The new three-part documentary miniseries chronicles the real-life experiences of America’s top high school musical performers. It will premiere on nationwide PBS stations in September. The show follows 60 high school students from across the country highlighting 10 of the strongest contenders (of which Greenberg was one), all whom are vying in the ultimate competition to find the nation’s best young theater stars.
The students converge in New York to compete in the fourth annual National High School Musical Theater Awards, otherwise known as the Jimmy Awards held June 25 at the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway. To qualify, students must win their regional competitions. Evan won the Shuler Hensley Award (Georgia’s Tony Awards for high school students) for his performance in Riverwood’s spring production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” The prize on the national level: the honor of being named Best Actor, as well as merit scholarships and professional opportunities. In July, both Greenberg and fellow Shuler Hensley winner Brittany Dankwa of Tri-Cities High School in East Point also were selected among six other nominees to fly to Los Angeles to help promote the miniseries for PBS.
“Intense” is the word Greenberg used to describe the six-day New York experience of arduous rehearsals under the guidance of director Van Kaplan, choreographer Keisha Lalama and various New York University faculty, culminating in the final performance on the last day.
“I knew we weren’t going to have a break. I didn’t even get to unpack; I got out of the cab and the PBS people were right in my face saying, ‘Let’s go to Times Square to film you there!’ We worked from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., never leaving the [NYU] Tisch School of the Arts.”
Students had to learn medleys and choreography and participate in vocal coaching, dance lessons and master classes with Michael Feinstein and other theater professionals.
Greenberg said it was an amazing experience.
“This was crazy, you know – I think I really just got lucky,” he said. “It was a huge opportunity.”
This fall Greenberg will attend the University of Georgia, where he plans to major in communications.
“Broadway Or Bust” will air on three consecutive Sundays, Sept. 9 through 23, from 8 to 9 p.m.