Who Are They? 

Cappies critics are 9-12th grade students who attend designated high school plays and musicals in the MD, VA, and DC region, submit written reviews for publication, and vote for favorite performances. Many of the critics on the MHS Cappies Team have each attended and reviewed between 11 to 21 designated Cappies shows this season.

Critics receive points for submitting reviews, and extra points if reviews are selected for publication. Critics may not review shows at their home schools and therefore cannot vote for their own school entries. TheatreMcLean’s Cappies entry this year was “The Children’s Hour,” and 75 critics came to review our show. The year culminates with the Cappies Gala, held this year at the Kennedy Center on June 11.

Voting for this year’s Cappies Awards took place May 14. Each critic spends several hours completing the voting process, considering superlatives and rankings in categories such as acting, singing, dancing, lighting, set design, sound, stage management, publicity, hair and makeup, costume design, and more for every show they’ve personally seen. Results were collected and run through an algorithm that takes many variables into account. There is a separate category of awards for Cappies critics based on points earned individually and by the team as a whole.

Interested in becoming a Cappies Critic?

The MHS Cappies Team consists of nine students, including several graduating seniors. This fall, look for audition notices. Generally, prospective critics are asked to view a specific videotape of a musical or play, and to write a review in the Cappies format. Entries are numbered and reviewed on a ‘blind’ basis, and new critics are chosen for the team.

About The Cappies

The Cappies is a “Critics and Awards Program,” through which high school theatre and journalism students are trained as critics.  They attend shows at other schools, write reviews, and submit them to the Cappies organization to be considered for publication in local newspapers including The Washington Post.  At the end of the year, the student critics vote for awards in many categories (both technical and acting) much like the Tonys.  The awards are announced and presented at a formal Cappies Gala at the Kennedy Center at the end of the school year.

Our Winners  

The National Capital Area Cappies program currently consists of 58 public and private high schools from Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. Each participating school has a review team of up to nine students and a faculty mentor.  Participating schools are invited to submit a play or musical for review and awards evaluation.  McLean High School received the award for Best Cappies Critics Team in 2014 and 2015, and numerous individual Highlanders have been nominated as Cappies Critics.  McLean High also won the category of Best Musical in 2015 with Big Fish.

See for more information