Online Exclusive: Performers compete to win the Cappies

Anna Keneally
staff writer

Young performers in the National Capital area put on their best show to win over the critics’ approval for their chance at winning the Cappies. This high school version of the Tony awards gives high school actors and actresses a taste of show business, where they could possibly walk away with a Cappie award trophy.

During the review process, a team of critics attend a show selected by the school. After watching it, the team reviews technical and performance aspects of the play or musical. The best reviews are sent to a local publishing outlet and to the school being critiqued. “We are a group of eight people who all have a passion for theater and we go to other schools on the weekends and watch their shows,” junior Claire Throckmorton said.

In 2013 Ragtime was the last production that was awarded a cappie to this school’s theater department. The award was won by Kayli Modell for best featured actress. Since then, the performances have been highly noted by critics, but never able to bring home another trophy. “We always take critic reviews into account when performing, but we try to put on our best show every night, not just when the critics come,” drama teacher Jessica Speck said.

Last year the pit orchestra was critics’ choice for best orchestra performance in The Music Man, Debuting in March of 2017, the production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella was highly praised and was critics’ choice for multiple categories. These included best orchestra performance, best male vocalist, achieved by Krystian Ochman, and best lead actress in a musical, achieved by Emily Ray. “We work very consistently preparing for the show and even when we are in the pit we are still a work in progress always trying to be better than the night before,” music teacher Carolyn Herman said

Those nominated are invited to attend the Tony-style gala occurring on May 27 at the Kennedy Center. The night is filled with a three-minute performance by the nominees along with the award ceremony for winners. Those who win walk away with a Cappie award trophy. Over 60 public and private schools in the area are all working hard for the title. “The Cappies is a very fun event and all these high school theater kids dress up and get to perform. The orchestra has never won but we have been nominated many times, which I think is great,” Herman said.

This year, Monty Python’s Spamalot will be reviewed by critics on Mar. 30. The show is a musical comedy based on the 1975 film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It debuted on Broadway in 2005 and was nominated for 14 Tony awards, winning three. “Creative lighting, well made costumes, strong character development, good enunciation among other things are what we look for when we review,” senior Bradley Udwin said.

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