Student and actor Ian Hayes from Buffalo, New York shares what it felt like to win the Best Performance in an Ensemble Award at the 2017 Jimmy Awards.
On Monday, June 26, the Jimmy Awards took place. This was a very special night for me because this ceremony featured 74 of the best high school actors in the country, and it brought them all to New York City to make their Broadway debut. I will never forget the feeling of stepping out on the stage of a sold out show on Broadway, nor will I forget the joy of hanging out backstage in the dressing room with Ben Platt and 36 of the most talented guys in the country.
I also had the privilege of working with Adam Kantor all week on my audition songs. All of this was part of my amazing week long experience that led to my acceptance of the Best Performance in an Ensemble Award.
During the ceremony, I performed in the opening and closing, as well as the production number, which was a tribute to James M. Nederlander. It is because of my participation in these specific numbers that I received my award. I am so thankful for my Jimmy award, and it has given me the ability to further appreciate the role of an ensemble in a Broadway show.
Receiving this award speaks to my ability to work well with others, which I feel is very important in the performance business and definitely gives me more confidence. This confidence is something which I believe will follow me into my professional career, and I am very thankful for that. This also demonstrates to me that my ability to work well with others has not gone unnoticed. The award is given to the person who works hard, creates a positive environment, follows directions well, and works well with others. The qualities of this award say a lot about an actor and a person in general, which is why I am so honored to be this year's recipient. As I strive to be a respectful cast member who is willing and able to take direction, it is now clear that these qualities are pivotal in a well rounded performer.
An ensemble is one of the most important parts of any show. Yes, leads do get almost all of the fame and credit, but the ensemble is what I consider to be the “meat” of the show. Most of the time, the majority of a cast is in the ensemble which gives them the power to make or break a show. Along with that power comes a strong sense of community which, when made positive, can bring about a happy, high-energy cast.
For me, being in an ensemble means that I can create a hospitable, friendly, and supportive relationship with my cast members, and I know others will share this same experience. A friendly, healthy cast cannot help but improve the overall quality of a show. Also, there is nothing like the feeling of putting so many hours of hard work into a musical number with your fellow cast mates, and then performing it live in total synchronization.
A strong ensemble creates an overall feeling of unity which can be the most fun and impressive parts of a show. With that in mind, receiving the award for Best Performance in an Ensemble has been a huge honor and definitely the highlight of my theatrical career thus far.