Meridian High School’s Katie Rice was named the winner of a Cappie award for Comic Actor in a Female Role for her performance in the school’s Spring 2022 theater production of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised]” Monday night at the 22nd annual Cappies Gala at the Kennedy Center before a capacity crowd of 2,500 in the Concert Hall. It was the first gala held in three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Meridian play was also one of six nominated for Best Play out of a total of plays and musicals from 48 participating high schools in the D.C. Metro area that were voted on by 308 high school critics. The actors from the Meridian play performed a scene from their play before the live audience at the gala.
The Cappies of the National Capital Area held its annual gala recognizing excellence in high school theater. The Tony’s-like sell-out event held in the Concert Hall of the Kennedy Center celebrated hundreds of student nominees. Most but not all students and their parents, guardians or friends showed up in grand attire.
Eleven schools who were nominated for best play or musical performed brief segments of their productions to the delight of the highly-enthusiastic audience composed mostly of the many student nominees. Community dignitaries and Cappies alums presented awards to the finalists in 40 technical and performance categories.
By coincidence, Katie Rice was announced as the winner in her category by two dignitaries from the Falls Church School System who happened to be up as the presenters at that same time, Superintendent Dr. Peter Noonan and School Board chair Laura Downs.
The other presenter from Falls Church was Nicholas Benton, owner of the Falls Church News-Press which was also recognized for being among the regional entities that published Cappies reviews over the course of the school year.
In what has become an annual tradition, U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly of Fairfax County, who described himself as a “fellow thespian” with performing parts in a range of local community stage productions, presented the Best Play award to culminate the show.
Other Meridian students nominated for awards at the event included Wenndy Sejas for Sound, Colleen Carpenter and Bella Villano for Stage Management, Liv Scappa for Supporting Actor in a Play in a Female Role, Phi Oeschger for Lead Actor in a Play in a Female Role and Drew Miller for Lead Actor in a Play in a Male Role.
Area high schools near Falls Church also fared very well in nominations and winners, especially McLean High School, which had winners in the categories of Marketing and Publicity, Hair and Make-Up and Best Play (“Airness,” High School Edition), and Langley High School that had winners for Stage Crew and Male Vocalist (Conor Farah).
The award for Musical of the Year went to South Lakes High for its production of “Crazy for You” that included the winning best song, “I’ve Got Rhythm.”
Cappies is described as “a unique collaborative program for journalism and theater students.” Trained student critics review Cappies-designated high school shows throughout the year.
The best written reviews are published in the local press. At the end of the season, the student critics vote for who of their peers should be recognized for awards.
The Cappies critics are ambassadors for high school theater and spread the word about the value and fun of participating in theater. A taped version of Monday night’s three-hour ceremony will be aired this Friday at 7 p.m. on Fairfax County’s Cable Channel 21 and on the Fairfax County Schools website, fcps.tv/edu, at the same time. It will then be posted to the county schools’ YouTube channel where it will be accessible all summer.