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FOCUS ON 21st CENTURY LEARNING

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.

04May

Best written reviews for “Crazy for You” performed by South Lakes High School in Reston, Virginia. Reviewed on April 30, 2022.

Cassidy Loria

Oakton High School

 

They had rhythm, they had music, who could ask for anything more when South Lakes High School delivered the comedic masterpiece that was Crazy for You?

 

With a book by Ken Ludwig, music by George Gershwin, and a highly successful four-year Broadway run, Crazy for You follows Bobby Child, an ambitious man with music in his soul. Tasked by his mother to travel to Deadrock, Nevada, Bobby is told he must seize a theater that is behind on its rent. Upon arrival, Child meets the clever and strong Polly Baker, who also happens to be the daughter of the man Child is seizing the theater from. Child makes the decision to do whatever it takes to win back the theater for the Bakers and consequently, win Polly's heart.

 

Crazy for You is a largely ensemble-based show with several high-speed dance numbers and a cast that's always on the move. Student choreographer Karina Yakubisin did a flawless job at creating joyous and interesting dance numbers. One of the best examples of this utilized rope with the featured dancers in the highly energized number "Slap that Bass." The ensemble brought life and light into every scene and number they were a part of--from the heart of the city to the joys of the open country.

 

August Rivers, who played Bobby Child, was the epitome of a triple threat as the charismatic actor tapped, sang, and acted his way into the audience's hearts. There was never a dull moment when Rivers was on stage and his ability to hit every possible comedic moment was marvelous. Opposite Rivers, as his romantic counterpart, was Abigail Jamison who played Polly Baker. Jamison had a powerful personality that consistently made her character animated and exciting to look at. The pair never failed to showcase their wonderful chemistry in both their duets and their spark-filled dances.

 

Other standout performers of the night were Nuri Songer-Johnson, as the ill-mannered saloon owner Lank Hawkins and Maddie Bobko as Moose, one of the Deadrock inhabitants. Both actors painted a clear picture of Deadrock just in their mannerisms and acted as great support and comedic relief to the fast-paced storyline that played out.

 

With so much action, director Jenny Girardi never let things get overwhelmed, with a comprehensible view of all that was taking place as the romance blossomed and the town came together. She handled the ensemble with aplomb, keeping everyone involved.

 

The versatility of the costume department (led by Mikayla Kirr) could not be ignored. Whether it was the authentic western-day garments, or the elaborate follies show costumes, the wardrobe was ideal and fit the setting.

 

The sets of the production were not to be missed. Led by Talia Holzman, the design team created an expansive view of Old Town Nevada, complete with a saloon and hotel on multiple levels. The storefronts in the town were realistic and helped to set the mood of the action taking place.

 

With one of the most memorable scores in Broadway history, South Lakes High School did Gershwin proud, and audiences will be singing these tunes long after they leave the theater.


Ivy Ridenhour

Freedom High School

 

Beneath the clear desert sky of Deadrock, Nevada there's a small town full of talent and love waiting to be found. That talent was brought to life in South Lakes High School's Production of Crazy for You.

 

Crazy for You was originally produced in 1992. It's based on the 1930's musical Girl Crazy, with songs by Ira and George Gershwin and a book by Ken Ludwig. It's a marvelous mix of classic charm and contemporary energy. In this show, Bobby Child goes to Nevada to foreclose on a theatre, but instead finds love.

 

Leading the show was August Rivers as Bobby. From the top of the show, Rivers had all the charm and bravado of an old Broadway star, with moves and pipes to match. Whether professing a love for dancing, or just professing Bobby's love, Bobby was played with such genuine excitement and interest that it was impossible to imagine that the character wasn't crazy for whatever was sung about.

 

Abigail Jamison as Polly was strong-willed and sweet. Jamison managed to smoothly pull off the full range from stubborn to swooning. In addition to her solid acting, her voice was silken, and soared in the air. In the second act, the comedy of the show paused for a moment for Jamison's solemn song "But Not for Me."

 

Zany as can be, Josh Lewis as Zangler was another hit. Zangler was a businessman above all else until love changed his ways. Lewis had practiced hilarity, especially, in the comedic duet with Rivers where they matched perfectly beat for beat.

 

Ireland DiBacco as Irene, Bobby's fiancé, was a force of nature. DiBacco's deadpan humor and insults had the audience cackling. When Irene decided to seduce the saloon owner, DiBacco's voice and presence made it entirely believable that someone could fall in love with her in just one song.

 

Populating the town of Deadrock was a vibrant ensemble. They brought gorgeous harmonies to songs and had "deadly fights” that felt like dances. Two standouts were Nuri Songer-Johnson as Lank, the business focused saloon owner and Maddie Bobko as Moose, who shined in every vocal solo or spotlight moment the character had.

 

Finally, the Follies were a rainbow of energy and precision. Singing and dancing at the same time is no easy feat, but The Follies made it look like one. Karina Yakubisin choreographed songs to give the show numerous spectacles.

 

Of course, the show wouldn't be the same without its wonderful tech. The follies were dreamlike in powder pink hues, or glamorous in black and gold. While the cowboys were down to earth in vibrant, but grounded overalls. Each scene and group had a distinct feel, thanks to the costumes done by Mikayla Kirr. Another impressive element was the set. Imagine a multi-leveled spinning set piece that's a saloon on one side and a town front on the other. Then imagine two of those, plus six towering columns, a landscape in the back, a post office and two dressing rooms. That's just a taste of the world created by the South Lakes High School Set team led by Talia Holzman. Thanks to sound, led by Erik Smith, the auditory experience was just as pleasant as the visual one, with fun sound cues and great levels.

 

All the stars in that clear Nevada sky would be outshined by the ones on stage at South Lakes. Every tap shoe click, high kick, note and joke was polished to perfection. From the small town of Deadrock to the Great White Way, every element of South Lakes High School's production of Crazy for You was stunning.  

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