Meridian High School recently received nine Cappie nominations for their production of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). [Revised].” Nominations include Best Play, Best Ensemble in a Play, Best Male Role in a Play, Best Female Role in a Play, and more.

According to their website, the Cappies are “a writing and awards program that trains high school drama and journalism students to become accomplished writers, critical thinkers, and leaders.”

Meridian is a member of the National Capital Area Cappies. Each participating school chooses a show to participate in, where they have discussions about the performance before, during and after the show, and write reviews based on both technical and performance aspects of the production. The best written reviews are then sent to local news outlets as well as the school that hosted the performance.

“My favorite part of my experience with Cappies was participating in the post-show discussions with other Cappies critics from across Northern Virginia,” said Erin Tarpgaard, junior at MHS and senior critic on the Meridian Cappies team. “These discussions allow me to meet and learn from writers, actors and techies from many other high schools. Cappies is a very positive environment that’s full of high schoolers who recognize the hard work of other high schoolers, and I’ve loved being the primary critic for the Cappies team at Meridian.”

This is the first time since 2019 that the gala will be held in person. There were no nominations for 2020 as the pandemic hit mid-season and not every school had the opportunity to perform their spring plays. In 2021, the Cappies hosted a virtual event, but MHS made the decision to opt out.

Their spring production was highly acclaimed by the critics in attendance.

“The Complete Works of William Shakespeare of Meridian High School (abridged) [Revised]’ was charming, hilarious and downright bizarre,” said Alayna Steele of West Springfield High School in her review. “For a show that tries to capture all of William Shakespeare’s plays in just over 90 minutes, this play was predictably chaotic in the most absorbing way. With a nonexistent fourth wall, the cast was able to interact with the audience in a hilarious and organic way, and it was all accomplished by a troupe of 30 actors performing a play for three.”

Gourmet Cooking Show Gorey Parodies Titus Andronicus in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised](Photo: Carol Sly/FCCPS).

“By the end of a packed 97 minutes, the audience was left with the kind of excitement that comes only from laughing for hours,” said Atticus Gregory of Heritage High School. “The Meridian High School’s modernized retelling of ‘The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [Revised]’ couldn’t have been funnier and is a must read for everyone.”

For full reviews by Steele and Gregory, visit

Since MHS received a Best Play nomination, they have the opportunity to perform a 3-minute segment of their play at the event and get back into the rehearsal process.

“The really exciting part is performing as part of the gala at the Kennedy Center, like we did with ‘Spamalot.’ I told the kids that at the time [performing at the Kennedy Center] is the real distinction and the fun part,” said Shawn Northrip, MHS film and drama teacher and director of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). [Revised].’ “It was a great experience. When I talk to these students now, they still describe it as one of the highlights of their lives.”

The Cappie Gala will be held on June 6th at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Concert Hall.

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