Moffat County invites community to ‘Be our guest’ at this week’s musical |

Moffat County invites community to ‘Be our guest’ at this week’s musical

Beauty and the Beast will showcase the talents of dozens of students on stage and behind the scenes

The Beast, left, portrayed by Alex Nichols, and Belle, portrayed by Megan Neton, perform a scene from Beauty and the Beast as part of the Moffat County High School dress rehearsal.
Andy Bockelman / From the Craig Press

For the first time in 18 months, the Moffat County High School auditorium will fill with music and singing from students, as the school performs MCHS’s musical, “Beauty and the Beast.”

For the cast and crew of approximately 40 students at Moffat County High School, this week’s performances represent hours upon hours of hard work being paid off.

Since September, the cast and crew have practiced four days a week for around two hours each day. For the first few weeks, they only worked on music before transitioning to learning blocking — or where they are supposed to stand on the stage — and finally practicing putting it all together.

If you go

Beauty and the Beast at Moffat County High School Auditorium will hold four showings.

Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

Friday, 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, 1:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m.

Admission is $8

One theme stuck out to almost all of the students involved in the production: family. After spending so much time together on a project they all feel passionately about, it would be hard not to feel a close connection to each other, some said. Cynae Montoya, who will play Madame the wardrobe this weekend, said that doing theater gives her a community of close friends and helps with her self-confidence.

“It’s just it gives me a way to escape, and it gives me another family,” Montoya said. “Everyone here is just so nice and really accepting. It’s great being able to come to a place like this and know that it’s okay to be myself.”

The actors in the show range from freshmen to seniors, lending a diverse mix of backgrounds to the cast. Belle will be played by sophomore Megan Neton, who was in “Wizard of Oz” two school years prior before being cast as the lead earlier this school year.

Beauty, center, portrayed by Megan Neton, is surrounded by fellow Moffat County High School students portraying the servants in the Beast's castle during dress rehearsal of a scene in Beauty and the Beast.
Andy Bockelman / For the Craig Press

“I really like theater just because I guess you’re accepted — no matter who you are. It’s a really fun environment. We were all singing in the dressing room. It’s just really fun,” Neton said. “When I was little, I really loved ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ Belle was my favorite Disney princess, which is why I auditioned.”

Neton’s counterpart for the show is senior Alex Nichols, who will play the beast.

“I had never acted in plays in high school before this. I guess I just wanted to do it before I was out of high school. It’s been really fun,” Nichols said. “It’s very unique, and it’s an experience that you don’t really get to do all the time — like everybody coming together, learning form and playing characters.”

The unsung heroes of the production are the stage crew and tech managers. From painting sets to managing light cues and sound effects, these students make sure that the show runs smoothly. Celeste Valenzuela, who works on the show’s sound, said that passing down skills over the years prepares future tech leaders for working on the fly and being dedicated to the show.

“There were those stressful moments where seniors would just throw us in to take over,” Valenzuela said. “Like, during the play, our hands would be all shaky because we wanted to get it right.”

Valenzuela added that tech crew members begin training as underclassmen in order to learn the ropes of the various equipment that keeps shows running. If something breaks, they fix it. If there’s an issue, they resolve it. All the while, actors are on stage keeping the audience entertained and none the wiser.

Austin Seewald, in red, portraying Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, rehearses with other Moffat County High School students ahead of the school's performance this week.
Andy Bockelman / For the Craig Press

“It’s a little nerve-wracking because we never know what can go wrong, since it’s all our technology. We just are always really stressed out,” she said. “We kind of just worry. We’re always whispering to each other in the booth. Like, ‘We have to time this right.’ It’s exciting for sure, though, when people see your work and everything we put into it.”

For stage crew — who move sets, help with quick changes and other duties — there is a sense of relief knowing that this weekend will be an end to the hard work leading up to the first night of performances. Kimber Eike, the stage manager for the production, oversees the rest of the crew and takes care of the little details that might not be noticeable to the audience.

“Most of the time, when we are running through it, I’m just watching everything that is supposed to happen, or I’m helping someone paint sets backstage,” Eike said. “I think it’s come together super well, and I’m really glad to see how much everyone’s loving it. It’s my first time as stage manager, so I’m excited for everyone to see it.”

Though they are excited to finally show the public their talents, it also means that those bond-building practices will end, and the memorable moments they all share will become memories of the past.

“It’s bittersweet,” said assistant director Amelia Seim, a senior. “For everything that we’ve been dealing with this year, everyone has been doing a really good job.”

More Like This, Tap A Topic

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Craig and Moffat County make the Craig Press’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.