ♪ alive ♪ I have never seen me so alive ♪ Such a feeling of evil inside

♪ It's the feeling of being Edward Hyde! ♪

(cheers and applause)

>> Well, you got trouble, my friend. I'm going to be perfectly frank.

Would you like to know what kind of conversation goes on while they're loafing around that hall?

They're trying out Bevo, trying out Cubans, trying out... >> Drew got me. I mean, it was like watching Dick Van Dyke, you know what I mean? Because he was just such a goof. >> Trouble. >> ♪ Oh, we got trouble. ♪ >> Right here in River City. >> ♪ Right here in River City. ♪ >> With a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for pool. >> ♪ That stands for pool. ♪ >> We've surely got trouble. >> ♪ We've surely got trouble. ♪ >> Right here in River City. >> ♪ Right here. ♪ >> ♪ Remember the Maine, Plymouth Rock, and the Golden Rule ♪ Our children's children gonna have trouble. ♪ >> Well, you've got trouble. We're in terrible, terrible trouble. ♪ That game with the 15 numbered balls is the devil's tool ♪ Devil's tool ♪ We've surely got trouble, trouble, trouble ♪ Oh, yes, we got trouble here we got great big trouble. ♪ >> With a T. >> ♪ With a capital T. ♪ >> Got to rhyme it with P. >> ♪ That rhymes with P. ♪ >> And that stands for pool!

Holy crap, holy crap. I was performing on a Broadway stage for the first time, so it feels pretty frickin' good. And the audience is awesome and they're feeling it.

>> I learned to contain my fear, because all the people around me didn't show their fear.

So, I mean, obviously everybody's scared, but I think there's a point where if you're too scared, that sometimes will mess up your performance. ♪ Gods, please be there ♪ Don't you remember your little Ti Moune from the tree

♪ Wake up, look down hear my prayer ♪ Don't single me out and then forget me ♪ Oh, gods, oh, gods let me fly ♪ Send me to places where no one before me... ♪ >> She's pretty, she is, you know, nontraditional casting and all that kind of thing, and she's exotic, and she had a little spriteness to her. But then I think the longer you heard her sing you saw that she's a young singer.

>> ♪ Until I think about him and he was when I last touched him

♪ And how he would have been were I to be with him today ♪ Those very rare occasions don't let up they keep on coming ♪ ♪ All I ever wanted and I'm throwing it away. ♪

>> ♪ Someday I'll wish upon a star ♪ And wake up where the clouds are far behind me ♪ Where troubles melt like lemon drops ♪ Away above the chimney tops that's where you'll find me

♪ Somewhere over the rainbow... ♪ >> Sometimes you get kids who come in with songs like "Over the Rainbow," and it's familiar, and it's a little harder sometimes for us to be as excited by that.

Whereas someone comes in with something new like "I'm Here" from The Color Purple, and you see this wonderful opening up of heart and soul from a young person, and it's really, really exciting.

♪ I believe I have inside of me

♪ Everything that I need to live a bountiful life ♪ With all the love alive in me ♪ I'll stand as tall as the tallest tree ♪ And I'm thankful for every day that I'm given ♪ Both the easy and the hard ones I'm living... ♪ My voice was definitely in the worst condition possible. Like, it just wasn't... it wasn't where I wanted to be, but I think I was able to use it enough to still portray the character. ♪ Most of all I'm thankful for loving who I really am ♪ Yes, I'm beautiful and I'm here... ♪ I cried, because I was so into it. And the audience loved it, and really felt my connection. And the girls were crying with me, so I know that I'm definitely going to be one of these finalists. I know it.

