Durham Magazine Oct/Nov

Page 76


ahead of the

class A brief spotlight on exceptional students and educators P H OTO G RA PH Y BY JO HN MIC HAE L SIMP SO N


Star Among Stars lena Holder knew her name – if they called it at all – would be second.

Best actor first, actress second. But she figured she wouldn’t hear it at all. As one of 72 finalists vying for a Jimmy Award – essentially the teenage Tony Awards – she was just being practical. Promising young auteurs from the nation’s entertainment capitals, everywhere from Los Angeles to New York, were nominated. They had professional coaches; some even had Broadway in their backyard. And then there was Elena, whose acting career began at age 10 as the bullfrog in a performance of “Honk! JR.” at the Durham Arts Council. “I actually totally froze and forgot all of my lines!” Elena says. “That hasn’t happened since, thank goodness.” From adolescent amphibian to the lead





october/november 2021