Every theater kid dreams of attending the Tony awards. Though this isn’t necessarily plausible, the Cappie Gala helps to achieve this goal in a way. This year, the CCHS Thespians participated in the event. Troupe 0784 took part in the National Cappies program with their production of “Into the Woods.”
The Cappies program was created in 1999 following the Columbine massacre in order to “bring more positive attention to teenagers engaged in creative pursuits.” Schools that participate in the program select one show, either a play or a musical, that they will perform for a group of student critics and two adult volunteers. The critics and volunteers then rank their overall performance based on specific categories such as those in the technological category (i.e. Sound, Lighting, Set, etc.) as well as those revolving around the performance of their actors and or vocalists.
CCHS also participates in the Cappies program through its group of student critics that attend various Broward County high school productions in order to commentate and vote on their eligibility for various categories. The lead critic within this group is sophomore and club President Rylee Berger.
“Cappies is significant to Troupe 0794 because it gives our shows exposure to the theater community outside of Cooper City,” Berger said. “It also allows us to grow in our knowledge of theater.”
The CCHS Thespians were eligible for several categories and received four nominations overall: Best Comedic Actor (Nate Jakovich), Best Comedic Actress (Joania Hernandez), Best Featured Actor (Reese Abrahamoff) and Orchestra (an award which celebrates the best student orchestra).
“Being a Cappie nominee was truly an honor as it gave me the opportunity to represent my school … in the theater community,” Abrahamoff said. “Despite not winning, I feel like I was really exposed to a new environment and learned the reality that not everyone can win and there’s always more opportunities in the future.”
“Cappies is significant to Troupe 0794 because it gives our shows exposure to the theater community outside of Cooper City.”
In this year’s production of “Into the Woods,” Abrahamoff portrayed a boy named Jack who climbed to the heavens on a beanstalk; Hernandez portrayed the witch who also doubles as the Mother Gothel in regards to the story of Rapunzel; and Jakovich portrayed Milky White, the cow “as white as milk” who would help reverse the curse.
The CCHS Thespians did not take any trophies home that evening, however, the nominees still felt that they had gained valuable experience.
According to President Rylee Berger, 2017-2018 has been one of the most successful years for the CCHS Thespians in regards to the Cappies organization.
The event itself was a celebration of theater within the area. The hosts were Troy Davidson, Tyler Grimes and Jennifer Laudia, all of whom are Cappie Alumni and individuals currently involved in some form of theatrical work. Davidson currently works as a clown doctor at Nicklaus Children’s hospital; Grimes has taught across Florida, Ohio and New York and is the current Managing Director of the Lovewell Institute. As for Laudia, she is the Upper School theater teacher at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) University School.
Each of the hosts, along with several other presenters, pushed the program along by introducing performances and presenting awards.
There were several performances from the nominees for best musical and best play. The nominees for best play were as follows:
- “The Importance of Being Earnest” – American Heritage School
- “The Importance of Being Earnest” – Cardinal Gibbons High School
- “The Clean House” – Coral Glades High School
- “The Farnsworth Invention” – Archbishop McCarthy High School
- “The Matchmaker” – Calvary Christian Academy
The school that won the Cappie in this category was American Heritage School with “The Importance of Being Earnest.”
“Being a Cappie nominee was truly an honor as it gave me the opportunity to represent my school … in the theater community.”
The nominees for Best Musical were as follows:
- “Nine to Five” – North Broward Preparatory School
- “Sweet Charity” – Boca Raton High School
- “Tuck Everlasting” – NSU University School
- “Rent” – Cypress Bay High School
- “Fiddler on the Roof” – Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
The school that won the Cappie in this category was Boca Raton High School with their production of “Sweet Charity.”
Amongst the cheers of delight and the jovial tone of the evening, program director, Lori Sessions, took a moment to mourn the lives lost from the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School.
“[I] never thought we’d have a tragedy [like the Columbine massacre] so close to home,” Sessions said.
She stated that the Cappie critics would be wearing “MSD strong” ribbons with Cappie pins to show their support. The principal of MSD also attended the event as one of the presenters.
“Theater is dead,” one of the presenters said. “They have said this for 2,500 years…what I tell them is, ‘Have you ever been to a Cappies Gala?’”
Disclaimer: The Lariat member Annabelle Rosa is a member of the CCHS Thespians.
Photo by The Lariat