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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.

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24Apr

Mary Poppins, Rock Ridge High School, Ashburn, Virginia, April 21, 2018

Matthew Wisdom

Riverside High School

 

"What did I tell ya? There's the whole world at your feet. And who gets to see it but the birds, the stars, and the chimney sweeps." At Rock Ridge High school, step through time among the roof tops of Cherry Tree Lane in this dazzling performance of Mary Poppins The Musical!  With wonder brewing at every streetlamp, statue, and starry silhouette, this company delivered a show that was a spoonful of sugar for audiences of all ages.

 

Making its West End debut in 2004, Mary Poppins The Musical garnered rave reviews instantly, sweeping audiences back to the nostalgia of L.P. Traveler's renowned children's novels. With these classics serving as the show's original source material, as well as its quintessential Disney adaptation in 1964, its Broadway debut two years later was in no short surprise. Following the outlandish adventures of the Banks' children, accompanied by Mary Poppins, they learn the true meanings of compassion, kindness, and above all, the importance of youth. Picking up multiple Tony Award nominations and numerous Oliver Awards, Mary Poppins The Musical has become a staple in modern musical theatre, encouraging all audiences to tag along on a jolly holiday with Mary.

 

Parallel to the magical elements of this show, Rock Ridge High School succeeded to the highest degree in creating an enticing Edwardian London environment. Both inside the orderly confines of the Banks' household and the mystifying rooftops above, the thought-out lighting design and mobile sets created a sense of historical accuracy and fictional fantasia onstage. With these elements reaching Broadway quality, Rock Ridge High School created a landscape that any actor would dream to perform alongside.

 

In unison with its talented tech, Rock Ridge Performing Arts' ensemble of characters continually shined for all the audience to see. Setting a fast paced and high energy tempo, this skilled company was on full display, especially in songs such as "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious." Alongside an ecstatic cast, two immediate standout performances were those of Shreya Muju in the role of the elegant Mary Poppins, and of Parker Koch in the role of the stern yet sentimental George Banks. Both portrayed their characters with full respect to the original source material yet weren't afraid to incorporate their own takes to the roles in conjunction with their exceptional vocals. Muju as Mary Poppins created a fresh and intriguing dynamic where no audience member could take their eyes off her intriguing persona, alongside Koch's George Banks, where his character arc and choices were handled beautifully, balancing the perfect amount of precision and order with sentiment and compassion.

 

All told, Rock Ridge High School's production of Mary Poppins the Musical burst with energy, kindness, and a crucial message on the importance of youth in the face of adult-hood. With an all-around jubilation of a company, commitment to character, masterful technological elements, and the all-around entertainment displayed can only be described as supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!


Autumn Anderson

Riverside High School

 

Rock Ridge's production of Mary Poppins brought the audience to 17 Cherry Tree Lane to experience a show that is practically perfect in every way. This production featured consistent energy from the cast and a stage that allowed the characters to shine and an audience to be enveloped into a new world of adventure, dreams, and fun.

 

Over the rooftops of London, Mary Poppins is a seemingly magical nanny that helps shape the lives of the dysfunctional Banks family through the course of the musical. The plot of the musical differs from the well-known movie, featuring Mary Poppin's statue friends, creepy toys that come to life, and a rival, evil nanny named Miss Andrews. The production came onto Broadway in 2006, and was nominated for 7 Tony's, winning for ‘Best Scenic Design'.

 

Rock Ridge's production featured consistent energy from everyone in the cast, including the ensemble – something aloof in high school theatre. The cast poured everything into high-energy, classic numbers like, "Jolly Holiday", "Steppin' Time", and "Anything Can Happen". With in-depth characters set on stage that looks ready for Broadway, this production out-did itself in its attention to detail.

 

Mary Poppins made sure to tell you from the beginning that she's ‘practically perfect in every way' and there is no argument to that. Shreya Muju showcased strong vocals, a consistent accent, and great character throughout the show. Perhaps the most dynamic character of the show, Mr. Banks (Parker Koch) also brought strong character and singing. Koch nailed it from the moment he began ‘Cherry Tree Lane' and brought his character's arc to life.

 

Many other actors also added a spoonful of sugar to the performance. Bert (Collin Kilfeather) brought a high-energy, easy-going performance that could only be described as ‘Bert'. Mrs. Banks (Jordan Green) brought an authentic take to her character and had realistic stage chemistry with Mr. Banks throughout their relationship. Robinson Ay (Farley McDaniel) stole the show on some occasions with his hilarious antics in the Banks' household.

 

Before the actors even step foot on stage, the spectacular set that Rock Ridge has created catches the eye, featuring the rooftops of London and a doll-house-like set for Cherry Tree Lane. It was nearly professional for a high school production, and a few words of appreciation must be given to the running crew for their smooth transitions with such a monster of a set. Another eye-catching aspect of the show was the lighting, featuring dynamic and almost cinematic changes and colors throughout the production. If not another bit of evidence to Rock Ridge's eye for detail, there was an incredible amount of time-period accuracy with the Londoner's costumes, and later with the creative Magician's costumes. All in all, the tech took this production to a whole new level.

 

Mary Poppins is a classic for many reasons, all featured in the latest performance from Rock Ridge. With strong, high-energy acting, a Broadway-quality set, and incredible attention to the fine details, Rock Ridge has outdone itself. There's only one word to describe this production and that is Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

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