Sunday night, high school students from across the Philadelphia area put on gowns and tuxedos, walked a red carpet, and sang and danced the night away. No, it wasn't prom night—it was the Cappies Awards Gala, an awards ceremony celebrating the best of the Philadelphia region's high school theater productions.
Representatives from 34 area high schools, including Harriton High School, attended the awards ceremony—designed to be like the Tony Awards for high school students—at The Upper Darby Performing Arts Center on Sunday night.
The Upper Darby Performing Arts Center hosts the annual Cappies Gala for Theater Awards each year. With 34 area high schools participating in the Greater Philadelphia chapter of the Cappies program, it's the second largest of 18 Cappies programs across the United States and Canada.
This year, Harriton High School won for special effects and male vocalist for Jesus Christ Superstar. (Lower Merion High School did not participate in the Cappies program this year.)
How Winners Are Chosen
The award winners are chosen entirely by student critics.
Students interested in careers in journalism, theater and communications can participate in the program. The student critics are known as “Cappies” and write reviews of high school plays in their area throughout the school year.
Students critics are generally required to review five plays during the school year, are given deadlines like real critics, and have a chance to have their reviews selected for publication in The Philadelphia Inquirer and other local newspapers.
At the end of the school year, the student critics then vote for the award winners in more than 40 different categories including best actor, play, musical, set design, choreography, and more. Student nominees walk a red carpet, enter the gala in tuxedos and ball gowns, and await the list of winners.
At last night's Gala, Greater Philadelphia Cappies Program director, Matthew Cloran welcomed the excited students and their families at the sold out event.
Harry Dietzler, Executive Director of the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center and co-host of the Gala also welcomed the group but had a serious message for the audience.
Dietzler said, “As you may know, Upper Darby Township is currently in a battle to save the arts in our school district. So as we celebrate the arts in our schools here tonight, remember to protect the arts in your school district too. You don’t want your [school] district to be next.”
Last month, the Upper Darby school district announced its "Academic Realignment" plan, which threatens to severely cut arts programs in elementary schools in the district. Parents in the Upper Darby school district are fighting vehemently against the cuts.
The audience stood and cheered in support of such art programs that led many of their kids to the award ceremony.
- Marketing and Publicity: Steven Burke, Evan Rieger, Upper Merion Area High School, Our Town
- Sound: Ahmad Attia, Carly Brooke, Adrian Franken, Sanjana Venkat, Plymouth Whitemarsh High School, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
- Lighting: Cole Gamber, Upper Darby High School, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
- Sets: Frank Gauthier, Aleign Dolph, Shanna Ludke, Ian Starner, Conestoga High School, Titanic
- Costumes: Kaitlin Garvey, Haverford High School, The Wiz
- Make-up: Julia Barr, Friends' Central School, Macbeth
- Props: Jenae Cox, Mo Morrison, Upper Dublin High School, Chicago
- Special Effects and or Technology: Asa Lipton, Harriton High School, Jesus Christ Superstar
- Stage Crew: Samantha Brumbaugh, Emma Reichard, Megan Haltmeier. Megan Stein, Bordentown Regional High School, Legally Blonde
- Orchestra: Stoga Pit Orchestra, Conestoga, Titanic
- Choreography: Toney Goins, The Haverford School, Hairspray
- Creativity: Alex Woods, Musical Director/Piano Player, Abington Friends School, A Murder, A Mystery & A Marriage
- Ensemble in a Play: The Witches, Friends' Central School, Macbeth
- Ensemble in a Musical: Dirty Rotten Scoundels (Lawrence & Freddy), Cheltenham High School, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
- Featured Actress in a Play: Bridget Elise Yingling, Springfield High School (Delco), Journey to the Day
- Featured Actor in a Play: David Biddle, Unionville High School, Running in the Red
- Featured Actress in a Musical: Dazja David, Upper Dublin High School, Chicago
- Featured Actor in a Musical: Brandon Hudik, Bordentown Regional High School, Legally Blonde
- Dancer: Sam Pottash, Germantown Academy, Urinetown
- Dance Ensemble: Video People, Bordentown Regional High School, Legally Blonde
- Female Vocalist: Alex Morra, Delaware County Christian, A Christmas Carol
- Male Vocalist: Jake Ohlbaum, Harriton High School, Jesus Christ Superstar
- Comic Actress in a Play: Meg Boeni, Unionville High School, Running in the Red
- Comic Actor in a Play: Kevin Robinson, Interboro High School, Father of the Bride
- Comic Actress in a Musical: Sophie Hearn, Germantown Academy, Urinetown
- Comic Actor in a Musical: Colin Camp, Cheltenham High School, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
- Supporting Actress in a Play: Melissa Reinbold, Upper Merion Area High School, Our Town
- Supporting Actor in a Play: Michael Eichert, Episcopal Academy, 12 Angry Jurors
- Supporting Actress in a Musical: Suzanne Rainear, Souderton Area High School, West Side Story
- Supporting Actor in a Musical: Sam Silbiger, Plymouth Whitemarsh High School, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
- Lead Actress in a Play: Natalie Oppenheimer, Barrack Hebrew Academy, A Shayna Maidel
- Lead Actor in a Play: Konrad Heppler, Phoenixville Area HS, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
- Lead Actress in a Musical: Arden Walker, Bordentown Regional High School, Legally Blonde
- Lead Actor in a Musical: Noah Newton, West Chester East High School, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
- Song: Brotherhood of Man, Plymouth Whitemarsh High School, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
- Play:Running in the Red, Unionville High School
- Musical: Legally Blonde, Bordentown Regional High School
Check out the gallery above for photos from the 2012 Cappies Awards Gala.