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H-B Woodlawn, Wakefield Win Big at Cappies

Seventh-annual gala honors best of the best in high school theater.

H-B Woodlawn took home the award for best play and Wakefield students snagged three honors at the seventh-annual Cappies gala Sunday night at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

H-B Woodlawn's production of "The Marriage of Bette and Boo," beat out four other nominees to claim one of the ceremony's top honors.

"It's amazing — especially with all the other stuff we were up against," said H-B Woodlawn student Greg Benson. "I didn't think we'd win, at all."

STUDENT productions from 58 public and private schools in the Washington metropolitan region competed against each other for the awards, which were presented to outstanding high school theater performances. Nominees donned their finest formal attire and cheered for their friends and classmates while eagerly awaiting the announcement of each winner.

Woodlawn junior Maddy Smith took the prize for Featured Actress in a Play for her starring role in "The Marriage of Bette and Boo." Smith said she was "elated," but was completely unprepared.

"I didn't have a speech ready, and I had no idea what I was going to say," Smith said after the ceremony.

The show's student director Julia Nakad, a senior, won the Creativity award. Due to the play's controversial nature, which follows the troubled marriage of a young couple, and contains religious themes, Nakad said she didn't think it could win a Cappie.

"I felt like the show was really controversial, so I didn't expect to get nominated for anything," Nakad said. "So I'm really thrilled."

Wakefield students took home three dance awards for its version of "The Wiz." Jamil Garner and Kristin James grabbed the awards for best male and female dancers, respectively.

"This is my first year I was involved in theater, and it feels really good to get this," James, a junior said.

Junior Cassandra Jones claimed the Choreography Cappie for "The Wiz." It was an especially fulfilling evening for Jones, who suffered a devastating injury two years ago that interrupted her dance career.

"It means a lot to me because I didn't think I'd be into dancing, anymore, after tearing my ACL in October 2004," Jones said.

STONE BRIDGE High School in Loudoun County won best musical for its performance of "Seussical," edging Yorktown's rendition of the same show.

Corey-Antonio Hawkins of Duke Ellington was Lead Actor in a Play for "The Laramie Project," and Abba Kiser of Chantilly High was Lead Actress in a Play for "Auntie Mame." Lead Actor in a Musical went to Stone Bridge's Mace Sorenson, and Lead Actress in a Musical went to Clifton's Nicole Smith of Seton for "Annie, Get Your Gun."

T.C. Williams in Alexandria won the award for Critics Team for the fourth year in a row. And Burke's Chelsea Cook, named Rising Critic, became the first home-schooled student to ever receive a Cappie.

Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-11th), there to help present the Cappie for Props & Effects, praised the nominees in all the categories. "Each year, the level of performance just keeps getting better and better and better," he said. "Forget the Tonys; this is it, as far as I'm concerned."