>> Brittany is a really good actor. And you're like, "Oh, my god." She stood out, she was so committed, she was so emotional, and she delivered that song. >> I feel like the underdog. And I'm about to go on. I pray to God that I don't crack. And I pray to God that I just do what I've been rehearsing, and that everything goes well. ♪ afraid of let daylight dry your tears ♪ I'm here with you beside you ♪ To guard you and to guide you

♪ Say you'll share with me one love, one lifetime

♪ Let me lead you... ♪ Everything was going smoothly I'd say for the first half of the song. ♪ Say you need me with you here beside... ♪ Then I have to hit that high note. ♪ Anywhere you go let me go too... ♪ It's just like the sound just stopped. Not only did, like, all these people hear it, but now it's on national television, and the judges were watching. I felt like a shadow of disappointment, you know, leaving that stage. I was just like, "Here was my chance and I blew it."

>> ♪ Magic Foot! ♪

Write the letter. ♪ Magic Foot! ♪ Write the perfect letter. The judges and the people in the audience the night of the Jimmy Awards, it's real, real important people-- people that are cynics, you know? Broadway people that are expecting something good. So I'm focusing on not embarrassing myself. P-F-E-F-F... ooh. Pfeff. E, R, let's go! ♪ Magic foot magic foot, magic foot. ♪ Don't go kaput, foot! ♪ Magic foot magic foot, magic foot write the goddamn letter ♪ Magic foot... ♪ >> Evan is hilarious. He is hilarious. He is free and wild, and yet he's still really serving the character and serving the material. And "Magic Foot" sometimes feels like a one-joke song. And I kept laughing and laughing and laughing. I was hysterical. He was as funny as the original guy on Broadway was. >> ♪ Uh-huh, Uh,-huh. ♪ Listen up! ♪ I want a mansion with a moat... ♪

Watching Evan perform was certainly motivating for me, because we were both comedic characters in the medley.

And watching him go first before me was always really inspiring for me, because Evan set the bar high. ♪ I really do deserve it ♪ Great big stuff With servants who will serve it ♪ Great big stuff I don't give a damn what it's fer ♪ Every day is my birthday every night is my Bar mitzver

♪ Great big stuff... ♪ >> Both Evan and Billy are great character actors. One is, like, wild and crazy, hysterical funny, and one is kind of cool and sneak up on you funny. >> ♪ I want great big stuff! ♪ >> The question is, is there room for both of them? >> I mean, If I were to put it in words it, it's like saying, try imagining just, like, the biggest, like, audience you've ever performed for on the most, like, popular stage you've ever performed for, doing the songs that everyone loves and them just, like, feeding you energy. That's kind of how it is. I think I could always want more, but I'm completely satisfied right now. I could be completely satisfied for the rest of my life if I had to. >> At first I was, like, a basket case. I was just, like, shaking and pacing back and forth, and I had butterflies in my stomach. You look out into this huge expanse of a full Broadway stage house, with a full audience. But then right before I went on, I just took a deep breath, and I was like, "You know what? Just do it, be yourself."

♪ You've got to know just what to say and how to say it

♪ You've got to know what game to play and how to play it ♪ You've got to stack those decks... ♪ It's actually really funny, because I am nothing like Lola at all. I'm definitely not a seductress. ♪ In all the right places... ♪ I'm definitely more of the shy math nerd. So donning that corset and suddenly being in command of every man in the room was definitely a shift. ♪ ...the Prince of Wales it's no great art ♪ Getting the heart of a man on a silver platter ♪ A little brains a little talent ♪ With an emphasis on the latter... ♪ >> Elizabeth had chutzpah, and she had life. See, I'm always looking at these kids thinking, "Are they right for Rent, are they right for Wicked, are they right for Smash?" You know? And hard to place her. But at the same time, hard to negate her affecting you, because she had such much life up there.

