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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.


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.


Brigadoon, St. Paul VI Catholic High School, Fairfax, Virginia, April 6, 2019

Julia Tucker

Westfield High School


A pair of American tourists stumble waywardly through a lush green forest in the rolling hills of Scotland. After consulting a tattered map, they determine their location: nowhere. A faint chorus of voices in the distance draws them over a bridge and to a village lost in time, where each day is followed by a 100 year-long night. Journey with St. Paul VI Catholic High School as they recite a tale of adventure, community, and love in their magnificent production of Brigadoon. 


Brigadoon was written in 1947 by Alan Jay Lerner and features music composed by Fredrick Loewe. The original Broadway run lasted for 581 performances and was so well-received it was transposed into a movie in 1954. Brigadoon follows the story of two Americans who stumble into a village that only exists for one day every 100 years. When one of the New Yorkers falls in love with a village girl, he must decide if he should stay with his love and leave his former life forever, or return to his world but leave his one true love behind.


The ensemble performed as a cohesive and entertaining unit. They were constantly engaged in the action and were brimming with energy and excitement. Individual members developed unique characters and were consistently seen acting in character. All actors and actresses used convincing Scottish accents which helped immerse the audience in the story.


Starring as the lovestruck New Yorker was Nick Burgos as Tommy Albright. The Scottish village girl, Fiona MacLaren, was played by Emma Hitchcock. Burgos and Hitchcock beautifully developed their relationship in songs like "The Heather On The Hill" and "Almost Like Being In Love." Both performers utilized sweet vibrato and strong diction to enhance their singing.


With multiple small plotlines and plenty of characters, Brigadoon could be a difficult show to understand. Luckily, the Paul VI players made it easy for the audience to comprehend the vast plot by defining every role they embodied as unique and memorable. American tourist Jeff Douglas was hilariously played by Jak Ketron. Ketron maintained a strong comedic presence by utilizing facial expressions and vocal variation to heighten the comedy of every joke. Caitlin Fernandez, as Meg Brockie, amazed the audience with her powerful vocals in the song "My Mother's Weddin' Day." Fernandez sang with ease and acted through her singing to make every word hilarious. Maddie Mangilit, as Jean MacLaren, flaunted her dancing ability in the heartwarming number "Come to Me, Bend to Me." Mangilit had clean and crisp movements and danced everything from Celtic dance to ballet.


To create the atmosphere of a land untouched by time the Paul VI sound head Rosemary Ketron included nature ambient effects such as crickets and birds. This creative sound design blended seamlessly with the production and enhanced the environment of the show. The lighting, designed by Jon Greene, shifted as the time of day changed, going from a bright daytime to a calming sunset. Hair and makeup head Allison Fentress crafted intricate updo's that were beautiful to look at.


Filled with enchanting vocals, exciting dancing, and a beautiful love story, St. Paul VI Catholic High School constructed a remarkable rendition of the heartwarming musical, Brigadoon.


Mithra Dhinakaran

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


Step into the idyllic Scottish town of Brigadoon and for each day, shave off a hundred years of reality. While it may seem a steep price, it's one the townspeople regard as a blessing, as they cherish their lives protected from external threats. Full of heart-fluttering moments and whimsical charm, St. Paul VI Catholic High School's production of Brigadoon carried everyone away.


Brigadoon opened on Broadway in 1947, with a book and lyrics written by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe. According to myth, the eponymous town appears only once every century in the Scottish Highlands. On one such day, Tommy and Jeff, two American travelers, stumble across the quaint town. While the comically aloof Jeff is immune to Brigadoon's charm, bright-eyed Tommy falls in love with one of its inhabitants, Fiona. With other romances stirring the air, the characters must decide what they value most, the sanctity of their love, the town, or the real world.


Chin up with cheery smiles, Emma Hitchcock portrayed Fiona with grace and aplomb. Her unfailing accent through scenes with the Americans was impressive as was her vocal range throughout the show. Unapologetically declaring her love for Tommy, played by Nick Burgos, she upheld her convictions in touching caresses and emotive ballads. Burgos reciprocated her affection with longing gazes, complemented by lovely riffs. His dynamic with Jeff was just as lively, from their natural banter to begrudging standoffs.


Jak Ketron threw himself into the role of Jeff with visceral physicality and cynical quips. Even when he wasn't downing other people's drinks, Ketron kept up the gruff attitude of a disillusioned drunk, ironically prevailing as the show's voice of reason. One of the highlights of the show was Ketron's chemistry with Caitlin Fernandez who played Meg, which peaked in the song "The Love of my Life". With Fernandez brazenly attempting to cuddle and Ketron diving under the bed, the duo had the audience splitting their sides.


As the cheeky milkmaid Meg, Fernandez showcased some of the most consistent acting in the show. Her well-timed comedic delivery and full use of the stage kept the audience entertained every instant. Another couple that captivated the crowd was Charley and Jean, respectively portrayed by Nick Herrera and Maddie Mangilt. Mangilt's elegant ballet and Herrera's affectionate touches brought gushing reactions, particularly in "Come to Me, Bend to Me".


Decked out in tartan with steady Scottish accents, the ensemble was upbeat and reactive throughout the show. The technical elements added another level of authenticity to the show, truly immersing the audience in the highlands. The costume crew, led by Emma Hitchcock and Grace Lyons, fashioned vivid period blouses, stays, and skirts. Furthermore, the set department, including Caitlin Fernandez, Kathryn Webb, Ryan Phillips, and Anthony Berry, created gorgeous pieces, detailed with textured rock and folksy elements. Their use of dual-sided scenery further enabled the stage crew, managed by Sabrina Smith, to execute smooth, efficient transitions.


With timeless comedy and innocent romance, Brigadoon transported the audience into a dreamlike wonder as surely as it had Tommy and Jeff. While we may not wish to abandon the real world forever, St. Paul VI Catholic High School's delightful production provided a fanciful escape.


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