While the current crop of Broadway luminaries were receiving their Tony awards in New York on Sunday, June 10, the next generation of theatrical stars were being equally feted — and showcasing their many talents — at the 19th Annual Cappies Awards Gala in the Concert Hall at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
“Lead Players” Erich DeCinzo, Phil Reid, and Diane Poirier, together with hosts — and Cappies Governing Board members — Judy Bowns and Janie Strauss kept things moving along with abundant witty repartee throughout the three-hour event. With musical numbers and dramatic scenes performed by cast members from some of the Cappies-nominated shows, audience enthusiasm never waned, from the opening number “Come On, Get Cappies,”(sung to the tune of “Get Happy,” written by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler, and adopted by Judy Garland as one of her signature songs) to the show-stopping finale, featuring a number composed by long-time Cappies musical director, Chris Johnston, who teaches musical composition at the Fairfax Academy for Communications and the Arts, when not conducting the Annandale Northern Virginia Community College Symphony Orchestra.
Awards were presented in 39 categories, ranging from actors/actresses in lead and supporting roles in plays and musicals, vocalists, costumes, choreography, orchestra, technical arts such as Lighting, Sets and Sounds and more.
The Duke Ellington School of the Arts in the District took home the prizes for Best Play (“The Rimers of Eldritch”) and for Best Actor and Actress in that production, but there were plenty of students and performances from Northern Virginia, from Alexandria to Leesburg, that won the votes of the 436 student critics who had reviewed five or more shows to become eligible Cappies Awards voters.
Kyle Dalsimer from Annandale High School was named best in the Lead Actor in a Musical category for his performance in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” The Oakton High School “Titanic Band” was tops in Orchestra. Olympia Hatzilambrou received Female Vocalist honors in Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology’s “Mary Poppins,” while John Henry Stamper from Westfield High School in Chantilly took the top Male Vocalist honors as the “Phantom of the Opera.” And the award for Musical of the Year went to Robinson Secondary School for their production of “Monty Python’s Spamalot.” The audience was treated to the song “Knights of the Round Table” early in the program.
The complete list of winners, as well as the list of the nominees, can be found on the Cappies website www.cappies.com/nca.
The Cappies were established in the wake of the Columbine High School massacre in 1997. The vision of the late William Strauss, co-founder of the Capitol Steps political satire review, and brought to life with his partnership with Judy Bowns, the Cappies began as an effort to “bring positive attention to teenagers engaged in creative pursuits.” Their mission has expanded to include opportunities for constructive critical feedback for the theatrical activities of those youth, to honor the advisors, mentors, and teachers, as well as the students, and to provide a collaborative learning experience for high school theatre students.
The nonprofit organization has also expanded outside of the immediate area in those 19 years, adding nine chapters around the country, and an additional three in Canada.
The telecast of the 2018 Cappies Gala can be viewed online beginning on Saturday, June 16 at www.fcps.edu/tv.