>> ♪ I hate men I can't abide them even now and then

♪ Than ever marry one of them I'd rest a virgin rather ♪ For husbands are a boring lot and only give you bother ♪ Of course I'm awfully glad that Mother had to marry Father but I hate men... ♪ >> Nicolette doing "I Hate Men" I thought had a strong start. But the way the lyric is written, you kind of have to keep topping and topping and topping with those jokes and those puns. And she couldn't really sustain it. >> ♪ He may have hair upon his chest but sister, so has Lassie ♪ Oh, I hate men. ♪

>> ♪ I don't care if he's a nobody

♪ In my heart he'll be a somebody

♪ Somebody to love me I need it ♪ Gimme that thing called love I want it ♪ Here I am, St. Valentine my bags are packed I'm first in line ♪ Aphrodite, don't forget me Romeo and Juliet me ♪ Fly dove, sing sparrow give me that boy's famous arrow ♪ Gimme, gimme that thing called love called love. ♪

>> Oh, we rocked it, we rocked it. >> We rocked it, we know. >> We're awesome. >> Oh my gosh, it was so incredible.

Oh, my gosh, like, the audience is, like, so fantastic. And it was just so exciting to finally get on stage and be with all of your friends, and show off what you've really been working for the last week.

And it's unreal, and the most incredible experience. >> As soon as the intermission starts, we have about 15 minutes where we have to dash to a room, and really, you know, argue it out to pick our six finalists-- three men and three women who are going to do their solos in front of this audience.

>> Well, do you want to just... want to talk about the women? >> Okay. >> Nicolette. A lot of people still like Nicolette? >> I'm a Nicolette fan. >> How's Nicolette doing? >> I think Nicolette's a yes with everyone else, so... >> So let's put her as a definite yes. >> Okay. >> People like Carly? >> No for me. >> No for me. >> She can go. >> She can go. This is going to help. Lola, Elizabeth, was the other definite? >> I was... last night, not for me, but tonight it was. >> And she did "Disneyland." >> Yeah. >> Okay, what about Erica Durham? >> I think she can go. >> Aida girl? >> She can go. >> She can go. >> She can go for me. >> I'm still with Erica. >> Still like her? Brittany? >> Love her. >> I thought she was lovely. >> Her voice was pretty damaged last night, and it sounded more tired tonight. >> She's a really good actor. I mean, that's what she... >> That's what I thought. >> She really moves you with her acting. >> Okay, you're talking about one of the most iconic songs ever written in the theater, and she has to knock it out of the park. >> Joshua's a favorite, The Light in the Piazza. >> Yes. >> He went a little off tonight in his thing, but he's still a favorite. Evan is the foot guy. >> Yes. >> Yes. >> He's a favorite. >> Billy is Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, a favorite. >> Yes. >> Harry Hill, a favorite? >> Not for me. >> I loved his solo "Before the Summer Ends." >> I actually thought Drew shined a little more tonight then he did last night, even. Like on stage, his presence on stage was very strong. >> Michael was the Jekyll and Hyde. We can lose him? He goes down. Adam Levy, I feel like we could... >> No. And Michael Williams, I feel like we could... >> Yes. I think like Josh is an absolute in, must. That guy is brilliant. Bring him up. >> I really liked Evan. >> I really like Evan too. I would move Evan up. >> I would move him up. That guy is... >> He's hilarious. >> He's hilarious. >> As opposed to... >> Are we going to get rid of Billy because of Evan? >> I think Billy reaches a point of diminishing returns faster in his solo. So we'll have a chance to see what he can't do. >> I mean, wanted to see more of Evan than I wanted to see more of Billy. >> Right. >> Who wants to argue strongly that one of these should be on the top level?

>> During intermission, I was very focused on what was coming next, which was the big announcement. I am not necessarily better at all in any way than any of the other performers. But I brought something different to the table. And I was hoping that the judges could see. >> Winning this competition would be the greatest thing that could ever happen to me. At the moment I feel like I have a shot of being one of the three finalists. I think from my medley and from the solo I performed the night before, I... I think I really let the judges know that this is what I want to do. I can perform. (applause) >> Welcome back, everyone. >> How we feeling, all right? (cheers and applause) >> Would all of our performers please join us on stage? >> Make some noise!

>> Amazing job, everybody. Amazing job. And the six finalists are: Joshua Grosso.

