Broadway or Bust, a new three-part miniseries documenting high school musical hopefuls, premiered on PBS this past Sunday with the episode “The Casting Call.” (If you missed it, you can watch the full episode online.) The program, produced by WGBH Boston’s Laurie Donnelly and Lance K. Shultz, follows 60 students as they prepare to compete in the National High School Musical Theater Awards in New York City. Tony nominee Constantine Maroulis (Rock of Ages) and Grammy nominee Deborah Cox – now co-starring in the Broadway-bound national tour of Jekyll & Hyde – co-hosted this year’s fourth annual ceremony on June 25 at Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre, home of the long-running musical The Lion King.
These “Jimmy” Awards, named for producer James M. Nederlander, invite students from across the country who have earned recognition in their local high schools, providing one Best Actress and one Best Actor with college scholarships. In the week leading up to the prize announcement, the teenagers participate in a boot camp of rehearsals, coaching, and auditions. The remaining pair of hourlong installments in the reality series – “Behind Closed Doors” and “And the Winner Is…” – will air the next two Sundays, Sept. 16 and 23, at 8 p.m. ET. In addition to Maroulis and Cox, the series includes appearances from Tony nominees Liz Callaway (Baby) and Montego Glover (Memphis), as well as Smash star Leslie Odom Jr., among other Broadway musical professionals.