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CIS Instructions for Critic Role

These are the C.I.S. instructions for Critics. As Admin, you need to know how to use Critic C.I.S. pages.

By logging in to C.I.S., you can:

  • view your schedule
  • update your personal database (email, phone number)
  • volunteer for a show
  • decline an assigned show, or un-volunteer a volunteered show
  • find addresses and maps for Cappies shows
  • submit a review
  • view reviews submitted by all Critics from your school

And, through C.I.S., program officials can email you with information about upcoming shows and other Cappies news.
At the end of the year, if your Cappies program has awards, and if you qualify as an awards voter by submitting at least the required minimum number of reviews, you will use C.I.S. to vote. Before you do, and again when you do, you will receive instructions for that.


When your name is submitted as part of your school's online Cappies application (or, if you are added to the roster later, when your name is submitted), an email will automatically be sent to you, advising you of your username and temporary password. You must follow the instructions in the email to get a new password. You must respond to this email, or you will not be added to the roster of Cappies critics. As soon as you do, your personal pages will be activated on C.I.S.

Every Cappie Critic must receive emails from C.I.S. As Lead Critic, you are responsible for making sure they do. Early in the year, check to make sure they do.
Most C.I.S. emails are sent out in batches, through a system that computers will not divert into "spam" bins. However, if anyone has installed a powerful spam blocker on your computer, it is possible that C.I.S. emails may be blocked. If so, you (or someone else at your computer) will need to disable the spam blocker for C.I.S. email. The best way is to inform your spam program that you wish to receive any email with a "" address. If you don't know how, your Lead Critic may be able to help you.



How to Log In

You can log in to C.I.S. via a number of links on You can do this from the home page (C.I.S. box, or upper right hand corner), or from the home page of each Cappies program.
When you get to the log-in page, it will ask for your username, your password, and your region. Type your username and password. The first time you type in your password, you may be asked if you want your computer to remember it—and, if so, click "yes" to save time later.
Then click the "v" next to "Select Region", scroll to the three-letter code of your Cappies program, and click that. As a Critic, you should know this code, but if you do not, send an email to, stating your school and home town, and you will be sent the code, but not immediately (or ask your Lead Critic).
Then click "Click to Log in."
Once you have logged in, use the navigation links at the top or bottom of each page. You can also hit your usual browser "back" button.

How to Learn Your Username

Your username will not change. It is ten characters long, or shorter if you have a last name of less than seven letters. It is:

  • your school's two-letter Cappies code
  • a dash
  • the first letter of your first name
  • the first seven letters of your last name, without apostrophes or dashes

(Smith is smith, Johnston is johnsto, O'Hara is ohara, king-lee is kinglee)
Example: A Critic named John Washington, from North Town High School (school code: NT), has a username of: nt-jwashing
If you do not know your school's two-letter Cappies code, please send an email to, stating your school and home town, and you will be sent the code, but not immediately (or call up another Critic who might know).

How to Learn Your Password

Your password is a unique eight-character alphanumeric code. You will be emailed an initial password as soon as your school submits its online Cappies application (or as soon as you are added to the roster of Critics. It will look something like: nx4t6m7b
If you do not receive an emailed password, your email address is probably incorrect in the database, and you will need to send your correct email address to, being sure to include your name, school name, and name of your Cappies program. You will be sent a password, but perhaps not immediately. When you receive your password, you might want to change it to something you can more easily remember.

How to Change Your Password

Step One: Log in to C.I.S.
Step Two:Click on "Change Your Password."
Step Three:Type in your current password in the first text box.
Step Four:Type in your desired new password in the second text box.
Step Five:Re-type in your desired new password in the third text box
Step Six: Click "Change Password."
Your password must be eight letters or numbers, in any combination, including capital letters. C.I.S. will not allow you to choose common or easy-to-guess passwords (such as "password"). If C.I.S. doesn't accept your new password, if will tell you. Try something else until C.I.S. tells you, that your password has been accepted. For tips on choosing a good password, click "these tips" on the "Change Your Password" page.
Store your username and password in your computer (or some other safe place). You will need them to submit reviews. Without them, you cannot log in to C.I.S.

What to Do if You Forget Your Username or Password

If you do not know your username or password, click on the "click here" next to the line "If you have forgotten your username or password". On the next page, type your email address, and click "submit." If the email address you submit matches your email address in the C.I.S. database, your username and password will be automatically sent to that email address.
If you do not receive this information immediately, your email address may be incorrect in the C.I.S. database—perhaps because you changed your email address and did not inform C.I.S. If this happens, send your correct email address to, being sure to include your name, school name, and name of your Cappies program. You will be sent a username and password, but perhaps not immediately.


