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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.


The Addams Family - South County High School - Lorton, Virginia - May 5, 2017

Katherine Bushman

Stone Bridge High School


They're creepy and they're kooky, mysterious and spooky, they're altogether ooky – It's The Addams Family at South County High School, where the dedicated cast and crew presented everyone's favorite ghoulish family with equal parts horror, humor, and heart.


The musical, which opened on Broadway in April 2010, is based on Charles Addams' single-panel cartoons rather than the animated series or movie. The show follows a moment of crisis in the family's life as their daughter, Wednesday, decides she is going to marry a boy from Ohio - "A swing state!", Gomez gasps in horror. When Lucas' "normal" parents come for dinner at the Addams' gothic mansion, mischief is bound to ensue.


As the patriarch and matriarch of the titular clan, Gomez (Craig Allison) and Morticia (Doris Dougherty) were the stars of the show. Thanks to Allison's uproarious comedic skill, Dougherty's gorgeous and haunting vocals, and the duo's magnetic chemistry, the pair remained a compelling presence throughout both acts. The duo of Wednesday (Maddie Gereski) and Lucas (Nick Ferlazzo) provided a nice foil to Gomez and Morticia as they portrayed the naïveté of love struck teenagers in songs such as "One Normal Night" and "Crazier than You."


The supporting cast also worked to bring the beloved characters to life. Jake Borenstein showed impressive versatility as Uncle Fester as he alternated between ghoulish glee and surprisingly heartfelt moments such as "The Moon and Me." As ghostly Addams ancestors from every time period, the ensemble, led by dance captain Emma Stitzer, shone as well as they danced, sang, and provided a common visual thread to tie the show together.


Technical elements added to the deliciously creepy atmosphere. Makeup, designed by Carmie Basnight and Anna Luczynski, transformed actors into ghosts and ghouls with eerie realism, and the wigs worn by nearly all actors were refreshingly realistic. Lighting, executed by Evan Sparks and Peter Huynh, added to the production with a perfect balance of light and shadow as well as effects such as an illuminated moon and offstage bursts of light from a TNT blast. The orchestra did an admirable job, though at times, they overpowered the singers due to a few opening night microphone troubles.


Despite its facade of macabre silliness, and thanks to the dedication of the cast and crew of South County High School, the themes of The Addams Family ran surprisingly deep as it imparted messages of honesty, forgiveness, and the importance of family.


Devin Lucas

St. Andrew’s Episcopal School


Illuminated by a single spotlight, a disembodied floating hand appears through a part in the curtain, snapping to the iconic Addams Family theme song as it welcomes you to the show. The overture finishes, the curtains part, and the audience is pulled into the creepy, kooky, mysterious, and spooky home of the Addams Family, where a tale of love, ghosts, and mayhem is ready to be told.


Based on the classic and beloved cartoon created by Charles Addams, with a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice and music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, this musical tells the story of the beloved Addams Family, an eccentric New York family with a somewhat… different perspective on life. Wednesday, their daughter, is all grown up, and has fallen in love with Lucas, a nice, sweet, normal boy from Ohio. When Lucas' family decides to come visit for the night, what follows is a chaotic, hilarious, and heartfelt spectacle, filled with secrets, potions, and some rather unexpected "full disclosures". The show premiered on Broadway in April of 2010, running for well over a year before closing in December of 2011. Since closing on Broadway, it has had several national tours, played in regional theatres, and been performed in schools across the country.


Filled with difficult music and carried by a ghoulish ensemble, "The Addams Family" is a show that requires an impressive show band, a strong, cohesive ensemble, and well thought out makeup, hair, and costumes. These are certainly not easy aspects on which to deliver, but the cast and crew of South County High School was up to the challenge. The ensemble, led by dance captain Emma Stitzer, who was without a doubt a standout performer, was consistent and collected in delivering difficult and expressive dance numbers, and they were always in tune with their characters, even when not singing or dancing. Their costumes, hair, and makeup, which were impeccably well thought out and executed, perfectly completed their ghostly looks, truly selling the idea of these mischievous specters. Completing the production, the show band established themselves as one of the strongest points of the show, displaying consistency, talent, and professionalism from the start of the overture to the final notes of the finale.


In addition, standout lead performances came from cast members such as Craig Allison, Doris Dougherty, and Jake Borenstein. Allison, who played the devoted and romantic Gomez Addams, brought humor and excellent comedic timing to his role, delivering every joke with precision and punch. Alongside him, Dougherty played the regal and commanding Morticia Addams, using her low and strong voice to convincingly play her role as leader of the house. Lastly, Borenstein rounded out this kooky bunch with his lovably strange fourth wall breaks, his devotion to the role, and his adorable and sweet rendition of his solo ballad, "The Moon and Me".


Although mostly minor, a few weaknesses did affect the overall production. The microphones were the biggest issue, dropping out on numerous occasions and causing several lines and vocals to be missed. As well, there seemed to be a bit of hesitancy on musical entrances and cues, causing some awkward pauses and uncertain glances towards the band, which took away from the impact of the performance.


That said, however, the overall show was everything that "The Addams Family" should be – off-kilter, heartfelt, sweet, hilarious, and delightfully strange.


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