During the 1999-2000 school year, the Weekly section will publish occasional reviews of high school theatrical performances in Northern Virginia, written by students from other schools under the guidance of professional mentors.

The reviews are part of the new High School Critics and Awards Program ("Cappies"), which aims to recognize the achievements of young performers, writers, directors, stage crew and critics. The program is co-sponsored by the Capitol Steps comedy troupe and the NVTA (formerly the Northern Virginia Theatre Alliance), a coalition of three dozen artistic production companies from throughout the metropolitan area.

Nearly two dozen high schools in Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria are participating in the program in this, its inaugural season; each school has designated one performance for critical review. In the spring, the program will hand out its first Cappies, the high school equivalent of a Tony award, to honor outstanding student talent in theater, dance and music. For more information, check out the Cappies Web site: www.cappies.com.

Our next printed reviews will appear Jan. 27 with an examination of Lee High School's performance of "MaKiddo," a parody of the Gilbert and Sullivan opera "The Mikado."

The Weekly also is publishing a list of upcoming school productions. Any area high school--not just those in the Cappies program--may submit a listing by e-mailing us at schoolplays@washpost.com.

Please include the name of the production, the school where it will be performed, the date or dates and a phone number for additional information.

CURTAIN CALLS

JAN. 21-22

* "MaKiddo," Lee High School, Springfield, 703-924-8430.

* "The Glass Menagerie," T.C. Williams, Alexandria, 703-824-6800.

JAN. 28-29

* "MaKiddo," Lee High School, Springfield, 703-924-8430.

JAN. 29 & 31

* "Jenny Saint Joan," Signature Theatre/Wakefield High School, Arlington, 703-820-9771.