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Robinson Tops Cappies

'Morph' wins 6 awards.

Robinson Secondary and Westfield High garnered the top honors at Sunday night's sixth annual Cappies Gala at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Thirty-seven Cappies were awarded overall before an audience of 2,400 people.

Racking up six awards overall for its production of "Metamorphoses," Robinson received the Cappie for Best Play.

"It's just amazing," said Robinson senior Julia Moore, on of the three students who accepted the award. "We worked so hard on this play. "

"The department's been evolving to where it's accumulated into a creative brain trust of crew chiefs who knew exactly what they needed to do to win us the Cappie," said junior Grayson Pauroso.

Westfield took home three Cappies — including one for Best Musical — for "Fiddler on the Roof."

Lead actor and actress awards in the play category went to Patrick Barrett (McLean) and Amanda Roberts (St. Stephen's & St. Agnes).

Barry Armbruster (Westfield), in the lead role of Tevye, captured the Cappie for Lead Actor in a Musical. Westfield's other Cappie — in its first time being eligible for this category — was for Choreography.

Robinson's other Cappies were for Special Award: Creativity, Cameo Actress, Sound, Lighting and Costumes.

"I'm elated and grateful that I had the chance to do this show and for the opportunity my director gave me to buy fabric in New York," said Julia Patterson, a Robinson senior who picked up the Cappie for Costumes. "And I couldn't have done this without my crew."

Fellow Robinson students Alex Harris and Jim Mattingly received a Special Award: Creativity, in recognition of their composition work on "Metamorphosis."

"I'm just completely stunned," said Alex. "It's what we do naturally, so it doesn't seem as big to us as it does to anyone else."

"It was a major labor of love for both of us," said Jim. "This feels so good."

Robinson was nominated for Best Play last year, but was shut out after performing "Gold in the Hills" on the Kennedy Center stage.

"It's obviously a tremendous honor to get the best play award, and if we were going to get it, it feels this is the right play," said Robinson Theater Director Chip Rome. "This is a play which, for us, distinguishes itself by the sense of ensemble from the beginning. The kids were more committed to this show from the beginning than any typical show. They were working hard from the get-go, and it never flagged."

Burke resident Hope MacDonald, a sophomore at Paul VI High School in Fairfax, scored a Female Dancer Cappie for her work on "Bye Bye Birdie."

"This is amazing," said Hope. "I never, ever thought I'd get this as a sophomore. I'll put it in my room high on my dresser." She's been dancing since age 3.

Hayfield Secondary junior A.J. Guevara received the Male Dancer Cappie for his school's production of "Hello, Dolly."

"I am in shock," said A.J., who has been dancing since eighth grade. "It's my first school show, so I'm excited."

FOR THE THIRD year in a row, T.C. Williams won the trophy for Critics Team. Individual critic awards went to Greg Benson (H-B Woodlawn) and Mary Austin Slate (Herndon).

Thomas Jefferson won in the Song category, for "Gee, Officer Krupke."

Arlington high schools made a strong showing, with H-B Woodlawn and Wakefield each winning three Cappies.

Most of the 50 participating schools are in Virginia, but the two Montgomery County schools in the program each won a Cappie — Walt Whitman for Marshall Nannes as Male Vocalist, and Winston Churchill for Orchestra.

A highlight of the evening came when two performers from the Cappies of Baltimore — Jay Frisby and Nick Lehan — earned a standing ovation when they sang "Muddy Water." The Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization had twice before denied permission for them to perform that song, because of the racial cross-casting. After the Cappies protested, Rodgers and Hammerstein agreed to let Jay and Nick sing the song at the Cappies Gala.

Currently, 15 Cappies programs are in place in the United States, based on the model started in the National Capital Area six years ago.