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Look Out NYC: Conard High School Graduate Heads to Jimmy Awards

James Thibault as Javert. Conard High School Performing Arts presents "Les Misérables." March 2024. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

After James Thibault won the Stephen Sondheim Award for Best Actor for his performance as Javert in Les Misérables, he was able to participate in the Jimmy Awards – the first nominee and participant from West Hartford in the Jimmy Awards.

James Thibault as Javert in Les Misérables. Photo Credit: Mike McMath

By Kaily Martinez

Once a student graduates from high school, their path is full of endless opportunities. For James Thibault, a graduate of West Hartford’s Conard High School Class of 2024, winning the Stephen Sondheim Award for Best Actor as Javert in Les Misérables,  made him eligible to go to the Jimmy Awards hosted by the National High School Musical Theatre Awards held in New York City on Monday, June 24.

James Thibault’s mother, Katie Thibault, said during the Stephen Sondheim Awards, she and James Thibault’s stepfather, Patrick O’Beirne, were unaware that James was going to go to the Jimmy Awards. Once James Thibault’s name was announced and they found out he was going to go to the Jimmy Awards, they were over the moon.

James Thibault gave an acceptance speech after winning the Sondheim Award for Best Actor. Photo Credit: Hunter Parker

“We were so thrilled for him. He’s going to pursue theater next year, and he just made that decision to go to Wagner College. So, we felt this validated his decision to study theater next year,” Katie Thibault said. 

Hunter Parker, the theater director at Conard High School, dived into details of what the participants do in preparation for the Jimmy Awards. For about nine days, the students learn the opening and closing numbers and undergo an “adjudication process” by casting directors and choreographers to be evaluated.

“I would love to shout out Conard and all of West Hartford Public Schools for getting James this far. He wouldn’t be here without the support of Hunter, Mr. Eurich and the whole team. Not only do they teach him about music, voice and acting… But there is this kindness that goes throughout the theater program at Conard,” Katie Thibault said.

While the participants are busy working every day from morning until night, they continue to run on adrenaline from everything they have experienced and have yet to experience. Parker said participants got to see the Tony Awards and MJ the Musical donated its marquee in the middle of Times Square to share the students’ faces on it.

James Thibault acted as Javert during his performance in Les Misérables. Photo Credit: Mike McMath

“James is just an awesome kid. He’s such a hardworking, kind and humble student. Anyone that knows him is so excited for him because he works so hard and he’s so deserving of this opportunity,” Parker said. 

Since James Thibault is currently working hard in New York City, unfortunately, he was unavailable for a quote. Although, as he was hosting a takeover on the Sondheim Awards Instagram on June 20, James appeared to be enthusiastic, delighted and eager to be participating in the program and for the Jimmy Awards on Monday night. 

“Rehearsals, I find them to be so much fun. Really intense, but also, I think everything that we are doing is so, so, so cool,” James Thibault said in response to an Instagram question.

While the event is sold out, at 7:30 p.m. on Monday night, viewers will be able to see who the top two finalists are at the Jimmy Awards. The event will be live-streamed and can be viewed on Facebook or YouTube

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Kaily Martinez

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