The Walt Whitman High School production of Amadeus was named the best high school production of a play by the Critics and Awards Program (Cappies) honoring high school actors, stage technicians, singers, dancers, musicians, and theater critics. Two Whitman students received individual awards for their performances in Amadeus. The awards were presented on Sunday, June 13, at the National Capital Area Cappies Awards Gala at the Kennedy Center.
Senior Emma Rackstraw received the award for Best Female Vocalist. She sang the Queen of the Night aria in the production of Amadeus. Sammy Zeisel, also a graduating senior this year, received the award for Best Supporting Actor in a Play for his role as Mozart.
Other participating high schools in Montgomery County Public Schools were Albert Einstein (seven nominations for You Can’t Take It With You), Thomas S. Wootton (five nominations for Bye Bye Birdie) and Winston Churchill (five nominations for Chicago). Whitman received a total of 10 Cappie nominations.
Whitman is the first Maryland school to win Best Play in the 10 years the Cappie Awards program has been in existence. In 2008, the Whitman drama team won a Cappie award for Best Musical for the production of Aida. The director of the drama program at Whitman is Christopher Gerken.
More than 50 public and private high schools from the Washington metro region participated in the local competition, which was judged by a panel of student critics. As part of the competition, high school theater and journalism students are trained as critics, attend shows at other schools, write reviews, and publish those reviews in local newspapers. At the end of the year, the student critics vote for awards that are presented at the Cappies Gala. The program, which began locally, has expanded to cities across the nation.
Find out more about the Cappies.