Douglas Anderson Students Win Top Honors at 10th Annual Applause Awards, Head to The Jimmy Awards

In front of a sold-out crowd inside the Dr. Phillips Center’s Walt Disney Theater, nearly 350 students participated in the 10th Annual Applause Awards on Saturday, June 1, 2024.


At the end of the evening, two were chosen to represent the region in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards®, known as The Jimmy Awards® in New York City on June 24, 2024.


Emma Cate Davis and George Eastman were selected as the Applause Awards winners and Jimmy Awards nominees for best performance by an actress and actor. Both are musical theater products of the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Duval County.


“My heart is racing, I don’t think I have ever been this happy in my entire life,” said Davis, after finding out she was selected. “This means everything to me and to receive this honor in front of my mom and grandma, I couldn’t have done it without them.”


Both winners will participate in a weeklong theater training, including coaching and rehearsals with Broadway professionals in preparation for a one-night-only talent showcase in New York City’s Minskoff Theatre.


“Everyone is going to be talented and so legendary. I just can’t wait to see what I can learn,” said Eastman of his upcoming trip to New York City and participation in the Jimmy Awards.


Aside from recognizing the musical theater talent in the region and selecting two overall winners, the Dr. Phillips Center awarded more than $50,000 in scholarships to 37 deserving students.


Cornerstone Charter Academy’s Silvana Perrone received the Spirit of the Applause Awards, which recognizes a student who embodies the arts, hard work, dedication, integrity and compassion.


“It is a highlight for our entire organization to share this 10th Annual Applause Awards production with a sold-out crowd inside Walt Disney Theater,” says Kathy Ramsberger, president & CEO at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. “Congratulations to the incredibly talented students, dedicated teachers and supportive families. And thank you to our remarkable donors, sponsors, award-winning professionals and colleagues who make the arts center an inspirational place – where everyone truly loves to be.”


Reminiscent of the Tony Awards®, the 10th Annual Applause Awards ceremony was directed by Broadway veteran Ray Roderick and hosted by Broadway celebrity and Dr. Phillips High School alum Michael James Scott.


“It has been electrifying to see these amazing artists thrive and soar – to stand in their light and shine,” said Michael James Scott. “This event has made me so proud to be from Central Florida and shows how much our community supports our young talent.”


To date, the Dr. Phillips Center has honored over 600 winners across 37 schools in 10 counties throughout Florida. As products of the Applause Awards, there have been 14 Jimmy Awards nominees and five winners so far.


This event is made possible thanks to the support of AdventHealth, Chick-fil-A Greater Orlando Area, Experience Kissimmee, Kroger Delivery, OUC: The Reliable One, Florida Theatrical Association, the Chesley G. Magruder Foundation, Elizabeth Morse Genius Foundation, Kiwanis Orlando Foundation, Isermann Family Foundation, Publix Super Markets Charities and Walmart Stores.


Sponsored in part by the State of Florida through the Division of Arts and Culture and the National Endowment for the Arts.


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Written by Daniel Korentur

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