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Beyond the Page Theatre Company Earns Nine Cappie Nominations for Starlight Express

Jenny Wheaton May 2016 - The Wire

Last week, Beyond the Page Theatre Company won nine Cappie nominations for their spring musical, Starlight Express. The Cappies is a “critics and awards program” for high school theater departments, and at the end of the year the awards are presented at a formal gala. Since West Potomac’s theatre program is in the National Capital Area, the gala will be held at the Kennedy Center on June 12, 2016.


“The nominations came out a day early, so there was no time to really be nervous about whether we got one or not. When I found out I was so excited! It meant that I would be guaranteed to watch the cappies ceremony which is what I’m always most excited about. Winning is great but the best part truly is just being part of the whole process,” said senior Jordan McCray, costume designer.

Frankie Mananzan and Ella Moore Honored by the NSAL

Jenny Wheaton May 2016 - The Wire

Last week, two very talented juniors from West Potomac received recognition from The National Society of Arts and Letters, an awards program that recognizes the most promising junior-level talent from more than 30 Washington DC-area high schools. Frankie Mananzan was awarded the 2016 Award for Excellence in the arts, and Ella Moore won the 2016 Award Certificate of Merit Honor.  


Frankie Mananzan is an extraordinary actress and singer, performing in many shows including, Avenue Q, Peter Pan and Wendy, Spamalot, Little Shop of Horrors, 8 the Play, The Addams Family, Spelling Bee, American Idiot, The Outsiders, and most recently, Starlight Express.


Aline Dolinhi May 2016 - NCA Cappies

Can a scrappy, rusty steam engine outrace his high-powered rivals--and win the heart of the gleaming first-class carriage of his dreams? In their hypnotic, high-octane production of Starlight Express, West Potomac High School showed us that anything is possible as long as you can keep the "light at the end of the tunnel" in sight.

The rock musical, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Richard Stilgoe, debuted on London's West End in 1984 and has become one of its longest-running productions. Since then, it has also gained international fame thanks to several worldwide tours and its unique concept--the enchanting plot follows the story of a child's model train set that springs to life at night and its cutthroat competition to earn the title of "fastest engine in the world," made even more remarkable by the fact that all actors perform on roller skates.

Review: ‘Starlight Express’ at West Potomac High School

Madeline Marshall May 2016 - DC Metro Theatre Arts

You’d have to be “Crazy” not to go and find the ‘Light at the End of the Tunnel’ with the fastest show on earth: Starlight Express at the Beyond the Page Theatre Company of West Potomac High School!


With an energetic 80’s pop rock score by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Richard Stilgoe, and original choreography by Arlene Phillips, Starlight Express tells the tale of a little boy’s love of his toy trains and how they magically come to life to race each other to see who is the fastest engine in the world! The story follows a steam engine named Rusty who must compete against the diesel muscle power and surging new power of his rivals Greaseball and Electra to win both the race, and the heart of the beautiful first class coach Pearl. But what is the true draw of this lesser known Webber show? Why, the roller-skating of course! That’s right, every single one of the 31 student cast is on wheels for the entire show, making it a visual spectacle that must be seen by all.

West Potomac's 'Starlight Express': 'Whole Lotta Locomotion'

Morgan Parigard May 2016 - Greater Alexandria Patch

"Starlight Express, you must confess, are you real, yes or no?" sings Rusty as he looks up into the sky with hope and promise. Though Rusty was doubtful, the legend was definitely real in West Potomac High School's uproarious and spirited production of Starlight Express.

Starlight Express, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Richard Stilgoe, opened on the West End in 1984, running for 7,406 performances. It also had a Broadway run, which ran for only 761 performances. The roller-skating rock musical is beloved in many countries, including Germany, where it has been running continuously since 1988. The plot follows a boy who imagines the lives of his toy trains as they compete to be the "fastest engine in the world." Rusty, a young and inexperienced train, does not seem to have a chance to win the race, until he is motivated by the great Starlight Express. Thus, Rusty sets off to win the race, as well as the heart of Pearl, the "first-class" carriage.

