Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel, Little Women, will come to life this Christmas season in a student-directed musical play.
Junior dramatic production major Meagan Ingersoll will direct Little Women, and nine performances of the play will be presented between Dec. 4 and Dec. 14 in Performance Hall.
Ingersoll began planning for Little Women last year. “I always knew I wanted to direct a musical,” Ingersoll said. “Mr. Ron Pyle, department head for theatre arts, offered me this play and I fell in love with it.”
After the long process of procuring the rights for the play, Ingersoll started more detailed work. “I didn’t actually have the script or actors when I started planning,” Ingersoll said. “I just had the songs. I would listen to them and take notes on what I thought the actors should be feeling during the song.”
While the rest of campus was getting adjusted to campus life again in September, Ingersoll was already holding tryouts for her play. “Fiddler on the Roof was the last musical that was done on campus, and that play had from August to February to practice,” Ingersoll said. “I only have from September to December, and I was really nervous looking at my planner in August — so much to do, so little time! But the cast came together quickly and the play has some great talent.”
The play includes at least 26 songs that will be played by a full orchestra, featuring some of the best musicians on campus, according to Ingersoll. The orchestra will be under the direction of Harrison Beckmann, a theatre arts graduate assistant, and accompanied by Daniel Hoffman, a senior piano pedagogy major.
Little Women is about the March family, four girls and their mother, who live in Concord, Mass., during the Civil War. There are four sisters; Meg, played by senior creative writing major Emma Galloway, decides to get married as soon as she is able and start a family. Jo, played by sophomore orchestral instrument performance major Sara Beam, decides to pursue her dream of becoming a published author. Beth, played by senior orchestral instrument performance major Abby Chetta, dies during the play, leaving a gaping hole in each sister’s heart. Amy, played by junior music education major Elisa Chodan, becomes an artist in Europe and eventually marries Laurie, a close family friend. “I think the point [that] Louisa May Alcott was trying to make in the book is that there is not one way to live your life,” Ingersoll said. “Each girl chose a different path, and no path was wrong, just different.”
The cast of Little Women has been rehearsing about three to four times a week all semester. According to Ingersoll, the cast has spent 180 hours in rehearsals. Ingersoll works an additional hour and a half in addition to each rehearsal.
“The greatest lesson I have learned from this play is that I can’t do it alone,” Ingersoll said. “God has told me that His strength is sufficient for me, and I have really had to lean on Him this semester. I also can’t do it without other people. This play is such a group effort, and I am thankful for all of the people God has given me to work with.”
Tickets for each Little Women performance are $12 and go on sale Nov. 23 at 8 a.m. online via Programs & Productions.