2 Arizona high schoolers head to NYC to compete for a Jimmy Award

Arizona high school students, Max Perez and Nora Palermo, are heading to New York City to compete for a Jimmy Award.

It's a national competition for music theater students.

Max Perez and Nora Palermo

Palermo is a senior and theater star at Phoenix Country Day School.

"She's very talented, very outgoing, very confident. Her voice is unlike any other. She is a belter, you'll get to experience that," said Desiree Ong, ASU Gammage educational program manager.

Nora recently won best lead female at the annual ASU Gammage High School Musical Theatre Awards.

It's a regional award show that honors Valley high school students shining bright in their musical theater programs.

Nora Palermo

"They each perform one number from their show, and we hand out awards in 13 categories including best lead male and best lead female," Ong said.

The best lead male of the night went to Perez, a senior at Centennial High School.

"His voice, he brings something different to the table. Both of them do …," Ong said.

After this regional win, the two will compete nationally as they're headed to New York City in mid-June to rehearse and prepare for the Jimmy Awards.

"It's no doubt that the Jimmy's offers so many amazing opportunities. We'll be making our Broadway debut on June 24, but to be around all of the winners from their regional competitions, and us representing ASU Gammage, it's just going to be so exciting. I know that I'm going to meet people at the Jimmy's that are going to stay with me and affect my whole theater career and theater journey," Palermo said.

Max Perez

It's a journey Perez says he's grateful for because finding theater is what brought him out of his shell.

"Before theater, and even say choir, I mean I was a fairly quiet kid. I was really worried about what kids thought about me or who I was as a person. In theater, you can be whoever you want to be. It's such a way of building yourself from the ground up," Perez said.

The Jimmy Awards are on Monday, June 24 at Broadway's Minskoff Theatre.