CAPPIES: Students shine in roller-skating extravaganza

Emily Sweet May 2016 - Inside Nova

Rusty is the little steam train that could. If only he would stand up to the oil and electric trains and proudly say “steam,” he just might be able to win the race . . .  and Pearl’s whistle-loving heart.


“Starlight Express” at West Potomac High School was an evening of competition, romance and rejection – all on roller skates.


With lyrics by Richard Stilgoe and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, “Starlight Express” is a whimsical rock musical about a little boy’s trains that come to life and compete to find the world’s fastest train. Underdog Rusty must compete against Electra and Greaseball, receiving inspiration from his Poppa and from the mythic Starlight Express, and prove to Pearl that he does love her.

Arts Alive: Cappies Review of West Potomac's Starlight Express

Diana Witt May 2016 - FCPS

"Leaping Locomotives!" proclaims a little boy, as he narrates the speedy races of his train set. The fast and daring life of his trains comes to life inside his imagination. This imaginative fantasy turns to reality for the audience in West Potomac High School's whimsical and awe-inspiring production of Starlight Express.

Starlight Express is a 1984 rock musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Richard Stilgoe. It is one of the longest running West End musicals, although it finished its Broadway run after only 761 performances. Performed entirely on roller-skates, Starlight Express takes the audience into the imagination of a little boy and his train set. His trains race to earn the title of "Fastest engine in the world." Underdog, Rusty, is only a steam train, but he hopes to beat the powerful electric trains in the race. With motivation from the legendary and infamous Starlight Express, Rusty follows his dreams of victory and finds his love.

The Brightest High School Theatres in the Country

Chris Peterson  December 2016 - Onstage


Growing up, I was very lucky to go to a high school that valued performing arts. We performed multiple shows per year, enjoyed a plentiful curriculum and wonderful faculty who were true mentors for me and my classmates. 

With that said, if I had seen the Beyond the Page Theatre Company of West Potomac High School at that time, I might have forced my parents to move to Alexandria, VA. Because they have one of the best high school programs in the country. 


Since 2011, the program has enjoyed a ton of success and growth, largely in part because in 2011, Philip Lee Clark arrived. 


'American Idiot’ at Beyond the Page Theatre Company at West Potomac High School

Jack Posey  November 2015 - DC Metro Theatre Arts


The Beyond the Page Theatre Company at West Potomac High School rose to the daunting challenge of taking on Green Day’s American Idiot to great success, crafting a polished production that explored the rage and love of post-9/11, suburban American youth in an impactful way.

American Idiot opened on Broadway in 2010, with a book devised by Michael Mayer, the celebrated director of the production, and Green Day front man Billie Joe Armstrong. The show, focused more on expression rather than narrative, follows the divergent paths of suburbanites Johnny, Will, and Tunny and their struggles to find a place in society....

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Chris Abbott  August 2015 - Sardines Magazine


It's often said that every musical needs a nine o'clock number, that song that wakes up a jaded audience and lifts the whole show to a new level. Something of the same happened to me more than halfway through my week of reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee was a production from Beyond the Page Theatre Company, based at West Potomac High School and part of the impressive American High School Theatre Festival.

Standards are always impressive with this section of the festival as productions have to reach a high standard to be selected. This production, however, turned out to be quite simply stunning - the perfect choice of show for a US high school group who would totally understand the characters, and playing in a small venue, with mostly unamplified audiences and minimal props but total commitment.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

TV Bomb August 2015


West Potomac High School from Virginia, present their take on the popular one act musical comedy The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at this year’s Fringe and a more talented young cast you will be unlikely to find. Everyone of the thirty strong cast is superb and in character right from the off.

The story centres on the highly pressurised world of the American Spelling Beeand its eclectic contestants, odd parents and even odder organisers. Apart from being a solid hour of great entertainment, it touches on some of society’s deeper issues: same-sex parenting, depression and the relentless pressure from parents that can lead to young people rebelling against the system.

