Kyra and Matthew perform at The Jimmys


The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center is proud to announce Kyra Hietpas and Matthew Wautier-Rodriguez made their debut on a Broadway stage at The Jimmy Awards® in New York City Monday night.
Nominated for their leading performances at their high school and chosen through a separate process, the pair represented the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Awards, an educational initiative of the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.

At the national level they had the opportunity to learn from professionals in a week of workshops, compete for scholarships and perform on stage at the Minskoff Theater (currently the Broadway home to Disney's The Lion King). The duo also had the opportunity to see a Broadway show, eat dinner at the famous Sardi's restaurant and see their photos in lights on a billboard in Times Square.

Kyra Hietpas was nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Leading Actress for her role as Gertrude McFuzz in Little Chute's production of Seussical. Hietpas is a recent graduate of Little Chute High School with plans to study Music Education at Carroll University in the fall. Kyra was part of the musical production number at The Jimmy Awards®.

Matthew Wautier-Rodriguez was nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Leading Actor for his role as Ren in Green Bay Southwest's production of Footloose. Wautier-Rodriguez is a recent graduate of Green Bay Southwest High School with plans to study Musical Theater at UW-Stevens Point in the fall. Matthew performed as part of the first medley of actors at The Jimmy Awards®, singing a selection from his nominated role.

"Matthew and Kyra were excellent representatives of the amazing talent found in Northeast Wisconsin and in our Center Stage program." said director of marketing and communications Trisha Witt. "We are so proud of their hard work in New York City all week long and cannot wait to see their bright futures unfold."

Throughout the 2018-19 school year, 17 local high schools have participated in the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Awards program, an education initiative that celebrates and supports the achievements of high school theater programs in Northeastern Wisconsin.

During the program year, participating students had the opportunity to attend seven workshops with professional artists at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center and had the opportunity to ask questions and explore different aspects of theater, giving them a deeper understanding of the live performing arts industry.

A team of trained adjudicators attended the participating schools' musical productions and provided educational feedback. Scores for each production were tabulated and the top qualifiers were recognized with an award in their category at the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Awards on May 18.  

This year's participating high schools included: Ashwaubenon, Brillion, Denmark, Fond du Lac, Fox Valley Lutheran, Green Bay East, Green Bay Preble, Green Bay Southwest, Green Bay West, Hortonville, Kaukauna, Little Chute, Luxemburg-Casco, Mishicot, Neenah, St. Mary Catholic and Winnebago Lutheran Academy.
The Center Stage High School Musical Theater Awards program is an educational initiative of the Fox Cities P.A.C. with support from corporate partner Fox Communities Credit Union.

Additional partners in this program include Nicolet National Bank, Angelo and Jennifer Ninivaggi, Schneider Foundation, WE Energies Foundation and Wipfli. 

Grant support for the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Awards program is provided by Octoberfest, an event of the Fox Cities Chamber and by Jewelers Mutual Charitable Giving Fund within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region.

Center programming is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and National Endowment for the Arts.

Programs like the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Awards are also supported in part by contributions to the Center's Annual Partner Campaign. 

The Jimmy Awards®/The National High School Musical Theatre Awards® (NHSMTA®) program impacts more than 100,000 students who participate in high school musical theatre competitions sponsored by presenters of Touring Broadway productions throughout the United States. Presented by the Broadway League Foundation, the program sends a Best Actress and Best Actor winner from each of these competitions to New York for a week-long theatre intensive of coaching and rehearsals with industry professionals in preparation for a one-night-only talent showcase on Broadway. Named for Broadway impresario James M. Nederlander, the program has been the catalyst for more than $2,000,000 in educational scholarships. The tenth annual Jimmy Awards® took place on Monday, June 24, 2019 at the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway. Coaching and rehearsals for this one-of-a-kind event were held Monday, June 17, 2019 through Monday, June 24, 2019 in New York City. For more information, please visit
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