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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.

11May

Best written reviews for “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” performed by Tuscarora High School in Leesburg, Virginia. Reviewed on May 7, 2022.

Diana Altenhof

Stone Bridge High School

 

If it's ten years you've been rusting, needing so much more than dusting, then come on and lift your glass! You've won your own free pass to be Tuscarora High School's guest for their delightful rendition of "Beauty and the Beast."

 

"Beauty and the Beast" is a musical adapted from the animated Disney film of the same name, with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. It debuted to critical acclaim in 1994 and went on to become Broadway's tenth longest-running show of all time. The story finds inspiration from the classic French fairy tale, "La Belle et la Bête."

 

The vain Prince Adam (Patrick Hensley) is cursed to transform into the titular hideous Beast for his cruelty and lives his life secluded in his castle in the forest. His poor castle attendants are left to become magical household objects and yearn to be human again. When the Beast imprisons Belle's father (DJ Strigel), Belle (Claudia Hunn) takes his place, providing a chance to break the curse.

 

Claudia Hunn as Belle gave the beloved princess her own spin with assertiveness and an admirable delivery of the story through song. Hunn incorporated a heartful touch into every interaction with her outcast father and displayed a true transformation of her own as she navigated befriending and loving Patrick Hensley's brutish Beast. Hunn and Hensley's clean, engaging chemistry made their dynamic joyful to watch.

 

Prince Adam's castle, off the map and lost to time, was still alive with laughter, warmth, and dynamic personalities. The enchanted ensemble boasted magical objects of all sorts, from the suave, tap-dancing candelabra Lumiere (Tyler Steeprow), to the endearing, dove-voiced Mrs. Potts (Dillan Vanzego), and even dancing cutlery and rose petals. The quirky collection gave a welcoming charm to the cursed castle.

 

Amanda Anthony as LeFou, right-hand man to the bombastic Gaston (Ryan De Angioletti), used their impeccable energy and physical articulations to make a rollicking time in the French countryside. Anthony's deliberate character choices made comedic magic, whether thrown over De Angioletti's shoulder like a sack of provincial grain, leading an energetic mob's hunt through the aisles, or knocking steins in the tavern.

 

Across the delightful and spellbound world of "Beauty and the Beast," Claudia Hunn's costuming team decked each fairytale player in impressive handmade pieces and executed over sixty quick costume changes to keep the magic moving. Ryan De Angioletti's set team constructed the entirety of the provincial village of Villeneuve, as well as Prince Adam's stately palace, complete with massive, hand-painted stained-glass windows. As Jordan Ayoub and Elise Bradin's lighting designs misted the country mornings and gleamed on elegant dinners, the windows mimicked real translucency. 

 

Tuscarora High School's "Beauty and the Beast" spun a classic story on its head to give songs as old as rhyme a fresh perspective from a new day. No one's gloomy or complaining while the flatware's entertaining, so go on -- be their guest!


Aidan McNerney

Bishop Ireton High School

 

Tuscarora High School delivered an enchanted performance of Beauty and the Beast.

 

This show, based on the classic Disney animated film, features music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. It tells the story of a brilliant and brave young woman who takes her father's spot as prisoner in the castle of a prince who had been cursed to become a beast. Before the curse becomes permanent, the other inhabitants, cursed to become various household objects, attempt to make the two fall in love despite their differences.

 

This performance featured strong ensembles for both the villagers and the enchanted objects. It both provided compelling background acting and a variety of choreography in songs such as "Gaston" and "Be Our Guest." The ensemble of "Les Filles De La Ville" (Zoe Benton, Dakota Glaesser, Emma Marfia, and Ava Peach) was particularly notable, as each member was consistently entertaining to watch. Each group was overall highly energetic, and "The Mob Song" was especially engaging.

 

As Belle, Claudia Hunn led the production with gorgeous vocals and an enthralling emotional range, particularly shining in songs such as "Home" and "A Change in Me." Patrick Hensley complemented her well as Prince Adam, the Beast, with strong vocals and impressive character development throughout the show. Mrs. Potts (Dillan Vanzego) was also a particular standout for her stunning voice, especially in the titular number of "Beauty and the Beast." Vanzego also served as choreographer.

 

Tyler Steeprow was thoroughly entertaining as Lumiere, and he displayed excellent chemistry with both Cogsworth (MacArthur Maryn) and Babette (Queen Kincaide), who also showcased excellent dancing. Gaston (Ryan De Angioletti) and LeFou (Amanda Anthony) had an engaging dynamic and were quite amusing, although Gaston became genuinely scary by the end of the show. De Angioletti was also notable for his role as the show's technical director. Chip (Jaidan Braddock) brought an infectious sense of joy, especially when surrounded by their siblings, an adorable group of elementary schoolers.

 

The show boasted an impressive number of elegant set pieces, including an elaborately constructed castle with staircases and beautiful stained-glass windows. The set was highly detailed, and several pieces were able to be used for multiple purposes. Despite the potential challenges of including so many pieces, the space was utilized so that the audience often had action to focus on even during transitions. The costumes were memorable, particularly for those of the enchanted objects, which had fun elements such as lights for Lumiere, drawers for Madame De La Grande Bouche (a dresser), and pieces that fell off from Cogsworth's clock. The actors also deserve special commendations for managing to move around so easily in such costumes. The Beast's mask and costume were also quite convincing. The show also had an excellent lighting design, using a variety of colors to reflect tonal shifts and unique effects to provide a beautiful atmosphere.

 

Belle reminds us that "home should be where the heart is," and the members of Tuscarora High School's production truly put their hearts into this show.

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