‘The Addams Family’ at West Potomac High School

Jessica Poole April 2015 - DC Metro Theatre Arts


West Potomac High School from Virginia, present their take on the popular one act musical comedy The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at this year’s Fringe and a more talented young cast you will be unlikely to find. Everyone of the thirty strong cast is superb and in character right from the off.

The story centres on the highly pressurised world of the American Spelling Beeand its eclectic contestants, odd parents and even odder organisers. Apart from being a solid hour of great entertainment, it touches on some of society’s deeper issues: same-sex parenting, depression and the relentless pressure from parents that can lead to young people rebelling against the system.

Plaintiffs from Proposition 8 case attend West Potomac High School's production of '8'

Noah Mutterperl  February 2015


On January 10, in Alexandria, Virginia, West Potomac High School’s Beyond the Page Theatre Company performed a staged reading of “8,” the play.   The now married plaintiffs of the Perry v. Schwarzenegger court case and protagonists of the play 8, Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, attended the performance of the show along with their son Spencer, who was in the courtroom during his parents’ trial in 2010.

'8' Get's High School Reading

Mariah Cooper  January 2015


Beyond the Page Theatre Company at West Potomac High School (6500 Quander Rd., Alexandria, Va.) presents “8,” a play about the historic Proposition 8 trial, Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m. The play chronicles both sides of the trial including highlights such as Proposition 8-supportive witness David Blankenhorn’s testimony. After the Saturday 7 p.m. performance there will be a talk-back with one of the plaintiffs, Kris Perry, and her son, Spencer.


All proceeds from the show will benefit West Potomac’s Gay Straight Alliance. Tickets are $5.

Little Shop of Horrors at West Potomac High School

Julia L. Exline  November 2014


Beyond The Page Theatre Company of West Potomac High School presents the audience favorite musical Little Shop of Horrors, with book and lyrics by Howard Ashman and music by Alan Menken. With a trophy case full to the brim on prominent display, the theatre community has come to expect a lot from this young troupe – and they do not disappoint. Solid direction and energetic choreography by Philip Lee Clark, paired with a talented cast, makes for a memorable night of entertainment.

Meet the Cast of West Potomac's "Little Shop of Horrors"

Alyssa Denton October 2014


This production of Little Shop of Horrors is 95% all green, recycled materials, even though our Plant wants to destroy the word, we want to save it; one tree at a time.


In addition to going green, West Potomac is collecting toothbrushes at the different performances for the many homeless shelters throughout the Northern Virginia area!

Nine Cappies for WHPS

School recieved most nominations in the region

Steve Hibbard June 2014


The 15th Annual Cappies Awards Gala for high school theater was held Sunday, June 8 at The Kennedy Center. Nine Cappies went to West Potomac High School for “Spamalot,” including the Best Musical award. The Best Play award went to Langley High School for “The Children’s Hour.” The Cappies’ show season extended from October 2013 to May 2014, and Cappies shows were attended, on average, by 45 student critics.


An Evening of Theatre Celebration at the

15th-Annual Cappies Gala

Charles Miller June 2014


While the Tony Awards were celebrating the nation’s top theater talent, the Washington capital area hosted its very own celebration of up-and-coming theater talent. The National Capital Area Cappies celebrated the 2013-2014 Season with its 15th an Awards Gala Sunday, June 8th in the Concert Hall of The John F Kennedy Center fro the Performing Arts, in Washington, DC. The audience’s enthusiasm, performers’ flashy costumes and the well orchestrated evening gave strong indication that home grown theater is alive and well in the metro area.


West Potomac High Earns 19 CappiesNominations for their

production of MONTY PYTHON'S SPAMalot

June 2014


Putting on a production that allows students to improve upon their singing, acting and design skills, “wows” audiences, and gets nominated for 19 National Capitol Area Cappie Awards is a feat that deserves attention. That is exactly what the team at West Potomac High School in Alexandria, Virginia did with their recent production of MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT. We are honored that they chose to use selections from our SPAMALOT backdrops collection to play a small role in their scenery and overall production.


