Students at three Arlington high schools could win big at next month's Cappies Gala being held at The Kennedy Center.
Student productions from 58 public and private schools in the Washington metropolitan region will be competing against each other for the awards, which are presented to outstanding high school theater performances.
Local critics nominated the spring theater productions at H-B Woodlawn, Yorktown and Wakefield for a combined 19 awards.
H-B Woodlawn's production of "The Marriage of Bette and Boo" is up for eight awards, including best play.
The play, written by Christopher Durang, follows the troubled marriage of a young couple. The husband is an alcoholic, the wife nags and the priest impersonates frying bacon.
"I was really surprised because 'The Marriage of Bette and Boo' is controversial," said student director and senior Julia Nakad. "We had some complaints about the religious aspect of it and I thought the show was not going to receive popular approval."
LAURIE GILKENSON, director of musical theater, explained that H-B presents about seven to 10 independent projects a year in its small, intimate black box theater.
"It was a completely student-run production. It is always fun when we have nominations, especially when we are going against the big guns," said Gilkenson.
In the past two years, the H-B theater program has tallied 18 Cappie nominations. Nakad said that the black box doesn't accommodate a large cast. Bigger schools with larger budgets and casts have historically received more Cappie recognition. The recent success is not due to increased spending, but, as Nakad put it, likely the result of picking plays that Cappie critics like.
For now, she is holding off on making award predictions and said it was encouraging just to be nominated.
Yorktown received seven nominations for "Seussical," which mixes several of Dr. Seuss' stories into one musical. Senior Russ Lawrence, who played the role of Yertle the Turtle, was pleased with the nominations. "It was a crazy show being Dr. Seuss. There were so many abstract things you could do with the show," Lawrence said. The costumes, make-up, choreography, along with the elaborate set and ensembles on stage helped create a final product that "was like eye-candy," he said.
Yorktown is competing with Stone Bridge High School's production of "Seussical" in several categories, including best musical. This may affect the nominee's chances of winning, but Lawrence remains confident that Yorktown will do well at the gala.
Additionally, critics recognized Wakefield with four nominations for its production of "The Wiz," a musical based on the classic, "The Wizard of Oz."
WAKEFIELD’s CAPPIE nominations for “The Wiz” consist of: Choreography, Cassandra Jones; Ensemble in a Musical, Winged Monkeys; Female Dancer, Kristin James; and Male Dancer, Jamil Garner.
H-B's nominations for "The Marriage of Bette and Boo": Rising Critic, Miriam Thomas; Returning Critic, Maddy Smith; Creativity, Julia Nakad (director); Comic Actress in a Play, Caroline Brent; Comic Actor in a Play, Greg Benson; Featured Actress in a Play, Maddy Smith; Lead Actor in a Play, Graham Hooper; and Best Play.
Yorktown's nominations for “Seussical”: Costumes, Samantha Herold, Lindsay Hinz and Karen Siegmund; Make-Up, Hayley Mitz; Stage Crew, Yorktown Stage Crew; Choreography, Matt Bourne, Natalie Koski-Karrel, Ginny Mohler, Hugh Trimble; Ensemble in a Musical, Horton the Elephant; Comic Actress in a Musical, Jenny Statler; and Best Musical.
The Cappies Gala will be held at The Kennedy Center on Sunday, June 11 at 7 p.m. At last year's Gala, Arlington high schools received 17 nominations and took home six awards.