Created in 1999 with the intent of fostering relationships within High School theatre, music, and journalism departments, the Cappies program, now a highly acclaimed and recognized organization, has expanded quickly to encompass fifteen Chapters, each with ten to sixty schools per chapter. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas chapter is part of the South Florida chapter (SFC).
The SFC mandates the size of each Cappies team. Last year it put a cap at six critics per team, but this year the size of the team was expanded to include nine members. Currently, the MSD team consists of one lead critic and eight regular critics, ranging from freshman to seniors. For the first time in MSD history, this year there are freshman included on the Cappies team. Cappies must apply for a position on the team. After being selected to be a Cappie, one must attend a training held at JP Taravella High School, where they receive critic binders that hold all the rules Cappies must follow in order to accurately critique a show
After each show the Cappies attend, they write a 400-500. If submitted on time to an editing mentor, the review is eligible to be published. The best five to seven reviews are published; the top two or three of these reviews are considered top published, therefore earning the critic a publish point. Published reviews can be found on the Florida Theatre On Stage website, where there is a link for the Cappies reviews is on the main page. Cappies are also given points for attending shows
Currently, the MSD Cappies team is in the middle of their season, which typically starts in October and ends the beginning of April. Most MSD Cappies have already seen at least nine shows this year, the first being North Broward Preparatory School’s “Pride and Prejudice.”
However, the Cappies program isn’t just about getting one’s review published, it’s also about the comradery and the friendships formed within one’s team.
“We’re already great friends and a tight knit group, but beyond going to shows together we also sometimes have ‘theme nights’ to keep things fun,” Lead Critic Kayla Goldfarb said. “Basically, we pick a theme like a specific color or style and we all dress that way for the particular show we’re seeing. “
As of the beginning of December, six of MSD’s nine critics have been published, amounting to eight times being published this year collectively. Three of these times the Cappies team has been top published, with two of the reviews coming from junior Taylor Fish.
“Our team has done really, really well this year,” Fish said. “I hope to have more of my reviews top published to further my team’s standing.”
Each point a team earns for being published goes towards winning Best Critic Team at the Cappies Gala in May. The Gala, an event deemed by many as the High School equivalent to the Tony awards, recognizes the best actors in plays reviewed by the Cappies, as well as the success of the Cappies teams. For the past five years, the MSD Cappies team has won Best Critic Team.
“I’m trying to go to every show I can,” senior Thomas Neira said. “I really want secure a sixth consecutive win for the MSD Cappies team.”