>> I was just thankful, absolutely thankful. And I said, you know, "God, I won't crack this time."

>> Evan Greenberg. >> And when I was called, then we're like "What is this?" And then so we high-fived, and we shook hands. I mean, it was crazy, because we were roommates, and they just called, like, the first two people.

>> Drew Shanfranek.

>> And now for the ladies. >> Nicolette Burton. >> When I heard my name called, I went into utter shock. I just stood in my place, and I had this huge smile on my face. Like, the literal Miss America pageant moment.

>> Erica Durham. >> You know, you're onstage, and, you know, you're clapping and cheering. I definitely felt like I was still in the running. I was nervous, but, you know, the first two you're like, "Okay."

>> And Elizabeth Romero. >> The last one comes, and it's like, you know, you've got this smile on your face, but really it's like, "Oh, my gosh, they didn't choose me, why?" >> Congratulations! >> I'm not even going to lie. I think that was the fakest smile I've ever smiled in my life. >> All right, now this is your time where you have to dash backstage and get ready for your solo. >> Really I was so, so devastated. It was too much to take at once. I just had to go put myself in a little corner. I was like, "Man, if I had just gotten that shot, or if I had just done something a little different." >> If there was one piece of advice I would want these kids to walk away with, it's that they can't take not winning this award as a rejection. Because that's a given. The industry that they have chosen to be in involves rejection every day. The minute you can forget that that's what's happening, and not allow that to affect you, you'll be able to get up the next morning and audition again and again and again. And if you let the rejection sink in, that's when it's going to defeat you. >> It was kind of like this, "Oh, my God, get to work. Get your focus on, because it isn't over yet." That part didn't really faze me. It was more, "I need water, because my throat is dry, and I don't want to crack again."

>> The part where I get really nervous are the solos.

I can't imagine walking on that stage with that X and seeing the audience on the Broadway stage. I'm a dancer. I would have a nervous breakdown. Singing is not my thing. So that is what I get nervous for, when I'm not excited, because I can't imagine what they're feeling. The question always is, you know, are they going to choke, or are they going to thrive?

>> ♪ Il mondo era vuoto le ombre lo riempivan

♪ La luce non pariva mai Clara, la luce nella piazza... ♪ The Italian piece "Il Mondo" is a riskier piece, but there was just something about that piece that's absolutely beautiful. I just was afraid no one would understand it, and no one would really get it. But I... you know, it was a risk and I went for it. ♪ O Dio, datemi mia Clara ♪ O, padre, la sua luce

♪ M'inonda. ♪

>> After Josh performed, I said, "Wow, that was an amazing, amazing performance. Because he really captures the audience. I'm about to perform. I've just got to do the best that I can do. >> Evan Greenberg.

>> ♪ Enter Monsieur lay down your load ♪ Unlace your boots ooh, and rest from the road

♪ This weighs a ton travel's a curse... ♪

It's not a song that you can really sing alone. I don't have other people to play off of. I have to play off of the audience, talk to them like they're my guests in the house. And sometimes it's a hit, and sometimes it's a miss. ♪ Filling up the sausages with this and that ♪ Residents are more than welcome bridal suite is occupied ♪ Reasonable charges plus a little extras on the side ♪ Charge 'em for the lice oh, and extra for the mice ♪ And two percent for looking in the mirror twice. >> That kid has guts. He made us hear that song. And it made us see all the other people on the stage. Just like we were really there with him. It was a really, really crazy, wonderful choice. >> ♪ Everybody raise a glass to the master of the house! ♪

>> Here's Drew Shanfranek.

