Lake Nona High School senior receives honor at National High School Musical Theatre Awards

Jackson Chase awarded Best Performer in an Ensemble at the ‘Jimmy Awards’

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A Lake Nona High School senior was awarded a big honor over the summer. Jackson Chase was recognized at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, also known as the Jimmy Awards, as Best Performer in an Ensemble. Chase was selected to go to New York City for the Jimmy Awards after winning the Applause Awards at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

“Housing. Food. Nine days of a crazy musical theatre intensive with the biggest names on Broadway, truly,” Chase said. “My big thing is in a community like the arts, you should just be grateful that you’re there and my goal was just to have a good time and this award was chosen by people who were with us all week. The judge said the person that showed incredible ensemble spirit and was just game to play and have fun and really had such good energy and was always working so hard and I was so honored.”

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And cheering Jackson on the whole time? His parents, who also happen to be his teachers. Justin Chase is the choral director at Lake Nona High School and Gail Chase is the theatre teacher, director and thespian sponsor.

”There really aren’t words to describe the feeling of watching your child walk out onto a Broadway stage,” Gail Chase said. “We knew at a very young age that he was made for this world. Everybody loves to throw accolades on a star, the one in the spotlight, and that’s not what makes for a great performance. It’s the collective. The ensemble.”

Jackson Chase actually spends four of his seven class periods in his parents’ classes.

“I think it’s just being consistent with every kid. The best teachers treat every kid like their own kids and hold them to those really high standards, so I think we’re in good shape,” Justin Chase said.

Now Jackson looks ahead to the spring.

“College auditions are coming up in the spring. I mean, it’s a journey. If you want to be a performer, you’re only as good as your last performance. So you’re never quite finished,” Justin Chase said.

Jackson said his college wish list is composed of 12 schools, and he’s open to wherever the future takes him.

“Of course, Broadway is the dream. There are so many other opportunities that are not Broadway that provide such a great experience for performers. You can make art anywhere... it doesn’t matter if it’s a small podunk town, Iowa on a potato farm, it doesn’t matter. You can make art anywhere. You never know where life is going to put you, but the goal is to find someplace that values me for the artist I am,” he said.

And what about following in his parents’ footsteps?

“I think that theatre is so inspiring and if you can get that to someone so young and they can be the future,” he said.

Jackson is currently preparing for a concert in October and a tour in March with the Lake Nona Singers, the ensemble directed by his dad.


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About the Author:

Julie Broughton's career in Central Florida has spanned more than 14 years, starting with News 6 as a meteorologist and now anchoring newscasts.