WEST WARWICK — Having just wrapped up her time as a West Warwick High School Player, Myranda Silva, a graduating senior, plans to continue pursuing her passion for musical theater — not only as a student at Rhode Island College, but as a nominee for the coveted Jimmy Award for “Best Performance by an Actress,” as well.
“It hasn’t really hit me yet,” Silva said Tuesday, a day after being announced as “Best Leading Actress” during the Stephen Sondheim Awards ceremony in Connecticut. “It’s kind of a big deal — I’m really excited.”
Held to shine light on excellence in high school musical theater, Monday’s Sondheim awards gala saw high schoolers recognized in categories including best direction, best lighting design, best choreography, best costume, best musical, best supporting actor and actress, and best leading actor and actress.
With the regional title under her belt, Silva will now enter the national Jimmy Awards competition, which she said is kind of like the high school version of The Tony Awards. Presented by The Broadway League Foundation, the competition is held annually to recognize artistry in vocal, dance and acting performance.
Nominated for a Sondheim Award based on her portrayal of Judy Bernly in the WWHS Players January performance of “9 to 5: The Musical,” Silva was ultimately named “best actress” out of seven nominees following a four-day adjudicated "boot camp” at Broadway Method Academy in Connecticut.
“They want to adjudicate you, not only on talent, but also based on who will best represent them at The Jimmy Awards,” Silva said.
As for being nominated based on her performance in “9 to 5,” though, Silva said it wasn’t necessarily her goal to get recognized with a Sondheim Award.
“We don’t put on our productions to get awards,” she said. “I really just wanted to make the school look good and make the school proud.”
And judging by the reactions of Richard Marchetti and Rikki Spelman, who directed “9 to 5,” she seems to have done just that.
Marchetti and Spelman wrote in an email Tuesday that they are “just so proud” of Silva for the achievement, adding it’s a “huge feat” for the school district and the WWHS Players.
Silva in the fall will attend Rhode Island College, where she’ll pursue a Bachelor of Arts in theater with a focus in musical theater.
Before that, however, Silva will head later this month to New York City for another intensive weekend of musical theater, where she’ll once again be judged ahead of the Jimmy Awards ceremony on June 24.
Last year’s Jimmy Award winners, Silva pointed out, were booked immediately for roles in Broadway plays.
Reneé Rapp, who in 2018 won “Best Performance by an Actress” at the Jimmy Awards, will play Regina George in a musical adaptation of “Mean Girls,” while Andrew Beth Feldman, who the same year won “Best Performance by an Actor,” is set to play the title role in “Dear Evan Hansen.”
But whether or not she takes top place in The Jimmy Awards, Silva said she’s thrilled just to have the experience.
“Either way, it’s another experience to better myself as an actress,” she said. “So I’m just really excited.”