In what's now become a tradition for the school, Westfield High's Theater Department last week held a medallion ceremony to honor its Cappie-nominated students.
In the last six years of Cappie participation, Westfield has garnered a whopping 55 nominations. It received two for "The Glass Menagerie;" 12 for "Godspell," 12, "Hamlet;" seven, "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern;" 13, "Fiddler on the Roof" and now nine for "Our Town."
WESTFIELD'S thespians and tech students will be front and center, June 11, at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., when the 2006 winners are announced at the seventh annual Cappies Gala. But beforehand, Theater Director Scott Pafumi held his own celebration to award Westfield's Cappie medallions and recognize all his students for jobs well done.
Usually, the competing schools perform more musicals than plays. But this year, out of the 56 schools participating in this area's Cappies program, just 24 did musicals and 32 did plays. So, said Pafumi, that makes Westfield's nod for Best Play even more special.
"We're one of the top five schools out of 32 in the National Capital Area chosen for Best Play," he said. "And we're the only school that's won the major award — Best Play or Best Musical — three times. Centreville has won it twice."
Besides it's Best Play nomination, "Our Town" is also nominated for: Lead Actor in a Play, Will Quinn; Lead Actress in a Play, Sarah Pike; Male Vocalist, Kevin Manship; Cameo Actor, Paul Bozzo; Cameo Actress, Jade Jones; Ensemble in a Play, stage managers Natalie McLarty and Branson Reese; Sound, Ken Storch; and Lighting, Mike Gendreau.
At the Tuesday, May 23, medallion ceremony in Westfield's black-box theater, Pafumi said the nomination, itself, is the award. And Subschool Principal Pat Williams told the students, "I support everything you do. You all are just wonderful."
Will Quinn said he was "absolutely thrilled" with his Best Actor nomination. "It was a huge thing for me and a wonderful compliment to receive," he said. "It was definitely a mood booster. I'd like to hope that [my nomination was due to] my honest commitment to the acting and because I portrayed [my character's] emotions honestly and really brought him to life."
WHILE acknowledging that he's got some "tough competition" in this field, Quinn said he's hoping for the best. And, he added, "It's such a compliment to be nominated, I couldn't be happier than I am right now."
Sarah Pike is also "more excited than I could ever express" about her Best Actress nod. "It's my first leading role on a main stage, so I was so surprised that it was recognized in such a great way," she said. "I really think the fact that we were all so well cast made me more comfortable in my role."
She said everyone in the cast was "really nice and easy" to work with, and she's just happy to be going to The Kennedy Center for the gala. So how did she celebrate when she first learned the good news? Said Pike: "I went over to Will's house and we drank sparkling cider while dancing around the nominations list on the computer."
Up for Best Male Vocalist, senior Kevin Manship said he was "extremely surprised and flattered" because being nominated in a musical category for a play is not common. Besides that, he said, "I'm competing against people who were leads in their musicals."
Nonetheless, he said, "It's going to be awesome" going to The Kennedy Center because it'll be his fourth time there for Cappies and his fourth time performing on that stage. "I'm excited," said Manship. "I'm hoping to go out on a really upbeat note and I'm hoping I'll do well."
SOPHOMORE Jade Jones, 16, was nominated for Cameo Actress for her portrayal of Mrs. Forrest, a bitter old woman fed up with kids and life. "I really studied acting like an old woman, and I tried to make her as funny as I could, without making fun of old people," said Jones. "I was really excited about the nomination because I didn't expect it. When I found out, I went crazy and started calling all my friends and family."
She said going to The Kennedy Center is like being at Radio City Music Hall because "I've seen awesome shows and performers there, so going there makes me feel like a celebrity."
Nominated for Lighting, sophomore Ken Storch, 16, is looking forward to his first Cappies Gala. He was pleased with "Our Town's" sounds, such as "the cowbell through the mikes, a horse trotting and thunder." And he said the music selection chosen went well with the play's sounds.
"I hope for the best [at the Cappies]," said Storch. "I feel good about my performance, but we'll have to wait and see."