Shea’s 2021 Virtual Kenny Awards Program Deadline March 31st !

Deadline for Submission is March 31st  

Shea’s Performing Arts Center and Lipke Foundation announced today that the 2021 Kenny Awards program will be completely virtual and will spotlight student artistry with three award categories for individual students. There will be no adjudication of high school musical theatre productions and schools will not be eligible for awards, but teachers and directors may nominate multiple students from their theatre programs. These temporary changes will only affect the 2020-2021 season. 

To become eligible for a 2021 Kenny Award, individual students in grades 9-12 across WNY must submit an audition video to Shea’s in one or more of the following award categories: 

Outstanding Acting Performance       Outstanding Vocal Performance       Outstanding Dance Performance 

NEW for the 2021 Kenny Award Winners! 

$10,000 has been generously donated by The Lipke Foundation and The Mosey Family Foundation for scholarships.  Participants in the 2021 program will have the opportunity to win up to two thousand dollars in scholarship money.

Shea’s Performing Arts Center is proud to announce that there will be eight scholarship awards and distribution will be:

*Outstanding Overall/Jimmy Awards Rep: $2,000 to each winner. There will be two students awarded this honor.

*Outstanding Acting Performance: $1,000 to each winner. There will be two students awarded this honor.

*Outstanding Vocal Performance: $1,000 to each winner. There will be two students awarded this honor.

*Outstanding Dance Performance: $1,000 to each winner. There will be two students awarded this honor.

Click here to apply Audition material must come from a pre-approved list on the Shea’s website at To support students in their preparation to submit, Shea’s will offer free virtual musical theatre workshops and master classes that will be available to all high school students in WNY. Shea’s will also work with WNY high school teachers and theatre directors to facilitate student audition submissions, including providing virtual self-tape workshops and customized tutorials. The deadline for audition submissions is March 31, 2021. 

Adjudicators will announce finalists in each category on April 30, 2021 and those finalists will advance to a virtual musical theatre Boot Camp from May 6-7, 2021. Award recipients will be announced at a virtual ceremony on May 8, 2021. 

Adjudicators will select two students to represent the Kenny Awards at the 2021 National High School Musical Theatre Awards (NHSMTA), also known as the Jimmy Awards®. Those students will be announced at the May 8 Kenny Awards ceremony. 

This temporary, one-time program structure will provide a unique opportunity for all students across WNY to become eligible for a Kenny Award, whether or not their school produces a musical. Shea’s President Michael G. Murphy said “We look to the young artists in our communities for inspiration, and we take pride in nurturing their talents as they lead us to a brighter future through the arts.” The 2020-2021 season will serve as a bridge to future seasons when Shea’s can refocus on high school musical theatre programs. According to Carlisle Lipke, Kenny Awards Director “Although our primary focus this year is to provide opportunities for WNY students, we remain committed to supporting the unending efforts of the dedicated teachers and communities that we serve.” 

“The Kenny” was created in 1993 in honor of the late Dr. Ken Lipke, the founder of Gibraltar Steel. This award is a testimony to Dr. Lipke’s passion and dedication to the arts and to his belief that the business community is an integral pillar of support for the arts. 

Find updates on our website at or follow Shea’s Arts Engagement and Education Department on Facebook for posts about the Kenny Awards.