For you to use C.I.S., and for program officials to reach you (or your family, in an emergency), the Cappies must have accurate information, including your home phone number and any cell phone number you may have. This is kept confidential, accessible only to program officials. You can find your personal C.I.S. database by logging in and clicking on " your personal information." On this page, you can see what name, school name, email address, and home phone C.I.S. has for you.
Your "View your personal information" page has a summary chart, showing your attendance and review-writing record. Here is the key to what the chart reveals:

  • Your team has been assigned to a show: gray
  • You have declined an assigned show: red
  • You have volunteered for a show: blue
  • You were present at a show, with a review pending: P
  • You were absent from an assigned (or volunteered) show: A
  • Your review has been received: R
  • Your review is late, and may still be received: L
  • Your review was not received within 72 hours after the review deadline,

and may no longer be submitted: N
As Lead Critic, you will be able to see the summary chart for every Critic from your school (including Regional Team members) on your own personal information page.
C.I.S. automatically accepts all reviews, regardless of content. If, afterwards, the Program Director determines that a review that you have submitted is unacceptable for any reason:

  • You will be notified.
  • Your Advisor and Lead Critic will be notified.
  • You will have three days to submit an acceptable review.


How to Change Your Personal Database

If there are any errors on your personal information page, or if your email or phone number ever changes, please enter the changes by returning to the "Main Menu" link at the top, clicking on "Correct Your Critic Information", and typing the necessary fixes, and clicking on the "request corrections" link. This will send a message to the webmaster, who will approve the change.
If that process does not work, for any reason, you can email the correction or update to, being sure to include your name, school name, and name of your Cappies program.


Once you log in, you will see the Main Menu. You will also see a set of links. When you click on any of the links, you will be directed to other C.I.S. pages. When on those pages, you can return to the Main Menu by clicking the "Main Menu" link at the top left, or the "Back to Main Menu" button at the bottom—or you can log out, by clicking that link. You can also return to the Main Menu (or any other prior page) by clicking on the "back" command on the toolbar of your web browser.

How to Find Schedules and Maps

To view your schedule, log in to C.I.S., or click on the "Main Menu" link at the top if you're already logged in. Then click on "View your schedule." This page will show you which the list of shows to which you are assigned or for which you have volunteered. It will also show, in gray, a list of shows you have already reviewed.
To find the schedule for all Cappies shows, click on the link "View a list of all xxx shows" (xxx is the three-letter code for your Cappies program). This will give you show names, schools, dates, and curtain times for all Cappies shows in your program.
To find the address for each school, click on the school's name.
To see a map showing the location of each school, go to the address box and click "find a map." Please note that Mapquest maps are sometimes inexact. If no map appears when you click the link, this means that Mapquest does not produce a map for that address—in which case, you should consult a local map or obtain directions in another way.

What If You Can't Attend an Assigned Show?

If you cannot attend a Cappies show, for any reason, you may decline through C.I.S., any time up to 48 hours before the show.
If, due to illness or personal emergency, you must decline later than 48 hours before the show, but before the show starts, you should decline through C.I.S.
If, due to illness, personal emergency, or transportation problems, you are unable to attend a Cappies Show and cannot decline through C.I.S. before the show's scheduled start time, you (or a family member) should email or phone the Program Director or Web Coordinator for your Cappies program.
If you are on the final Attendance List but do not attend a Cappies show, you will be marked as absent—and C.I.S. will automatically notify your Advisor that you were absent. If another Critic at your school is on the final Attendance List but does not attend a Cappies show, you and your Advisor will be notified.

How to Decline a Show

Step One:Log in to C.I.S.
Step Two: Click on "View Your Schedule of Assigned Shows."
Step Three: Click on the "decline" box next to the show for which you wish to decline.
Step Four: Click "Submit."
Under the rules, when you decline a show, you must volunteer for another show, if necessary for you to stay on schedule to submit the required minimum number of reviews.
If you are on a Regional Team, you may not decline more than two assigned shows.

How to "Un-Decline" a Show

Suppose your plans change, and you now can attend a show which you have declined.
Step One:Log in to C.I.S.
Step Two: Click on "View Your Schedule of Assigned Shows."
Step Three: Click on "Un-Declining Page."
Step Four: Click on the "un-decline" box next to the show which you now wish to attend. The "un-decline" section is at the bottom of the page.
Step Five: Click "Submit."

How to Volunteer for a Show

Step One:Log in to C.I.S.
Step Two: Click on "Volunteer for a non-assigned show."
Step Three: Click on the box next to the show for which you wish to volunteer.
Step Four: Click "submit."

How to "Un-Volunteer" for a Show

Suppose your plans change, and you now cannot attend a show for which you have volunteered.
Step One:Log in to C.I.S.
Step Two: Click on "View Your Schedule of Assigned Shows."
Step Three: Click on the "decline" box next to the show which you now cannot attend.
Step Four: Click "submit."

