WTOP Top Kid premiers her first musical at Capital Fringe Festival

A high school junior (and WTOP Top Kid emeritus) is taking her talent to the big stage this week with the premier of her play, “Static: Noise of a New Musical” at the Capital Fringe Festival.

“This is the first musical I’ve worked on and it’s also really exciting because it’s the world premiere,” said Tess Rowan from Great Falls, Virginia, who wrote, directed and performs in the play.

The story is about a young girl and her friends who set out to find her father, who has gotten lost along the Appalachian trail.

The play features 27 original songs written by Rowan, including six “Morse Code Clues” to engage the audience.



“I’ve been working with seven actors, including myself,” said Rowan.

The cast of “Static” in rehearsal. (Courtesy Tess Rowan)

As a former WTOP Top Kid recipient at the age of 15, Rowan used the $500 award to help pay the cast and support the cost of bringing a play to the big stage. “I’m so thankful for that,” she said.

She also used Indiegogo and other crowdfunding venues to support the production.

Rowan with members of the “Static” cast. She’s the one with the guitar. (Courtesy Tess Rowan)

Rowan’s passion for theater is nothing new.

“I started theater when I was 5. And my parents have always encouraged me to be a part of the arts. I found so many friends through theater, and it’s just always been a great part of my life,” Rowan told WTOP in 2020.

Rowan says she has big plans ahead once the festival is over. “I hope to continue working on the show with future productions. I really want to take it as far as it can get,” she added.

“Static: Noise of a New Musical.”

The play premiered at Fringe this past Friday, but you can still check out “Static” this coming Friday at 6:15 p.m., and Sunday at 4:15 p.m., at the Fringe Festival’s stage at 3 Stars (formerly the DSW store) in Georgetown.

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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