At Wharton Center Events

Join Us for the 11th Annual Sutton Foster Awards

The 11th Annual Sutton Foster Awards are almost here!

High school musical stars from across Michigan are professionally judged in their local productions for the opportunity to participate in the Sutton Foster Awards (SFA). Nominees will come together as a group over the course of two weekends to grow and develop their theatre skills in workshops lead by industry professionals. At the end of the SFA Showcase Weekend participants will present a live show for friends, family and the community.  
From this performance, two winners for Outstanding Performer in a Leading Role will take their A-game to New York City to compete in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards–also known as the Jimmy Awards. 

Join us as we name the 2023 winners at our showcase, May 21 at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit!

Tickets available now

Hear from the 2022 winners about their experience at the Jimmy Awards last summer!


“Growing up in the world of theatre, the Jimmy Awards was this mystical golden ticket I had heard of and only dreamed of attending. The world really started paying attention to the Jimmy’s in 2018 when both winners were offered leading roles on Broadway immediately after, and since that cycle I had fantasized about the opportunity to go and be seen and heard by New York City. I began my journey through this process when I was cast as Leading Player in Interlochen Arts Academy’s production of Pippin in the fall of 2021. This particular role was something I had been dreaming of since 6th grade and it was one of the primary reasons I had pursued theatre so intensely for so long. Performing the role I had wanted for 6 years was a deeply gratifying and surreal experience. What I didn’t know at the time and what I wouldn’t know for another 4 months was that my director had invited adjudicators to a performance and had selected one of my castmates and I as nominees for the Sutton Foster Awards, an unforgettable 48-hour experience in which I worked with some of Michigan’s most talented youth. I was deeply honored with the award of Best Lead Actor by the Sutton Foster Awards and given the opportunity to advance to the Jimmy Awards. Working on the performance for the Jimmy Awards was very intense and challenging, and therefore very rewarding and thrilling. Not only did I learn so much from other students about our craft, but I learned so much about myself as an artist and as a human being. These experiences really created a permanent shift in my life and perspective and I will truly never forget the growth and love I experienced in those 2 months.”


“I was absolutely honored to represent the Sutton Foster Award at the Jimmy’s. The atmosphere when I first walked in the Juilliard Building was unmatched. I had never felt such a rush of energy from my peers. It was amazing to see all of us come from different places and backgrounds with the same goal of creating something beautiful. Through the week, we worked on the show and had the amazing opportunity to attend masterclasses with Broadway legends. My teacher was Dennis Jones. He is an inspiring choreographer and actor who helped me discover the character within my song. These masterclasses were one of my favorite parts at the Jimmy Awards. I have met some of the most talented people in America. They are the most kind and genuine you will meet, always there to put a smile on your face. The Jimmy’s can be stressful at times, so it’s always nice to have a helpful friend with you along the way. I was a part of the Shubert Organization tribute to Stephen Sondheim. It was an honor to be able to pay respects to such a notable person in the theatre community. The performance was one of the most exhilarating moments of my life and I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity.”

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