How You Will be Reminded of Assigned (or Volunteered) Shows

If your Critics Team is assigned to a Cappies show, and unless you have declined it through C.I.S.—or if you have volunteered for a Cappies show and not subsequently declined it—C.I.S. will send you automatic reminders about the show 14 days, 7 days, and 2 days before the show.
This attendance list can help you arrange carpools, because it will list (among other names) all Critics from your own school who are on the attendance list.
At least half of a school's Critics Team must attend and review each Cappies show to which it is assigned. If your team is assigned to a Cappies show, but does not have a sufficient number of Critics on the attendance list for that show, C.I.S. will alert you, and all Critics from your school (including any who may be on a Regional Team) 14 days before the show, with a request that your team should fix this. If not, C.I.S. will send out additional notices—to all Critics on your team and also to your Advisor—7 days, and again 2 days before the show.

What if You Don't Attend an Assigned (or Volunteered) Show?

If the Editor Mentor does not mark you as present at a show for which you are on the attendance list, your Advisor will be notified of your absence. To prevent this from happening, please check in with the Editor Mentor when you arrive at a Cappies show, and make sure the mentor marks you down as present.


When you attend a Cappies Show, as a Critic, you are required to submit a review. As Lead Critic, you are responsible for helping your Advisor make sure every Critic from your school submits reviews for every Cappies Show they attend.

How to Write a Review on C.I.S.

You can either write your review directly on the C.I.S. "Submit a Review" page (which is quicker), or you can write it on a word processor, such as Microsoft Word or something comparable, copy it, and paste it on C.I.S. (which is better).
If you write your review directly on C.I.S., you will not be able to utilize a spell-check or grammar-check, and you will not be able to save your work. (If power goes out, or if you log off, your work will be lost.) You can also then save your review on your computer hard-drive. When you paste your review, you cannot use your word-processing keystroke commands. You must either use your browser "copy," "cut," and "paste" commands or (better) just use your mouse—a right-click on a PC mouse, or a click on an Apple mouse. You can also use the "print" command to print a hard copy of a draft review, if you wish to edit it or keep a printed version.
To submit a review:
Step One:Log in to C.I.S.
Step Two: Click on "Submit a Review."
Step Three: Click on the show name for which you wish to submit a review.
Step Four: Write your review, or (if it's from a word processor) paste it, in the text box.
Step Five: Make sure you're following the rules:

  • Double-space between paragraphs
  • Do NOT indent any paragraphs
  • Check the spelling of all names and characters
  • Do not include your name or school in your review
  • Follow all rules of criticism

In Critics training, you are taught the rules on criticism. Here's a reminder:

  • Criticism will be within the range of fair comment, as determined by the Mentors.
  • No individual student may be explicitly criticized by name, or by character name.
  • Criticism will be stated constructively, not sarcastically or directorially, combined with praise where possible, and no longer than necessary to state its point.
  • No praise or criticism may be directed to any adult linked to the performing school, including administrator, teacher, parent, or affiliated theater professional, unless that person is the playwright, lyricist, or composer of the show performed.

If your review that does not comply with these rules, it is not likely to be selected for publication, and may be heavily edited before being forwarded to the performing school. If you flagrantly violate any rules, your review will not be accepted, and your Advisor will be notified.
Unless you are advised otherwise, your review should be not less than 300 words nor more than 400 words. Reviews that are too long will be accepted, but are unlikely to be selected for publication. Reviews that are too short are unlikely to be selected, and reviews of less than 200 words may not be accepted as a submitted review. The "Submit a review" page has a word count to help you stay within these limits.

How to Submit a Completed Review

Step One: On the "Submit a review" page, click "Preview Review."
Step Two:Re-read your review, to make sure it says what you want it to say, and (VERY IMPORTANT) all names are spelled correctly.
Step Three:If you wish to make any changes, click on "Edit Review," make your changes, and click again on "Preview Review."
Step Four: Check-off the checklist—to confirm that you have completed all tasks.
Step Five:Click "Submit Review."
Once you click "Submit Review," your review will be out of your hands. You cannot edit it again. C.I.S. will automatically forward it to the two Mentors, who will make selections for publication. The Mentors will see only your review, not your name or the name of your school. C.I.S. will automatically forward that information to the newspaper, if your review is selected, listing your name and school as they appear on your "View your personal information" page.
When you submit a review, you will immediately receive an automatic notification by email that your review has been received—marked as on time, or late.
Thereafter, you will be able to see a submitted review, by clicking on the "View your submitted reviews" link on the Main Menu, and clicking on the name of the reviewed show.
At any time after a Cappies Show, you will be able to check to see which Critics from your school have yet to submit a review.

