X
GO
FOCUS ON 21st CENTURY LEARNING

The Cappies is a writing and awards program that trains high school theatre and journalism students to be expert writers, critical thinkers, and leaders. Student critics vie to be published in local media outlets by attending productions at other schools and writing critical reviews.

THROUGH THE CAPPIES

Theatre and journalism students are trained as critics and attend each others shows. Cappies students discuss and learn about theatre production. Throughout the year, newspapers publish the reviews with the students' bylines. At the end of the year, Cappies student critics decide who among their peer performers and technicians should be recognized for awards at the end of the season with glamour and excitement.

HOW IT ALL WORKS

Each participating school selects a show to be attended, and also forms a team of 3 to 9 student critics and 2 adult volunteers in the fall. Shows may have between 20 and 90 critics in attendance. Critic teams and mentors gather in a private discussion room to perform pre, mid, and post show discussions. The technical and performance aspects of the show are discussed with provided documentation from the host school.

After each show, with adult oversight, the mentors and program director select the best written reviews to be sent to local press outlets. All the reviews are also sent back to the performing school.

At the end of the season, a Tonys-like celebration occurs, where all nominated shows perform a cutting or the critics' choice song, and the final Cappies awards are presented with a trophy by regional critics and peers.

SCHOOL APPLICATIONS NOW ACCEPTED

School applications are now being accepted for the current season. Click below to begin the application process.
GET STARTED

CURRENT REVIEWS NOW AVAILABLE

We are currently in the process of bringing reviews online for the current season. Keep checking back for updates.
ACCESS SCHOOLS

AWARDS PREVIOUS SEASON

Previous year award nominees and recipients will be posted shortly. Please keep checking back for updates.
ACCESS AWARDS

CONTACT US FOR ASSISTANCE

Please feel free to reach out to us by e-mailing AdminNCA@cappies.org with any questions you may have. If you'd like to view a full list of contacts, click the link below.
CONTACT LIST
16Apr

Disney’s The Little Mermaid, J.E.B. Stuart High School, Falls Church, Virginia, April 13, 2018

Emily Lachow

McLean High School

 

With flaming red hair, a gleaming green tail, and a voice sweeping through white-crested waves, our favorite little mermaid plunged the audience into the sea before we could gasp for air. Is the seaweed indeed always greener down under the sea, or are the sandy shores of land worth sacrificing sea life, a tail, and a voice for? Riding the waves of this fin-tastic Disney classic, JEB Stuart hooked its audience with a whimsical, magical, and delightful rendition of The Little Mermaid.

 

This classic story, which follows mermaid Ariel's journey to find love with the human Prince Eric, first enchanted audiences as an 1837 Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. Most people, however, are more familiar with the 1989 Disney film, which garnered two Academy Awards for Best Song and Best Score. It was adapted into a Broadway musical in 2007 with ten new songs.

 

The demure and graceful Mary Harrell was the epitome of a Disney princess; with bubbly physicality and vocals as pure as gently lapping waves, she truly shone as Ariel. Harrell's youthful exuberance added a refreshing burst of vibrancy to each of her scenes. As her human prince, Sam Wells was endearingly charming. The two together conveyed the tender love story between Ariel and Eric with laudable dedication.

 

Elijah Williams' performance as Sebastian was, in a word, crabulous. He anchored the ensemble of "Under the Sea" with a boat-load of energy and an impressive vocal range. In contrast with Williams' jolly demeanor, Andrea Pedemonte certainly delivered as the tale's Disney villain. Vicious, tenacious, and tentacular, Pedemonte stepped into Ursula's gills with an admirably fierce presence. Her performance was further enhanced by the eels slithering around her; Darien Roby and Deema Alharthi hissed and swirled cohesively, matching each other in intensity and vocal quality. Bringing some "positoovity" was Bella Lanoue-Chapman's hilariously gawky Scuttle. Lanoue-Chapman's every scene elicited bubbles of laughter from the audience, using a loud, proud, and squeaky voice to sound like a bumbling seagull.

 

The makeup crew of this production didn't need a trident to bring the magic of The Little Mermaid to life. Impressively well-executed contour, with an array of bright colors, marvelously created the scales and fins of sea creatures. The choreography, by Andrea Pedemonte, also breathed life into the show, with the smooth and jolting movements of "Fathoms Below" and charmingly awkward tap number "Positoovity."

