Local students are taking to the stage in a competition of high school theater’s best of the best—all for the chance to learn from Broadway professionals.
In just a few weeks, 20 students from around New Mexico will compete in the Enchantment Awards for the trip of a lifetime to New York City where they will learn and perform on Broadway. Past winners say the experience also paves the way for their future careers.
“It was really life-changing for me to be around a whole community of people that are as passionate about the arts as I am and to be immersed in an environment where I get, sort of, these fountains of knowledge,” said Trey Caperton, a 2018 Best Actor winner.
Through the Enchantment Awards at Popejoy Hall, two students are chosen each year to head to the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, or Jimmy Awards, in New York City. Past participants of the Jimmy Awards have gone on to Broadway, including 2018’s winner, Andrew Barth Feldman, now starring in Dear Evan Hansen.
“I actually met Andrew Lloyd Webber,” said Joliana Davidson, a 2018 Best Actress winner. “One thing that he said which has stuck with me since 2016 is, he said, ‘you don’t have to prove yourself to the stage. The stage is here to love you.'”
Davidson and Caperton have competed and won the Enchantment Awards multiple times. They say the opportunity to head to Broadway and learn from performers, producers, directors, casting directors and more will go beyond high school.
“It was a place where I could put every ounce of myself out on the stage and I could get feedback from people that know what they’re talking about,” said Caperton.
“Being a part of something like this where I was able to perform on Broadway really showed me that all levels of performance are something that I love,” said Davidson.
While they’re not competing this year, they’re now offering advice to those who are.
“I think it’s very important to realize the blessing that it is to be here,” said Caperton. “I see this as a community thing together, to have everyone together and sharing their talents is an incredible experience and opportunity.”
“You need to realize that you’re there for a reason and you are unique and you have strengths that other people don’t have or you have weaknesses that some people are stronger at, you know, vice versa, and you really need to just keep your head forward and just do you,” said Davidson.
Both Davidson and Caperton are now seniors and plan to pursue theatre and the arts in college. Davidson is heading to Arizona State and Caperton will attend Carnegie Mellon.
The 2019 round of students will compete at Popejoy for their chance to make it to Broadway on May 4. Tickets start at $25 for the general public.