NEW YORK — Five students won college scholarships Monday night for trading in their performances in high school musical productions for Broadway.

Kyle Selig of Long Beach, Calif., was named best actor in a high school musical and Alexandria Payne of Atlanta was named best actress at the second annual National High School Music Theater Awards ceremony. Each “Jimmy” winner received $10,000 toward their education.

Three other students were given $2,500 scholarships for their performances.

In all, 44 students performed selections from roles they played in their high school musical at the Marquis Theatre, home of the Broadway show “Come Fly Away.”

Selig won for his portrayal of Don Lockwood in “Singing in the Rain.” Payne won for her performance as Ti Moune on “Once on this Island.”

The “Jimmy” award is named for theater owner James Nederlander, whose company is a co-sponsor of the awards ceremony. The award comes with additional scholarship funds to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts if winners choose to go there.

The students arrived in New York last week and have been rehearsing every day. They learned music and choreography for their own songs and their peers’, for which they’ll perform as backup singers and dancers.

“We’re working our butts off every single minute of every day,” said John Jorge, 18, of Norwich, Conn., who is singing a song from “Les Miserables.” Jorge missed his high school graduation so he could compete.

“This is one of those things I had to go to,” he said. “I’m probably never going to get to experience this ever again.”

The students also joined the cast and musicians of “Come Fly Away” to pay tribute to Frank Sinatra, whose music is the soundtrack for the show.

During their trip, the students took in the Broadway show “Memphis” and spoke with the cast after the performance. They performed for casting director Bernie Telsey, who was one of the award’s judges, on Tuesday.

“We’re trying to give these kids an authentic, meaningful, professional experience,” said Van Kaplan, president of the awards organization and the show’s director. “If they decide they want to pursue this as a career, they will have had kind of a taste of it.”

Despite the grueling rehearsal schedule, Stephanie Styles of Houston hopes to pursue a career as a musical theater actress.

“You teach people, you entertain them, you can do so much with a musical,” said Styles, 18. “And you get to sing and dance and act.”

Brown gives MJ tribute, apology at BET Awards

 LOS ANGELES – In an unexpected comeback, an embattled pop star offered an emotional tribute to Michael Jackson at the BET Awards on Sunday night.

Chris Brown has mostly kept a low profile since pleading guilty to felony assault for beating up Rihanna in February 2009.

But here he was, mimicking Jackson’s signature dance moves with almost eerie accuracy. Brown embodied the King of Pop, wearing his fedora and spangled glove and moonwalking across the stage to “Billie Jean.”

Then, as Brown grabbed a microphone to sing “Man in the Mirror,” he broke down in tears. At one point, he crumpled to the stage in apparent agony.

The 21-year-old returned to the stage later to apologize to his fans. “I let you all down before, but I won’t do it again. I promise you,” he said.

Performances were so plentiful during the 3 1/2-hour show that prizes were almost secondary.

Drake, who was named best male hip-hop artist, performed a medley of his hits. Trey Songz, named best male R&B artist, crooned “Yo Side of the Bed.”

Alicia Keys performed a medley of her hits. She won for female R&B artist and best collaboration for her song with Jay-Z, “Empire State of Mind.”

Host Queen Latifah returned to her rap roots and rhymed about the royalty in the house: herself and Prince, who won BET’s lifetime achievement award.

Prince seemed humbled by the tribute. “I’m just so thankful to be a part of this world of music,” he said.

Other winners included Minaj for female hip-hop artist, Serena Williams for sportswoman of the year and LeBron James for sportsman of the year.

 

Motley Crue front man charged with drunken driving

LAS VEGAS – Motley Crue singer Vince Neil, 49, was arrested on drunken-driving charges after getting pulled over by police in his Lamborghini near the Las Vegas Strip.

The rocker was taken into custody about 11:15 p.m. Sunday when he was stopped after leaving the Las Vegas Hilton hotel, Officer Bill Cassell said. Neil was freed Monday after posting $2,000 bail.

Neil is the front man for a four-member heavy-metal band known for its bad behavior, hard partying, famous girlfriends and hits like “Girls, Girls, Girls,” and “Dr. Feelgood.” He said last week that he was sober.

Neil is due in court Sept. 27.