AHS Drama Company Attends Cappies
April 24, 2015
The Hippodrome in Baltimore will be flooded with high school theater and journalism students, including the cast and crew of Annapolis High School’s “A Christmas Carol,” all dressed in their best, ready to attend the high school equivalent of the Tony Awards.
The Cappies, or “Critics and Awards Program,” train high school theater and journalism students as critics, then send them to schools other than their own to critique productions and ultimately nominate shows, crews, and actors and actresses for different categories to win awards.
“I think the most fascinating and brilliant development I have seen in my drama company is the level of thinking that our critics and tech members have to do to be creative and innovative,” said Andrew Parr, one of the directors at Annapolis High School and member of the steering committee for the Cappies. “Our critics have the opportunity to see what other schools do and they question, ‘How did they do that? Can we do something similar? Was it effective or was it for show?’ ”
Annapolis High senior Madeline McArdle embodies the personal growth that makes Parr’s job so rewarding.
“I wanted to be a critic in my freshman year because I wanted to be a part of the drama company, but was nervous about being on stage,” said McArdle, 17. “This program definitely helped with my confidence.”
It surely did, as McArdle is nominated for both the Senior Critic category and for Supporting Actress for her role as the Ghost of Christmas Past in the school’s production of “A Christmas Carol” that had a Tim Burton-inspired twist.
“It’s incredible to be recognized for all the hard work that my team and I have done,” McArdle said. “For my role as the Ghost of Christmas Past, it was fun to mess around and portray a little differently, which I tried to do by creating an interesting back story.”
As a critic, McArdle was nominated for having multiple reviews of plays published in local newspapers, “leading the charge” for the critic team at Annapolis High as her co-star and fellow senior Brennan Kizer Ball said.
“Since you’re being nominated by students, which I think adds something different to performing and makes it really special,” said Kizer Ball, 17, who played the role of Scrooge. “I tried to bring something different to the character because the versions that I watched Scrooge stays grumpy, until the moment he thinks he’s going to die then he changes, but I wanted to bring a roller coaster of emotions to show that their was something behind his grumpiness.”
His interpretation of the classic character landed him a nomination for best Lead Actor.
“I tried to think about how I would feel in Scrooge’s place, like when he confronts a former fiancé, which in the movie and play versions he’s grumpy and forgets about her, but I tried to bring the heartache that she caused,” Kizer Ball said.
“I think I cried about 30 times on stage,” he laughs.
Laughs were also had over senior Tristan White, who is nominated for best Comic Actor for his take on the Ghost of Christmas Present.
“The Cappies are such a great opportunity for us to be able to see the talent at other schools and gave me, not so much an upper hand, but helped me understand how I needed to perform,” said White,17, who was also a member of the critic team. “It really helped my acting ability and fueled my competitive side.”
Being able to see other schools’ productions is something Parr finds to be a huge advantage of this program.
“I think you develop as an artist through experience and production. The critic program allows students to experience shows and writing to a deadline, which is useful for college and career readiness,” said Parr.
“Allowing students to handle the production of a show gives them an abundant amount of skills such as problem solving and management. It’s rewarding as both an English and theater teacher to see students develop as artists and professionals,” Parr said.
The Cappies Award Gala will take place at the Hippodrome in Baltimore on May 3 where students from 20 schools will perform a 3-minute excerpt from their shows.
Classical meets Jazz
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis, 333 Dubois Road, will host “Classical Meets Jazz in an Unexpected Way,” at 8 p.m. April 24.
The concert features pianist Brian Ganz playing a classical music piece while the Clazzical Project Trio blends the classical pieces with jazz renditions.
Some of the pieces that will be performed include Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata, first movement” followed by “Moonlight Samba” and Chopin’s “Nocturne in F minor, Op. 55, No. 1” followed by “Swing in F minor.”
Tickets are $15 at the door.
Jazz on the Plaza
The Jim Ballard Jazz Ensemble will perform jazz, rhythm and blues and other musical styles from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Hopkins Plaza at the Market House.
Jim Ballard, nephew of John Coltrane, will lead the music, while local artists, including Chris Haley, Donna Fischer and Don Lamb will perform.
“Givin’ It Up – A Broadway Jazz Musical,” a musical about love that defies color lines, is sponsoring the event.
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COURTESY OF KATHY MILIO As the Ghost of Christmas Future visits Scrooge, Brennan Kizer Ball, 17, the shadows rotate the stage to signify going forward or backward in time in the Annapolis High School production of “A Christmas Carol.”
COURTESY OF LEXI PLINE Seniors, Brennan Kizer Ball, 17, as Scrooge and Tristan White, 17, as the Ghost of Christmas Present, perform in Annapolis High School’s production of “A Christmas Carol.”