Local Teen Takes Top Prize at National High School Musical Theatre Awards

Henry McGee

Marla Louissaint has a lot of reasons to celebrate this summer.

Earlier this month, the 17-year-old graduated from the Upper East Side’s prestigious Beacon School. In August, she’ll head to Fordham University where she’ll study engineering.

And on Monday evening, Louissaint took home the top female acting prize at the seventh annual National High School Musical Theatre Awards.

The awards -- also known as “The Jimmys,” after legendary Broadway theatre owner and producer James M. Nederlander -- celebrate outstanding student achievements in high school musical theater. Finalists are chosen after winning top spots in local competitions across the county, presented by a variety of professional theater organizations.

Louissant, who represented New York after winning the Gershwin Awards, was named best actress for her portrayal of the complex Caroline in “Caroline, or Change.”

For her solo performance Monday night, the young actress took on another challenging role, singing “I’m Here” as Celie from “The Color Purple.”

Louissant and California resident Anthony Skillman, who was named best actor, each received a check for $10,000 to further their education. They’re also both eligible for a scholarship to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, as well as a part in an upcoming national advertising campaign for Wyndham Rewards.

Monday’s ceremony, hosted by two-time Tony winner Michael Cerveris (“Fun Home”), featured performances from 52 young actors and actresses from around the country. The group spent 5 days rehearsing for the event, while being coached by Broadway stars like Eden Espinosa (“Wicked”) and Telly Leung (“Allegiance”).

For more information about the National High School Theatre Awards, visit

Contact Us