 

JEB Stuart's The Little Mermaid submerged the audience in an ocean of love, magic, and fun. In an evening full of charm, these students proved that this timeless tale still has the power to unite sea and shore.


Allanah Rivera

McLean High School

 

At J.E.B. Stuart High School, they've got the spirit—and you've got to hear it! With their production of Disney's, The Little Mermaid, the energetic cast and stunning technical elements brought the audience under the sea for a splashing evening of fun.

 

Based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale and 1989 animated film, Disney's The Little Mermaid swam onto the Broadway stage in 2008 and received two Tony nominations, including Best Original Score. The beloved story follows Princess Ariel, a mermaid with aspirations of finding true love and joining the human world up above. She gives up her voice in exchange for legs to follow her dreams, and, in doing so, learns that love is felt instead of heard.

 

As the titular character, Mary Harrell perfectly personified the spunk and determined nature of Ariel, her youthful and enthusiastic energy shining as bright as her fiery red hair. Harrell's sweet soprano fit the character to a tee, particularly in her iconic song, "Part of Your World." However, the fact that Harrell so expertly embodied her character even without being able to speak for much of the show spoke to her incredible dexterity as an actress, and truly made her a standout of the evening.

 

Elijah Williams stole the show as Ariel's crustaceous companion, Sebastian. His animated facial expressions and comical line delivery constantly kept the audience laughing, while his powerful vocals—including an impeccable falsetto—brought the house down in numbers such as "Under the Sea" and "Kiss the Girl." Alongside Williams was Naomi Bertha in the role of Flounder, whose adorably bubbly personality captured everyone's hearts. As the sultry sea witch, Ursula, Andrea Pedemonte wowed with her spot-on humor and knockout vocals in "Poor Unfortunate Soul." Also commendable was Sam Wells as Prince Eric, whose charm and smooth vocals made Ariel—and the audience—swoon.

 

The stellar work of the technical crews brought the vibrant aquatic world to life through the colorful lighting on the cyclorama, creative sets, and flashy costumes. Every crew worked together to create a unified look that was fresh and imaginative without straying too far from the classic feel of the show. The makeup team (Leilani Curran and Tess Wadson) created unique looks for every character, each of whom was distinctive and bold without being overtly fishy, lending a subtle sense of sophistication to the production.

 

The Little Mermaid is one of those nostalgic shows at brings joy to young and old alike, and the students of J.E.B. Stuart High School made the audience fall in love with this enchanted tale of triumph and true love all over again.

Related

Almost, Maine, The New School of Northern Virginia, Fairfax, Virginia, March 16, 2019

Almost, Maine, The New School of Northern Virginia, Fairfax, Virginia, March 16, 2019

Best Written Reviews for Almost, Maine performed at The New School of Northern Virginia in Fairfax, ...

Read More >
Singin’ in the Rain, Freedom High School, Chantilly, Virginia, March 9, 2019

Singin’ in the Rain, Freedom High School, Chantilly, Virginia, March 9, 2019

Best Written Reviews for Singin’ in the Rain performed at Freedom High School in Chantilly, Virgini...

Read More >
Lionel Bart’s Oliver!, Albert Einstein High School, Kensington, Maryland, March 9, 2019

Lionel Bart’s Oliver!, Albert Einstein High School, Kensington, Maryland, March 9, 2019

Best Written Reviews for Lionel Art’s Oliver! performed at Albert Einstein High School in Kensingto...

Read More >
Damn Yankees, Our Lady of Good Counsel High School, Olney, Maryland, March 9, 2019

Damn Yankees, Our Lady of Good Counsel High School, Olney, Maryland, March 9, 2019

Best Written Reviews for Damn Yankees performed at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Olney, Ma...

Read More >
Cappies Reviews for Connelly School of the Holy Child’s Mamma Mia!

Cappies Reviews for Connelly School of the Holy Child’s Mamma Mia!

Best Written Reviews for Mamma Mia! performed at Connelly School of the Holy Child in Potomac, Maryl...

Read More >
Cappies Reviews for Tuscarora High School’s Peter and the Starcatcher

Cappies Reviews for Tuscarora High School’s Peter and the Starcatcher

Best Written Reviews for Peter and the Starcatcher performed at Tuscarora High School in Leesburg, V...

Read More >
Donate to Cappies NCA
Upcoming Shows