West Potomac High: International Thespian Society Inductions

Greg Hambrick February 2014

On February 10th, West Potomac High School held their International Thespian Society inductions for Troupe #1899, which is now 58 members strong. Students were inducted as New Thespians, Honors Thespians, and National Honor Thespians. West Potomac HS Theatre Department's Beyond the Page, is thriving under the direction of its theatre arts teacher, Philip L. Clark.

‘Avenue Q School Edition’ at West Potomac High School  

Margaret O'Meara, Novmber 2013


Avenue Q School Edition, with music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, and book by Jeff Whitty, is currently playing on the stage at West Potomac High School. West Potomac’s Beyond the Page Theatre Company brings Lopez and Marx’s edgy, witty score to life with its effortless puppet movements and excellent execution of the songs from the popular Tony Award-winning Broadway musical. Directed and choreographed by Phillip Lee Clark, with musical direction by Cathy Manley, Avenue Q School Edition left me laughing along with the audience at the comical script, and humming along to the musical’s infectiously catchy songs.


Capital Fringe Review: ‘Urban Legends’

​JR Russ July 2013

Urban Legends, presented by the Beyond the Page Theatre Company of West Potomac High School, is a nice mix of original scenes and storytelling. Under the direction of Philip Lee Clark, this show kicks of with a narrator figure, almost a la Rocky Horror, asking the audience to reflect on some of the scary stories in their own life, either those that’ve been shared with them or which they’ve shared themselves. And that sets the context for the production, in terms of ultimately asking the audience to figure out where each story lies on the spectrum between fact and fiction.

Performances, tech, vocals, orchestra each set standard of excellence in West Potomac’s ‘Young Frankenstein’

Talia Brenner April 2013

With masterful physical humor, brilliant pacing, and excellent showmanship, students put a hilarious spin on a tragic tale in West Potomac High School’s production of Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein, the musical.
The Mel Brooks musical was based on his 1974 film of the same name, a parody of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the horror genre as a whole. First opening on Broadway in 2007, Young Frankenstein closed after a 14-month run. West Potomac’s production, advertised “for mature audiences only,” performed most of the bawdy humor from the Broadway version.

West Potomac High School

'Young Frankenstein the Musical'

Jamie Joeyen-Waldorf April 2013

Forget about the foxtrot! Have you heard of the Transylvania Mania? As the audience was whisked away into this latest dance craze, energy and humor filled the theatre in West Potomac High School’s production of Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein the Musical, where The Monster is only one of many things that came to life.

Cappies 'Young Frankenstein the Musical' at West Potomac

Katie Halverson April 2013

Mount Vernon — If you’re blue and you don’t know where to go to, go to West Potomac High School’s production of Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein the Musical.” The musical comedy is full of laughs about the classic horror story, from the mad scientist and his monster to a short visit from Dracula, too.

#The musical is based on Brooks and Gene Wilder’s 1974 film, similarly titled “Young Frankenstein.” The show opened on Broadway in late 2007 and closed after 484 performances, with a national tour beginning in September of 2009. The show opens with Transylvanian villagers celebrating the death of Doctor Victor von Frankenstein, but then worrying that they are still in danger due to his one living relative, grandson Frederick Frankenstein. Frederick is ashamed of his family name, but after being alerted that he must settle his grandfather’s estate, he heads to Transylvania, eventually falling into the footsteps of his ancestors among musical numbers and highly suggestive hilarity.

West Potomac's 'Young Frankenstein' Nominated

for 7 Cappies Awards

Raytevia Evans May 2013


The West Potomac High School production of "Young Frankenstein: The Musical" has received seven Cappies nominations, including Best Musical. The theatre department put on the performance earlier in the spring at the high school.


WPHS Wins Two Cappies
Bonnie Hobbs  June 2013

Mount Vernon — Area schools brought home a variety of awards from the 14th annual Cappies Gala, Sunday night, June 9, at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. West Potomac high School won two Cappies

Robinson Secondary captured the Best Musical honor for “Hairspray,” and Madison won the Best Play award for “Lend Me a Tenor.”

