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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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Previous year award nominees and recipients will be posted shortly. Please keep checking back for updates.
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30Apr

Legally Blonde, Stone Bridge High School, Ashburn, Virginia, April 26, 2019

Syd Kirk

McLean High School

 

You've got a right to be Legally Blonde! Stone Bridge High School's production of Legally Blonde had plenty of "Bend and Snap" while telling the story of Little Miss Woods comma Elle.

 

Legally Blonde is based off of the 2001 novel by Amanda Brown and the film of the same name. It was adapted into a musical and made its Broadway debut in 2007, receiving seven Tony nominations and ten Drama Desk nominations. The show follows Elle Woods, a hardcore sorority girl who is dumped by her boyfriend because she isn't "Serious." In order to prove him wrong and win her man back, Elle finds herself in the hallowed halls of Harvard Law School, where she defies expectations without compromising her true identity.

 

The beloved and iconic Elle was played by Bethany Shears, who never failed to make her own choices, adding a personal twist to the well-known bouncy blonde. Shears had a beautiful voice that impressed with its extensive range. Opposite Shears was James Good as the determined and equally adorable Emmett. The best part of Good's voice wasn't just his spectacular belt, but the intimate moments as well. Good was always engaged, perfectly portraying Emmett as his affection for Elle blossomed into love. The pair made for a powerful vocal duo, exulting emotion during the musical number "Legally Blonde." In addition to their roles, the two acted as student music directors for the production, working in tandem onstage and off.

 

Elle's friend and quirky hair stylist Paulette was played by Ainsley Steger. Paulette's hilarious obsession with Ireland was captured by Steger's spot on comedic timing and exaggerated Boston accent. Ainsley also embodied the sweet side of Paulette, constantly encouraging Elle to fight for what she wants. Juxtaposing Ainsley as the antagonist to Elle's journey was Sam Fremin, who played Professor Callahan with a cool and calculating demeanor. Fremin seemed completely comfortable and confident, exemplifying the ruthless C-minus Callahan.

 

"Omigod You Guys," the entire cast of Legally Blonde was full of energy and gusto. Paravi Das as Vivienne was a reflection of the immense vocal talent at Stone Bridge High School. She stayed devoted to her character and demonstrated Vivienne's arc from a cold, prissy mean girl to a supportive woman beautifully. Another standout of the night was Liam McGrail's portrayal of Kyle the UPS guy. McGrail had a great stage presence that always succeeded in getting a laugh out of the audience.

 

Two technical elements stood above the rest to paint the show pink with preppy tones and bright, fun colors. Costumes impressively dealt with a demanding number of pieces. Elle in particular had many costume changes, which were handled efficiently and effectively as the crew kept up with the show's fast pace. Similarly, the Prop Crew had a lot of scene changes to work with, and their attention to detail never faltered. The products at Paulette's Hair Affair were notable.

 

As the tipped scale turned to balance, Elle Woods came to terms with her own individual power and resolved to be true to herself. Stone Bridge High School's production of Legally Blonde left audiences "So Much Better" than before.


 

Grace Tarpgaard

George Mason High School

 

"What, like it's hard?" seemed to be the motto of Stone Bridge High School's recent production of Legally Blonde. The iconic line references sorority girl and pink enthusiast Elle Woods' seamless acceptance to Harvard Law School, defying all odds against her. Similarly, Stone Bridge High School's theater department pulled off a fantastic adaptation of the Broadway musical with stunning vocals, creative set choices, and outstanding character dynamics.

 

Legally Blonde was written by Heather Hach, and is based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the 2001 film of the same name. First premiering on Broadway on April 29, 2007 at the Palace Theatre, the show tells the story of Elle Woods, a privileged sorority girl who follows her ex-boyfriend Warner to Harvard Law School in an attempt to win him back. From there, she meets new friends, realizes her affinity for law, and overcomes challenges proving she's capable of anything she sets her mind to.

 

Bethany Shears, playing leading lady Elle Woods, carried the show with outstanding vocal technique and acting skills. Shears' energy onstage never wavered and her powerful voice added to her already strong character persona. Similarly, James Good, playing Elle's love interest Emmett, held his own vocally and had a captivating chemistry with Shears. Their relationship was enchanting and had audiences rooting for them from the start.

 

Ainsley Steger, playing Elle's trusty hairdresser Paulette, and Sam Fremin, playing the intimidating law professor Callahan, had challenging characters to live up to. However, their dedication and talent allowed their individual choices to shine through. Steger's over-the-top physicality and voice brought humor and admirability to her rendition of "Ireland," while Fremin's harshness toward his students and powerful voice made "Blood in the Water" an eerie number to watch, accurately portraying his character's intentions.

 

No show would be complete without a strong ensemble, and the cast of Legally Blonde certainly came through. With difficult dance numbers such as "Omigod You Guys" and "Bend and Snap," the ensemble truly brought their all with amazing energy, spunky facial expressions, and unique character choices. Elle's sorority friends Margot (Ruby Gau), Serena (Darby Ogorek), and Pilar (Brittany Battista) were standouts and perfectly encapsulated the energetic spirit of the show.

 

Technical elements helped reinforce the amazing talent onstage with dynamic light looks, bold costume choices, and an effective set design that was both original and appropriate for the storyline. Lighting Designer Riley White used colors and hues to bring a certain aesthetic to each scene. Costumes by Bethany Shears and Ainsley Steger helped reinforce Elle's character development through countless costume changes that reflected her growth. Lastly, set design by Paravi Das utilized a limited amount of set pieces to transform each scene location in both a believable and creative manner.

 

The cast and crew of Stone Bridge High School's Legally Blonde did not disappoint in bringing the beloved story of Elle Woods and her journey to believing in herself to life. Evident dedication and teamwork brought a sense of camaraderie both on and offstage that could be felt by the audience as well. The energy in the room was undeniable and cast, crew, and audience members alike left the show with a new appreciation for the fun and vitality of life with the notion that we can truly do anything we set our minds to.

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