Enchantment Awards 2019: Beauty & the Beast

RRHS Musical Earns Ten Enchantment Award Nominations; Wins for Best Direction
Posted on 05/04/2019

The Beauty & Beast cast takes a bow!Gael NatalRio Rancho High School drama teacher Gael Natal earned long-deserved recognition at Popejoy Hall's Enchantment Awards, the equivalent of the state competition for musical theater.

Ms. Natal was named Best Director for her work on this year's production, Beauty and the Beast.  Her acceptance speech was a whole one sentence long:  "I have the best kids!"

The Beast and Beauty dance in the show's most famous number

The production was also one of six nominated in the Best Production and Best Ensemble categories and earned nine individual acting nominations.  In the four-year history of the Enchantment Awards, Rio Rancho High has twice won the Best Production award, for Big Fish and All Shook Up.  Ms. Natal directed both productions.

Five of the 20 best acting nominations went to RRHS students performing in Beauty and the  Beast. During the awards gala, the best acting nominees each perform a solo number of their choice, as well as appearing in an ensemble number as the character they portrayed in the show.  The nominated actors and actresses from Beauty and the Beast are:

Hailey Allman, for her performance as the loving Mrs. Potts, the castle housekeeper, trapped in the form of a teapot, who serenades Beast and Belle with the iconic “Beauty and the Beast.”     Hailey Allman as Mrs. Potts
Chloe Montoya, as the feisty Belle, the independent, bookish woman who spurns local stud Gaston and comes to care for the Beast.   Chloe Montoya as Belle
Jackson Murrieta as Lumière, the suave, charming maître d’ who, in the form of a candlestick, invites Belle to “Be Our Guest”.  Jackson Murietta as Lumiere
Mary Rivera, who as Mrs. Potts in the opening night and matinee performances helps the Beast and Belle to fall in love to the strains of “Beauty and the Beast”  Mary Rivera as Mrs. Potts
Walker Sikkens, who, swathed in furs and prosthetics as the Beast, had the challenge of conveying the enchanted prince’s journey from angry, lonely, alienated monster into the kind and caring Beast who wins Belle’s heart.  It is Sikkens’ third consecutive best actor nomination; he also earned recognition as Chad, the Elvis clone in All Shook Up, and Edward Bloom, the story-telling dad in Big Fish.  Walker Sikkens as the Beast, with the rose

Johnathan Giese and Jonathan Salazar as LeFou; Christopher Tye and Jaden Musick as CogsworthBest Supporting Actor nominations went to Johnathan Giese and Jonathan Salazar, who alternated as the evil Gaston’s sidekick LeFou,and to Christopher Tye and Jaden Musick who alternated as the castle’s major-domo-turned-mantel-clock Cogsworth.  

Beauty and the Beast celebrates the classic fairy tale about a haughty prince condemned by an enchantress to live in the body of a beast for all eternity, unless he can win a woman’s heart before all the petals of an enchanted rose wither and die.  The Beast imprisons a traveling inventor who accidentally ventures into the castle grounds – but he doesn’t count on the determination of the inventor’s daughter, Belle, who comes to rescue her father and takes his place as a prisoner.  Slowly, the Beast and Belle come to understand and care for each other, helped along by the Beast’s servants who themselves have been enchanted into household objects.  Zach Parisi as Gaston, surrounded by swooning female admirersBut Belle also has another suitor, the arrogant, self-important Gaston (played by Zach Parisi in the photo at right), who is determined to do whatever it takes to win Belle, whether she likes it or not.