How to Un-Submit a Completed Review

Suppose you discover, after you've submitted your review, that you've made a major error. For example, suppose you reviewed two shows over a weekend and submitted the wrong one for a particular show. If this (or something comparable) happens, please send an email to the Program Director and/or Web Coordinator, requesting that your review be deleted. When they do this—which may or may not be prior to the review deadline—you can submit the correct review, through the process described above.
This process is for major errors only, please—not for making one last edit.

How to View Submitted Reviews

Your submitted reviews are kept in C.I.S. To see them, log in to C.I.S., click on "View your submitted reviews", and then click on the show name of the review that you would like to read.

How to Find Out If Your Review Has Been Selected

After mentors select reviews for the media, and after those reviews are forwarded to the media, C.I.S. will send a message to all critics who attended that show, indicating whose reviews have been selected, and to which publications those reviews have been forwarded.

How Reviews Are Sent to Performing Schools

C.I.S. sends all reviews to the performing school, except for reviews that are (1) selected for major media that do substantial editing themselves, or are (2) determined, by Cappies officials, to have substantially violated the rules on criticism—in which case Cappies officials may notify only the Critic, or (in the most flagrant cases) also the Critic's Advisor.

What Are the Review Deadlines?

All reviews are due on the Sunday of the same week after a show. The deadlines for Critics' review submissions will be (in local time):

If the was show on…

the deadline is…

Friday evening (or before)

10 AM Sunday

Saturday afternoon

12 PM Sunday

Saturday evening

2 PM Sunday

Sunday afternoon of the same day

9 PM Sunday*

For any Cappies Show with a review deadline that would otherwise fall later than 3 hours prior to Awards Voting

3 hours prior to
Awards Voting

Mentors may extend the review deadline for a Sunday afternoon Cappies Show, but not beyond 10 PM of the same Sunday night.
Not less than 14 days prior to the Cappies Show, the Program Director may notify Critics of any early review deadline.

What Happens If You Submit a Review Late, or Not at All?

To confirm the review submission deadline for a show, go to the Main Menu, click on the "View Your Critic Information" link, and you'll find the deadline listed for each of show on your attendance list. The C.I.S. strictly enforces these deadlines.
If you submit your review just one second after the deadline, your review will be marked as late, and Mentors will be instructed not to select it for publication.
If, 24 hours after the review deadline, you have not submitted a review of a show in which the Editor Mentor marks you as having been in attendance, C.I.S. will email a reminder notice to you, your school's Lead Critic, and your Advisor.
If your review is not submitted within 72 hours after the deadline of a show you attended:

  • C.I.S. will automatically notify your Advisor and Lead Critic, informing them that you attended a show but failed to submit a review.
  • You will not be allowed to evaluate that show in the award voting.
  • Depending on the rules of your Cappies program, your school's theater program may be charged $15 for the price of your ticket and refreshments.

If this happens a second time, you will be removed from the roster.
However, if you did not submit a review because of illness or personal emergency, your Advisor can email the Program Director to request a three-day extension, but your Advisor must do so within seven days after the review deadline.

What to Do if You Cannot Access C.I.S.

If you have trouble reaching C.I.S., the most likely reason is that your own server has problems. Very infrequently, C.I.S. may be down when you are trying to log in, perhaps to submit a review. If this happens, it will probably be down very briefly. The current status of C.I.S., whether it is currently functioning or down for any reason, will be noted on the home page.

What to Do if C.I.S. Goes Down

C.I.S. goes down very rarely, but it can happen. If you think C.I.S. might be down, go to the website, Scroll halfway down the right side. See the whether it says "C.I.S. Status." If it says ONLINE, then you need to submit your review through C.I.S.
IF (AND ONLY IF) C.I.S. IS NOT ONLINE: submit your review by email, in a timely manner, to (where "YYY" is your three-letter program code). Please make sure you keep a digital copy, in your computer files, which you can submit on C.I.S. when you can access the internet. In such an unusual situation, the Webmaster will forward your review to the Mentors, and it will be considered for publication. Later, when C.I.S. is online again, you may be requested to resubmit your review on C.I.S.
Please do not submit a review outside C.I.S. purely as a matter of convenience. If you submit a review by email when C.I.S. is working, you will probably get an email later, possibly after the submission deadline, asking you to resubmit your review via C.I.S. This may result in Mentors not considering your review for publication.


Once the Cappies year is over, you will remain in the database for the year in which you were a mentor. Your information will remain confidential, accessible only to program officials, but you may receive additional emails about Cappies news items your Program Director considers of interest to mentors from the prior year. If you do not want to receive these emails after the program year is over, you can log in, go to your Main Menu, click on the "Correct your personal information" link, delete your email address, and click on the "request correction" link.


If you have any questions about C.I.S., or if you are following these procedures but still cannot log in, please send an email to You will get a response, but perhaps not immediately.

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