News Go behind the scenes with Omaha Performing Arts

GUEST BLOG: BEN there, met PLATT at the Jimmy Awards®

Posted On Jul 16, 2019, 10:03 AM by Kamrin Baker
Teen girl in a blue dress smiles as she poses on the red carpet

By Hannah-Kate Kinney

Hey there theater enthusiasts, it’s Hannah-Kate Kinney!

I’m about to begin my senior year at Westside High School and – thanks to the support of our Omaha arts community – was named the 2019 Nebraska High School Theater Academy Outstanding Student Reporter and the 2019 National High School Musical Theater Awards Student Reporter.

After many months of planning, filming, editing, sharing, viewing, liking, commenting, I made it all the way to the Jimmy Awards® in New York City! It was the experience of my life in the “212,” and now I’m back in the “402” with this edition of my blog: BEN there, met PLATT!

I was fortunate that my reporting included conversations behind the “screens” with Felicia Fitzpatrick, director of Social Media and Creative Strategy at Playbill, as well as red-carpet interviews with Broadway stars such as Tony Award® winner Ben Platt.

Behind the “Screens”

Speaking of stars, Felicia Fitzpatrick is nothing short of a luminary. She is engaging, generous and tremendously talented in her role. Social media played a huge role in my own path to the Jimmys, as well as being an instrumental part of my job as a student-reporter both for NHSTA and in New York City.

Teen girl smiles while holding HAMILTON playbill

Fitzpatrick showed me around the Playbill office, which boasted a TV for every type of statistic ranging from the topics clicked on the most to methods of site access, as well as viewership across the country.

On one monitor, I was even able to see a little blue dot representing Omaha, Nebraska – proving that though we may be miles from the bright lights of Broadway, we Omahans passionately follow the arts!

Red Carpet Conversations

I really had to reel in my inner fan-girl when the evening of the Jimmy Awards® arrived. With Broadway star Andrew Barth Feldman just inches from me, I thought I might faint. 

Teen girl poses with two Broadway actors

I remember watching Feldman and Renee Rapp on the TV screen in my living room during the 2018 Jimmy Awards® and now they booth star in Broadway musicals. Surreal – and yet, Feldman was so real, interacting with me just as a typical 17-year-old might.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t share what a thrill it was to interview Ben Platt. While I did my best to contain “all the feels," Platt graciously shared his reflections about the Jimmy Awards®, which he called “his favorite night of the year” – mine too, Ben!   

Teen girl in a blue dress poses with Ben Platt, wearing a gray blazer

Throughout my trip, I snagged pictures with incredible people and arrived back home with memories to last a lifetime. Thanks to the Omaha Performing Arts and the Nebraska High School Theater Academy, this Omaha girl with NYC dreams can now officially say: BEN there, met PLATT. 

Starstruck & signing off, 

Hannah-Kate Kinney