West Potomac’s awards were for Supporting Actor in a Musical and Lead Actor in a Musical for its production of “Young Frankenstein, the Musical.”

Uniquely updated 'monkey trial' sustains relevency to

modern times

Madelyn Paquette November 2011

The winds of change are blowing in Little Rock, Arkansas. It is 1968, and schoolteacher Bertram Cates is the first person to violate a law prohibiting the teaching of Darwin’s theory of evolution in schools. The case quickly becomes about more than Cates as the battle between legal titans Matthew Harrison Brady and Henry Drummond erupts into a firestorm of accusations and suspicion. The right to free thought is on trial, but in this town of religious zealots, will it receive the right verdict? West Potomac High School capably grappled with this question in their production of Inherit the Wind.

West Potomac Tunes Up for 'Fiddler'

April 2005

For the third time since the West Potomac High School's inception nearly two decades ago, the drama department, led by 'Kathie McCormally has elected to produce the 1964 musical "Fiddler on the Roof", written by Joseph Stein. The show stars senior Dustin Smith as Tevye, the old-fashioned dairyman who struggles to uphold the various traditions of his family in the changing world of the early 20th century. When Tevye's daughter Tzeitel (played by seniors Meredith Richard and Liz Jenkins) expresses desire to marry Motel (junior Ben McVety), a poor tailor, rather than Lazar Wolfe, the butcher (junior Pierce Allen), with whom her father has arranged a marriage, Tevye has to decide between conforming to tradition or making his daughter happy. Other lead roles include senior Kate Griffin as Golde, Tevye"s wife, and seniors Andrew Langan and Renzo Marches as Perchik, a student from Kiev. The show includes such famous musical numbers as "If I Were a Rich Man", "Sunrise, Sunset", and "Matchmaker."

Chasing Down 'Les Miserables'

April 2004

Upon deciding to do "Les Miserables" this spring, West Potomac students knew they had a ton of work ahead of them. Luckily for West Potomac, every student was up for the challenge. The cast list went up, crews were assigned, and coming soon to a theatre near you is wonderful performance of "Les Miserables."

#Teaming together for the fourth time, Kathie McCormally and Cathy Manley are the director and musical director, respectively. With over a 60-person cast, including five middle and elementary school kids, they have the difficult task of teaching songs and blocking the numerous group numbers. This musical is especially challenging because it is entirely sung. West Potomac gathered its dedicated students and stellar vocalists for the job.

From 'Miracle Worker' to 'Titantic'

April 2003

West Potomac High School enjoyed a full winter season, including the student-directed one-acts and the winter play, "The Miracle Worker." Both productions were well-performed and well-attended, thanks to the support of all the cast and crews of each show.

#For the Winter Night of One-Acts this year, there were nine shows and 11 directors. The student-directed one-acts gave the students the opportunity to pick the subject matter of their show and expand their horizons. This resulted in a hodgepodge of shows, assuring that there would be something for everyone. For example, if one were looking for a dramatic comedy, Bayly Unger's self-written and -directed "Leaving Early" would be a delight. Others may want a fun, silly piece like "The Funeral Parlor," directed by Ahmed Huidobro. For a surprise ending, "Surgeonless," written and directed by Corey Ahearn, or "Insiders," written and directed by Andrew Allen, would be memorable one-acts to watch. If romantic irony were sought, "Seven Menus," directed by Katie Carmichael, would be a breath of fresh air. For a good old-fashioned mix-up, the audience could enjoy "The Importance of Being Earnest," directed by Rebecca Lear and Corelyn Coates. Colorful comedic characters could be found in "Hard Candy," directed by Emily Lynn Vernon and Michael McGraw. For audience members that desired a sequel about a puppet just trying to find his place in the world, Kevin Czapiewski's self-written and -directed "Pinnochio for the Romantically Challenged" was the perfect show. If a comedy brimming with laughs were craved, "Wanda's Visit," directed by Jessie Surovell, would be an excellent one-act to see. Surovell's show received first place at the District One-Act Competition, and moved on to the Regional Competition, where it placed sixth.

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