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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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CURRENT REVIEWS NOW AVAILABLE

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

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

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.
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24May

Best written reviews for “The Many Talents of Mr. Woodrow Walters” performed by Lightridge High School in Aldie, Virginia. Reviewed on May 22, 2021.

This show may be watched at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QAGr7hDyy8

 

Elizabeth Cheek

Justice High School

 

Picture it: an epic wild west showdown with a dangerous outlaw. Suddenly, you've been transported to the present where a national security breach wreaks havoc. Now cameras flash, and crowds eagerly scramble for your picture as you skyrocket to fame, suffocating in a pool of paparazzi.

 

That is, until the fantasy abruptly ends, reality sets in, and you are returned to the thrilling world of standardized testing.

 

In Lightridge High School's "The Many Talents of Mr. Woodrow Walters," imagination ran wild as an oddball teacher daydreamed frequently whilst administering an exam. With the aforementioned tales and the countless other scenarios visualized involving his students, Woodrow's delightfully charming reveries catapulted him back and forth along the brink of sanity over the course of a three-hour, end all be all assessment.

 

Written and directed by Brandon Kalbaugh, "The Many Talents of Mr. Woodrow Walters" was presented in a virtual manner, embracing the current educational standings amidst a pandemic. The performance was recorded on a continuous conference call, and specific dialogue was implemented to indicate the characters' awareness of their virtual setting. This made for a clever application of the given subject matter.

 

The deliberate overacting, distinct tonal shifts, and rapid pace of the production conveyed the evident satire of exam-taking, with every actor complementing the comedic intent through character development and role versatility. The titular Woodrow, played by Caiden Freimann, was entertainingly offbeat with his eccentric visions that Freimann portrayed with whimsy as his animated facial expressions captured the show's playful spirit. The dynamic of Freimann and Morgan Skiles as the Principal nicely established the tone, and the later accentual changes by Skiles was delivered with excellent diction and vocal manipulation, signifying the transition to one of Woodrow's delusional sequences. Similarly, the commendable work of Brandon Foley as the "A" Student provided comically exaggerated stereotypes in the fantasy realm, with characters like the raspy western villain with a handlebar mustache to a smooth news reporter, adding to the hysteria configured from an overactive imagination.

 

The technical elements of lighting, sound, and costumes were individually executed by the students, and the collective effort compellingly strung the production along. The sound was well balanced, maintaining the same volume throughout, and the background lighting each actor used was subtle and did not distract from the movement on screen. Additionally, the simplistic use of costumes appropriately suited the characters, from Woodrow's signature bowtie to the straightforward and sensible apparel showcasing the uptight nature of Student Three, played by Bitaniya Menkir. These aspects flowed seamlessly together, elevating the work of the ensemble as one cohesive unit.

 

Lightridge High School's production of "The Many Talents of Mr. Woodrow Walters" pinpointed the ridiculous pressure students face during standardized testing in a relatable manner from the perspective of a teacher as humor shone through its own intentional, laughable absurdity. A truly wild ride ensued, showing that creativity may be found amid the most peculiar of places. Perhaps then, in that way, we can learn a thing or two from Mr. Walters and his many, many talents.


Michael Hitchcock

Justice High School

 

In the drab modern world we live in today, daydreaming about your wildest fantasies is inevitable. Especially for Mr. Woodrow Walters in Lightridge High School's latest satirical comedy, The Many Talents of Mr. Woodrow Walters!

 

Written by the director Brandon Kalbaugh, the story follows a teacher Mr. Woodrow Walters, played by Caiden Freimann, who is prone to daydreaming in the worst times possible. Mr. Walters is administering a crucial test, and if his students don't perform well the iniquitous principal, played by Morgan Skiles, will gleefully fire him. During the test, Mr. Walters starts dreaming about various outcomes for his students and brings us on a trip to the great wild west and a science fiction movie, just to name a few! Will Mr. Woodrow Walters keep his job, or will he lose it to his elusive dreaming?

 

The show had many satirical remarks challenging institutions like College Board, which have been set in place as the norm. Mr. Walters even says once, "If you start without permission, you will not be allowed into ANY college." They even poked fun at tyrants and modern rulers of countries such as Fidel Castro, who was the prime minister of Cuba, and the current president of Russia, Vladimir Putin.

 

As the show's leading actor, Caiden Freimann played Mr. Woodrow Walters as a relatable teacher who's just trying to get through the day. Freimann brought many emotional levels to Mr. Walters that added depth to the character. Freimann was able to play the embarrassment of Mr. Walters when the principal called him out for not paying attention, but also played a mixture between confused and happy when Christine told him, "I don't think you have a chicken nugget brain!" Scotland Wallace as B (also known as Bently) also performed notably. Playing into the stereotype of hip hop gangster, Wallace provided comedic relief perfectly when needed. She was able to contrast certain more serious characters like the Principal or even "A" Student, Brandon Foley. The ensemble as a whole was terrific. Each actor played into specific high school stereotypes such as jock, class clown, and mean girl. The acting in this performance was amazing! Although Lightridge is a new school, they didn't let that get in their way. The chemistry they had was through the roof.

 

On the technical side, the editing was done primarily by the teacher. However, the lighting, sound, and costumes were done by the students. They all picked their outfits, did their costume changes, and provided the lighting and sound. Throughout the show, the costumes reflected whom each actor was playing superbly, with Mr. Walter Woodrow looking consistent through the entirety of the play. The lighting rarely changed and was consistent the entire time. And the volume never needed to be adjusted. This show was recorded online following all COVID-19 guidelines set by the CDC, and they couldn't have done better.

 

A comedic and satirical take on online school, standardized testing, and daydreaming, The Many Talents of Mr. Woodrow Walters tackled societal issues that teenagers face every day and struggle with. This show undoubtedly deserves a virtual round of applause!

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