Nori Little ’25 and Desiree Lang Win Best Actress and Director at Enchantment Awards


Becky Richards (L) and Courtesy of Desiree Lang (r)

Nori Little (L) in Chicago, and Desiree Lang with her husband.

Academy sophomore Nori Little ‘25 and performing arts faculty member Desiree Lang both won New Mexico High School Musical Theatre Awards at the end of April. Also known as the Enchantment Awards, the program recognizes the accomplishments of drama students and teachers across New Mexico. Ms. Lang won Best Direction for the Academy’s performance of “Chicago: Teen Edition,” and Little won Best Actress for her role in the production as protagonist Velma Kelly. She will go on to represent New Mexico alongside the winner of Best Actor at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, also known as the Jimmy Awards, where she and students from across the nation will rehearse for a week in New York with professional guidance before performing on Broadway.

I feel like on my trophy…I just want to put everybody’s name because I couldn’t do it by myself

— Desiree Lang

Lang teaches dance at Academy and has directed several musicals at school before “Chicago: Teen Edition.” She said that musical theater requires actors that can not only act but can also sing and dance, “so the director, likewise…has to have the ability to be able to direct them in all three sorts of genres.” The cast rehearsed almost every day after school for nine weeks, and even attended rehearsals on Saturday. When opening night came around, Lang was surprised by the audience’s enthusiasm and engagement throughout the show. After weeks of preparation, she had to stop looking for flaws to correct and simply appreciate the excited audience. Lang was honored and shocked when she won Best Director, but she emphasized that her cast deserved most of the credit, saying, “I feel like on my trophy…I just want to put everybody’s name because I couldn’t do it by myself.”

As for Academy’s other award recipient, Little receiving Best Actress is especially impressive because she is only a sophomore and many of the other nominees were seniors. Her win is not difficult to believe as audiences were captivated by her stage presence and beautiful singing and dancing during each night of the show. While she was rehearsing for “Chicago,” Nori was also playing on the girls varsity basketball team. Lang said she had so much respect for Nori being able to juggle so many responsibilities, and that “the amount of work that she put in was amazing.” She highlighted the discipline and hard work that playing such a major role requires from actors.

These awards provide Lang, Little, and the performing arts department with well deserved recognition of their professionalism and commitment to productions like “Chicago: Teen Edition” that can be enjoyed by our Academy community.