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Locals Win Cappies

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McLean's Paul Baumbusch received best comic actor for his role in the play "The Man Who Came to Dinner" while Kat von Kann of Maderia won best comic actress in a musical for "Kiss Me Kate" at Sunday night's 2003 Cappies Gala at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Baumbusch, 17, a junior at McLean High, reacted after receiving his award by saying, "I was hoping [to win]. I got best cameo actor last year for 'David and Lisa,' so I wasn't expecting they'd give me another award, this year. I told myself I wasn't going to win it, so it made hearing my name that much more exciting."

For von Kann, 16, a junior at Madeira, "It's so amazing to get it. It's so great that they have this for high-school students because we all watch the Tony's on TV, and this is our version of it. It's an honor to be here."

Other local residents honored on Sunday included Samarth Keshava of McLean and fellow Thomas Jefferson student Jeff Arnold of Great Falls, who received a theater technology award.

"It's an honor to receive the award," said Keshava.

Arnold added, "It's a great opportunity to be able to work with the Cappies."

Sam Willmott, 16, McLean resident and sophomore at TJ, received the award for comic actor in a musical for "Bells Are Ringing." "It's just an honor to be nominated because I'm in the company of such good people. I feel wonderful. I'll put [my Cappie award] in my room where I can see it," Willmott said.

Centreville High's "Rumors" was honored as best play, and Madison High's "Chicago" took the trophy for best musical.

Robinson Secondary School, Madison and Westfield High won five, four and three Cappies, respectively, to garner 12 — nearly a third — of the 35 total awards presented at this fourth annual event celebrating high-school theater. Robinson won for its production of "My Fair Lady."

Centreville's Eric St. Peter was chosen best lead actor in a play, and Emily Bever captured best lead-actress honors for her performance in the title role of Chantilly's "I Remember Mama."

Yasir Latifi was selected best lead actor for his portrayal of Julian Marsh in Hayfield's "42nd Street," and Margaret Long of Osbourn Park, in Prince William County, was honored as best lead actress in a musical for her role in "Camelot."

Under the auspices of the Cappies (Critics and Awards Program), nearly 300 theater students from public and private high schools in Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., attended each others' shows, wrote reviews for newspapers and TV and served as judges.

Except for the three critics awards, all Cappie nominations and awards were based on the votes of student critics. Some 43 shows — 25 musicals and 18 plays — competed for this year's Cappies, which honor both actors and tech crews.