>> ♪ She made me give my promise a terrifying promise

♪ It's not the kind of promise made every day... ♪ The song is about how if the woman I love gets bit by a vampire, she will turn into a vampire. So she made me promise her if she gets bit again that I would kill her. ♪ To kill a love when it's still so alive ♪ I could not do it my heart would break... ♪ I took my girlfriend and imagined her dying in a hospital. And she made me promise if it gets too bad that I would pull the plug. So that's what I think about when singing the song. It'll break my heart. ♪ To dim the sun before the summer ends ♪ To burn the castle down before the princess is awake... ♪ >> Successful performers are ones that have a sense of themselves, and connect with the material. They'll find a word or a phrase musically that will emotionally connect them to that piece. And they'll have a breakthrough, and it's fantastic. >> ♪ My heart will break I'll keep my word and my heart will break. ♪

(cheers and applause) >> And now, the following finalists are competing for a Jimmy Award for Best Performance by an Actress. Singing "Maybe I Like It This Way," please welcome Nicolette Burton.

>> ♪ I know it's wrong I know he's rough ♪ I don't know what to do But we've been through enough ♪ I know it's time and yet I play maybe I like it this way... ♪ You have to think of putting a great performance on for your audience, putting a fabulous performance on for your judges. Because everything adds up together. So, I mean, everything counted at that point, and I just had to give it my all. ♪ If I could change if I could grow ♪ I'd ask for nothing more and through that door I'd go ♪ But if I do why do I stay? ♪ Maybe he wants me maybe he needs me maybe he loves me ♪ Maybe I like it this way. ♪

>> And you think that you're watching a seasoned veteran up there. And in reality, they're 15 to 18 years old. It's unbelievable what they're doing at this age.

>> ♪ Sal Tlay Ka Siti not just a story mama told

♪ But a village in Ooh-Tah where the roofs are thatched with gold ♪ If I could let myself believe I know just where I'd be ♪ Right on the next bus to paradise Sal Tlay Ka Siti ♪ And I'll bet the people are open minded and don't care who you've been ♪ And all I hope is that when I find it ♪ I'm able to fit in will I fit in ♪ Sal Tlay Ka Siti a land of hope and joy... ♪ >> I loved Erica's work in "Sal Tlay Ka Siti." For us, a Broadway savvy audience, to laugh and respond as though we're hearing the song for the first time, when we've all seen Book of Mormon, is really a compliment to her abilities. >> ♪ Now salvation has a name Sal Tlay Ka Siti. ♪

>> And now, singing "Disneyland" is Elizabeth Romero. >> I was definitely terrified. I think I was just more in shock than anything. But I knew that no matter what happened, I just needed to be me, I just needed to go and do it.

♪ Disneyland, Magic Kingdom.

Disneyland, on a western breeze

♪ Magic carpet please carry me away ♪ Now, I know you're going to say the trees are paper mache ♪ It's done with mirrors the magic there ♪ Each little bird's full of springs you press a button it sings ♪ Recorded music in the air ♪ They've had the mountain refaced ♪ It's done with plywood and paste go on say it ♪ And I'll turn around and I'll tell you I don't care ♪ I don't care

I will live in Disneyland ♪ Make my home in Disneyland... ♪ >> People start that song and nine times out of ten I'm like, "Oh, must I hear that song again, really? Really?" And she's fantastic. I mean, it was like she was writing it as it was happening. It was that fresh. >> ♪ Give me Disneyland take me there to Disneyland ♪ And when I get to Disneyland I'll stay. ♪ (cheers and applause) The moment I finished the last note of the song, I had my arms out and I just had my head up, and I was just taking in that moment. I was like, "Oh, my gosh, I just sang a solo on a Broadway stage, and I was me." >> This is a hard one. >> Okay, judges, please cast your final votes and select our Jimmy Award winners. Good luck to the nominees, and the judges, too. >> Each judge ranks the boy soloists one, two and three, and the girl soloists one, two and three. And then all the votes are tallied up.

>> And now for the top awards of the evening.

I'd like to ask our six 2012 Jimmy Awards finalists to join us onstage.

