Cappies Gala Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What's new-ish this year?
A: All payments online by credit card. No checks to Cappies. Also, Background Checks for all adults going backstage at any time for any reason. All we need is First name, Last name and Email so we can send out the questionnaire. Also new is "Another Cappies Gala!," our original finale number including Finale Honorees from nearly every school in NCA!
ALSO...there is major construction going on at the KC, so there's no entrance from Rock Creek Parkway and it's strongly advised to carpool (or metro to Foggy Bottom).
Q: What if our school has conflicts Sat or Sun (graduation, baccalaureate, testing, etc)?
A: We've done our best to accommodate conflicts. Contact Chip.Rome@cappies.com ASAP, but frankly, there's not a lot of flexibility left in the arrangements from our end. Note that security badges will not be available except at designated times, so random kids arriving when they can, may find there's no way to get in... ARRIVE ON SCHEDULE!!! Yes, the rehearsal often conflicts with either SAT's or ACT's...we just haven't found any way around that :(
Q. Re-blocking on Saturday??
A: Yup. Chip, Chris & the Ch21 guys may make minor adjustments to your staging, to accommodate the TV camera shots for the gala. This usually means bringing actors in closer than you've been doing, or moving some upstage business to downstage, or restaging duets or dialogues so performers can be in the same camera shots. Heather will be working closely with you to assist. Not to worry--please be supportive, not territorial! ☺
Q: What if my scene just can't fit within the 3 minute limit?
A: Sorry, but keeping the gala to 3 hours is a huge feat that must be supported by everyone. Better to cut it yourself now than have the lights go down before you're done! With their intro--and please give whatever help you can on this-- Janie or Judy can lead into your scene and enable your cast to get right to the key parts. With songs, we want all the best parts, and the big finish, but we don't need every repeat chorus, or every dance extension. The politics of these cuts are your concern; don't argue them with us.
Q: How many adults can I have backstage as we prepare?
A: You + 1 adult (only) per 25 students (ok to round up... so 38+ → 2 adults). No add'l.
Include those you truly need to make your performance/backststage behavior go smoothly. This is not a way to compensate for not getting as many tickets as you wanted. NO non-performing Nominees backstage (even just to change clothes or a quick visit). Sorry.
Q: Who needs to be on the Security List?
A: Any human who plans to step through a backstage door, be they director, musician, parent, student (actor or techie), messenger, or pizza delivery person (not a good plan...). Background checks take 24 hr. Submit names now!
Q: Where do we find parking on Sunday?
A: Downstairs, in the Kennedy Center lot. You'll have to pay $23. The Concert Hall is on the south side, near the first bank of elevators as you enter. You should be able to park very close to those, as you enter. If you metro, the KC sponsors shuttle buses from the Foggy Bottom metro station.
Q: How do we get backstage?
A: The backstage door, and security checkpost, is at the eastern end (away from the river) of the Hall of Nations. We'll have a desk there to check you in.
Q: What about drop off of set pieces?
A: Any driver dropping off set pieces MUST provide vehicle description (make, model and license plate #) or the KenCtr police will forces them to "move along…!" before you can fetch your stuff. Hey, it's post 9-11; make your drama mamas/dads be cooperative.
Q: Can we watch other schools rehearsing, Sat and Sun?
A: Yes, as long as everybody's quiet and we don't have to hold things up while you try to track everyone down.
Q: What about food?
A: Kids can "brown bag" it (label everything w name & school), and eat on the Terrace level or River Terrace Plaza seating area, but may not buy food in the private basement Canteen (11:30am-8:00pm). There will be over 300 performers + 200 or so Nominees (plus directors and other adults), though, so y'all ain't gonna fit anywhere all at once! Still, do not permit your kids to leave the KenCtr once they arrive. There must be NO FOOD or DRINK (except water) backstage!! They will get a 30% discount upstairs, though, for showing their ID badge.
Q: What should we wear when? When/where can we change?
A: Each school will be assigned a (shared) dressing room area where (labeled!) garment bags (you surely don't want ANY loose clothing items!) and set pieces can be stored. So come comfortably dressed, and leave costumes or fancy duds in the car or dressing room. You can all get gussied up after the rehearsal, before the procession. Leave nothing behind at the end of the night!! PLEEASE check this yourself, not just your "trustworthy" kid. We are NOT responsible for lost Ipods, wallets, jewelry, tux's etc. ONLY PERFORMERS/staff in the dressing rooms! No non--performing nominees may go backstage for any reason.
Q: During the Gala, what will our cues be, to leave our seats and go backstage?
A: Think about how long it will take your cast to get in costume and make-up. We'll want you at places not later than one award category (three minutes) before your performance, and assume it will take you three minutes to get backstage. We assume that the minimum changing time is six minutes, the maximum about twelve. If you need more than that, we'll need to know that.
Q: What if someone in our performing cast is up for an award while we're away, getting ready?
A: As much as possible, the show program has been prepared to keep this from happening, but it may, a few times. Study the program carefully, and if anyone needs to be side-stage and available to go on-stage to accept an award, then that person should leave his/her seat earlier than the others, to get changed. Also, please check the program for award categories immediately following your performance, to see if anyone needs to linger side-stage for those. Your group may NOT crowd the wings to listen to award results.
Q: What about performers who are also nominees? How does the nominees' rehearsal fit into this?
A: The nominees' rehearsal will be at 4:00pm on Sunday. The performers' rehearsal will be done by then, so that your performing nominees can (and MUST) attend the procession rehearsal! DON'T let them skip it; it is NOT the time to get stuck in the Canteen!
Q: Where should nominees change clothes? Where can they store the clothes and stuff they're not currently wearing?
A: Not in the dressing rooms. They can stay in their fancy duds the whole time, leave stuff in their (or friend's) car, or change in the various rest rooms around the Kennedy Center. Nominees should not visit, change or be backstage.
Q: Can adults and students have cellphones?
A: Yes*, but backstage only*. Please turn them off when you're sidestage, onstage, or in the seating area.
And stress NO phones (or similar) during the gala (makes for embarrassing camera shots of your school). Reception is terrible, by the way...
Q: How about cameras?
A: Very important point--and we need your help with it. We allow no photos in the Kennedy Center auditorium during the gala. Not videocams, not digital cams, and (worst of all) anything with a flash. You know how disruptive this can be. It's even worse when it happens at the Kennedy Center. We're counting on you to make sure all your students, and all their parents, respect this rule, because we don't want any flashes popping off when your kids perform. If that happens, we'll ask an usher to intervene, and whoever does it will be embarrassed. Tell them there's no need. Everyone can tape the TV broadcast of the gala, and excellent photos of every performance number, and every award, will be posted online in the weeks after the gala. Last year, we had perfect compliance from everybody on this, zero flashes through the whole gala, and we're counting on that this year too.
HOWEVER: Photos backstage, and photos during your rehearsal are OK, as long as they don't get in the way--and no flash any time anywhere, please.
Q: Anything else?
A: Both Saturday & Sunday, PLEASE be on time. Keep your kids under control. PLEASE be patient. This year the music is new to the orchestra, and they to your kids. We're trying our best. Be supportive. All directors, parents, kids should respect the Gala staff, -- KenCtr, Robinson/McLean Staff kids, and Drama Mamas. We all want the same thing: a wonderful Cappies Gala experience.