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


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


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


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.

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.


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.


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.


Monty Python’s Spamalot, Thomas S. Wootton High School, Rockville, Maryland, March 30, 2019

Beverly D’Andrea

Westfield High School


The trick to combining man-eating rabbits with Ni-ing knights is a dry humor and plenty of zany numbers. Spamalot is a witty satire of chivalry, with the typical wide range of Monty Python-esque puns. From limbless knights to ones with altogether too many "Ni's", Wootton High School delivered a rollicking rendition of the side-splitting satire, Spamalot.


The show follows the quest of King Arthur as he rounds up a band of eccentric knights, and they pursue they Holy Grail. On their travels they encounter colorful characters and cockamamie predicaments. But, eventually, after much searching, each one finds their Grail.


The show is based on the movie, Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  The book and lyrics were written by Eric Idle with music by John Du Prez and Eric Idle.  Spamalot opened on Broadway with a bang, in 2005, winning the Tony for best musical with 13 other nominations.


In the role of King Arthur, was Zack Cassidy cutting a striking figure astride his nonexistent horse. Cassidy's sincerely earnest portrayal of the well intentioned-king, lent a believable reality to some of his characters more harebrained adventures. With powerful vocals in his song "I'm All Alone", a commanding presence, and hilarious deadpan comedy in the face of coconut carrying swallows and other ridiculous situations, Cassidy pulled off a strong performance. King Arthur's sidekick, Patsy was played by Olivia Speck.  Speck's large facial expressions coupled with her endearing physicalization of the slightly clumsy but loyal Patsy made the character an eye-magnet and her every movement garnered a laugh. Even the simplest actions, Speck enlarged and took to another level of hilarity, making the clop of coconuts an uproarious occasion.


The interaction of Arthur and Patsy during "I'm All Alone" was rib-splitting to watch. Both comedic geniuses played off each other's work to form a scene fraught with mounting annoyance on the part of Patsy and oblivious self-pity by Arthur. 


The fearful, Broadway-loving knight, Sir Robin was played by Charlotte Bergel. Bergel's large, clear physicality and stunning vocals made her Sir Robin an engaging, pitiably funny presence on stage.  In her song "You Won't Succeed on Broadway" Bergel's combination of fluid acting, skillful vocals, and jazzy tap routine put together a vibrant, over the top, all stops pulled performance. The lovely Lady of the Lake was played by Alyssa Herman, with diva undertones and captivating presence. Herman's extravagant performance of the lady, complete with operatic vocals and melodramatic lamentation of her lacking stage time, showed a true commitment to her role.  Herman's comedic timing in her already witty songs lent the entertaining lyrics even more comedic energy. Through energized acting and complemented by superb vocals, the Lady of the Lake was a whirlwind of effervescence.


In an all over the place show with bizarre characters, the tech department had a large role to play and Wootton's tech came through.  The lighting, designed by Aviva Kram, was used powerfully to show changes in the scenes, especially the golden light in the scenes where God appeared. The props, designed by Kristin LaMonaca, added to the droll humor of the show. The blood around the mouth of the man-eating bunny added spirit. The set, designed by Alexandra Blowers, was extremely effective at giving a sense of location while still providing space for the large dance numbers. The attention to minute detail on the set was impressive with every paint stroke exact.


Throughout all the craziness and madcap adventure, Wootton High School truly did find their Grail and brought us along for the ride.


Andie Bisk

Albert Einstein High School


If you're not yet dead, you must find the Holy Grail that is Wootton High School's hilarious production of Monty Python's Spamalot. Based off the classic movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Eric Idle's brainchild was adapted into the musical Spamalot. First opening on Broadway in 2005, it garnered rave reviews and 14 Tony nominations, and won Best New Musical (as well as a slew of other prestigious awards).


The show opens with a professional-sounding overture played by the Wootton Pit Orchestra, not shying away from their own jabs at humorous moments. We are then greeted with fantastically executed songs sung by the talented cast, each one containing loads of hilarity and the kind of absurdity that keeps people enthralled by Monty Python to this day. King Arthur (played by Zack Cassidy) was an absolute marvel, with fabulous comedic timing, and expressive physicality seen throughout all his scenes. He is followed by the loyal and delightfully daft Patsy (Olivia Speck), whose facial expressions were captivating and absolutely hilarious. Their ensemble dynamic was thrilling to watch and had the audience in stitches.  This is evident in the song "I'm All Alone," in which Arthur sings about being so dreadfully alone… when Patsy has literally been beside him for the entirety of the show. Speck and Cassidy played off of each other's energies in such a fashion that it was impossible not to stare in wonder at the mastery they were able to achieve in their respective roles.


While some actors were onstage for substantially shorter amounts of time than others, these actors definitely proved the saying that there are no "small roles." This was witnessed through the excellent and side-splitting scene involving Not Dead Fred (Robert Summers-Berger), where we watched him burst with energy across the length of the stage singing about how not-dead he is. This same level of memorability was achieved by Sir Robin (Charlotte Bergel), whose tap-dancing skills were phenomenal, especially in her principle song "You Won't Succeed on Broadway."


One of the most captivating roles, however, was Prince Herbert (played by Sean Klein). His comedic timing was incredible, playing off of the chaotic energy of his Father (Vishrut Shukla). Klein was able to beautifully sing in a high register in songs like "Where are You?" while also being brilliant at being able to sport a Carmen Miranda hat while sing the high energy song "His Name is Lancelot" at the same time. This level of "extraness," however was not to be surpassed by the Lady of the Lake herself, played by the wonderful and talented Alyssa Herman. While not on the stage for very long (which she laments about in the song "Whatever Happened to my Part"), her sass and charisma was palpable.


However, a majority of the singing was sadly overpowered by the orchestra. While the orchestra was wonderful and sounded incredible, it became difficult at times to hear many of the actors. The problem improved slightly by Act Two, but it was still rather noticeable. This unfortunate setback was also heightened by the quality of the sound system in place, with much of the sound being "swallowed up" by either the auditorium or just not reaching very far due to the condition of the microphones being used. This however, was not too major of a drawback due to the excellence of the actors' skills. They were able to project their voices as much as possible and made up for the lack of volume through their physicality.


Everything considered, Wootton High School's production of Monty Python's Spamalot is *insert French accent* art.


Best written reviews for “The Music Man” performed by Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria, Virginia. Reviewed on March 25, 2023.

Best written reviews for “The Music Man” performed by Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria, Virginia. Reviewed on March 25, 2023.

Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria, Virginia, presented “The Music Man” to the Cappies Critic...

Read More >
Best written reviews for “The Love Doctor” performed by Meridian High School in Falls Church, Virginia. Reviewed on March 24, 2023.

Best written reviews for “The Love Doctor” performed by Meridian High School in Falls Church, Virginia. Reviewed on March 24, 2023.

Meridian High School in Falls Church, Virginia, presented “The Love Doctor” to the Cappies Critics...

Read More >
Best written reviews for “My Favorite Year” performed by Albert Einstein High School in Kensington, Maryland. Reviewed on March 11, 2023.

Best written reviews for “My Favorite Year” performed by Albert Einstein High School in Kensington, Maryland. Reviewed on March 11, 2023.

Albert Einstein High School in Kensington, Maryland, presented “My Favorite Year” to the Cappies C...

Read More >
Upcoming Shows