And now, the 2012 Jimmy Award for Best Performance by an Actor goes to... (drum roll) ...Joshua Grosso. (cheers and applause)

And the 2012 Jimmy Award for Best Performance by an Actress goes to... (drum roll) ...Elizabeth Romero.

>> When I heard my name, I literally jumped. My jaw probably dropped. I didn't even know how to react. I was shaking. But it's kind of nice to be recognized in the sense that I feel like I've done something right, and that there is a reason why I'm doing this.

>> It is my pleasure to present you each with a check for $10,000. (cheers and applause)

(laughter) >> First off I'd like to say thank you all for coming out here tonight and supporting the arts. I want to thank Mr. Van Kaplan. I mean, without him, you know... it's wonderful. The director. And most importantly, Mr. Nederlander and his organization for allowing high school students like myself and all of the people that you saw onstage today, allowing us to do this. I'd like to thank my mom and dad, my sister, my brothers. Finally, I'd like to thank, most importantly, most dearly, my family back there. You know, the 59 other people that I got to know over these six days, and we cried, we laughed. So I'd like to thank you all, you know, for making me feel at home. Thank you all for coming out here tonight. And this is truly a blessing, you know? Thank God. Thank you. Thank you all. >> Wow. I have to thank Keisha and Van. You two have made this the most incredible experience. This is unbelievable to perform on a Broadway stage in the heart of New York City. That's unheard of for a lot of kids our age. And so we're really blessed and thankful for this opportunity. So thank you so much for this once in a lifetime opportunity. Yes. I have made some incredible friendships these last six days that I know are going to last me for a lifetime. And so I just want to say thank you to everyone. Thanks. (cheers and applause)

♪ Here right now here right now this is what we're living for ♪ This is when we give in to the moment and let go... ♪ >> The closing for me is always emotional. It makes me cry every single time, because it's... in that moment I feel like these 60 kids come together and look at each other, and it's a moment of "I did it. I accomplished something that I never knew was possible." >> ♪ Here is where we start becoming all we want to be... ♪ >> I always knew that I wanted to be up onstage. Winning the Jimmy is an immense honor. But now it shows me that I have still a long, long way to go. And I'm willing to do it. I'm willing to work for it. >> ♪ So much for us to discover still... ♪ >> From the time that I stepped into that coaching room, not knowing anything, to transforming to this presence, this actor, this performer, I feel like it's been an amazing journey, and I'm so proud of what I've accomplished. >> ♪ Here right now this is why we made the climb ♪ Now we're here here right now here right now... ♪ >> Performing is, like, my peace. When I'm performing, I forget about the whole world and everything, and all its problems. I feel like nothing can stop me right now. >> ♪ But I swear someday I'll be in NYC ♪ Suddenly I'm the kind of New York ♪ Can you feel the love tonight? ♪

>> You form these bonds so quickly, and then all of a sudden you have to say goodbye. This is the part where I cry. Yeah, okay, don't cry, don't cry, don't cry. But that's the nature of the business. You know, every show you do, every gig you do, every project. >> I will miss them terribly, the 59 other people there. The wonderful family, you know, that we became. I'll probably cry the first two weeks just because they're not here. >> I think part of the process is to let go. Once that you've brought them to the pinnacle that it's over, and you move on. But that's what theater's about. I mean, we're on to the next show.

>> Well, I started out, my father, he had the Shubert Lafayette in Detroit in 1940.

He gave me a job in the box office. >> And there's the marquee. >> It's such a crap game, you know? My father used to tell me, "Nobody can pick a hit from a flop." And I decided early in life, if you get a lot out of it, you've got to put some things back into it. That's how I got to these Jimmy Awards. So we decided all these young people should be coming to New York to at least dance on a Broadway stage. >> ♪ Someday I'll be... ♪

>> For more on Broadway or Bust, go to, where you'll find exclusive online video, performances, contestant profiles, and the entire show streamed online.

>> Explore new worlds and new ideas through programs like this, made available for everyone through contributions to your PBS station from viewers like you. Thank you.


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