W.T. Woodson High School Little Women, the MusicalBy Cappies • Nov 8th, 2010 • Category: Cappies
Tragedy, triumph, and true love – W.T. Woodson High School’s Little Women, the Musical had it all in their lively, appealing take on Louisa May Alcott’s classic coming of age tale.
The novel “Little Women” was first published in 1869 and since then has enchanted readers around the world, inspired numerous film adaptations, and made its way to the Broadway stage. With an adapted book by Allan Knee and music and lyrics by Jason Howland and Mindi Dickstein respectively, the show ran for a total of 137 performances at the Virginia Theatre before closing on May 22, 2005. The musical chronicles the lives of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March, their mother Marmee, and the boy-next-door Laurie. Put everyone together and what ensues is a witty story of passion, friendship, love, and above all, sisterhood.
The charm of the performance was rooted in the fact that every actor took the time to develop his or her own character to make it shine. Whether a ballroom dancer, hag, or sister, dedication to the role and to the show as a whole was admirable.
Robin Chinn delivered a convincing, heartfelt portrayal as the story’s passionate and ambitious heroine Jo. Driven by impeccable vocals, Chinn believably matured with her character over the course of the show. As the girls’ quirky neighbor, Andreas Moffett’s performance as Laurie was both entertaining and authentic, especially in his breathless pursuit of Jo and courtship of Amy. Marmee, played by Kayla Slagter, had a maternal presence that was always felt and a phenomenal vocal range that she successfully utilized in her stirring solos.
A notable asset to the production was Ana Mendelson, who portrayed the sweet-tempered, meek, and sickly Beth. She perfectly characterized Beth’s journey throughout the show, and her heartbreaking death scene was wonderfully executed. Abetted by perfect comedic timing, Emily Adler provided laughs as the uptight Aunt March with her flawless and original interpretation of the character. Where music is concerned, some actors were a bit off-key and flat at times, however every singer possessed strong, graceful vocal ability.
The tech aspects of the show were immense and large-scale. A two-storied, complex set served as both the March home and a New York boarding house. Although they could have been a bit shorter, transitions were effectively carried out by the stage crew between the two settings. Costumes were appropriate for the time period, and the hair and make-up were well done, especially for the hags, trolls, and ballroom dancers. Sound defects often marred the actors’ dialogue and singing, but the use of sixteen wireless microphones was impressive for a high school production.
W.T. Woodson’s production of Little Women, the Musical was well executed with beautiful vocals and believable characters. Although there were only a few minor kinks, they did not detract from the show’s overall effect. The cast and crew proved that although the women may be little, their hearts and dedication are big.
by Emma Banchoff of Washington-Lee High School
Photos by Frank Kohn Photography.
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