|Photo by Nicole Leese|
But honestly. I've gone twice, and both times I've been absolutely blown away by the amount of talent these students have, how well they have done whilst undertaking the challenge of such a difficult show, and how absolutely perfect the casting was.
Watching the show you will realize that no one can play sweet, angelic Beth like Hunter Thomas can, no one has the spirit of Jo except Lisa Halfhill, Mackenzie Vance is perfectly suited for precocious and wide eyed Amy, Johanna Matthynssens plays romantic Meg perfectly, I was truly "delighted" whenever she came onstage, and Chelsee Johnson just gets Marmee. I don't think I can explain it beyond that. And I can't forget that Josie Buscko is the most perfect Aunt March I have ever seen....possibly ever. Watch for her fan thing. I've seen the show twice and both times I've actually thanked Josie for her awesome fan skills. And Reve Hill plays the ever dorky, but lovable Laurie perfectly. Probably because if you've met Reve in person you realize that he IS Laurie. Oh, and Darrel Joe is a perfect Professor Bhaer. He even adopted a believable accent (and sings with it!), which takes skill. The show is rounded out by an amazing ensemble who are MORE than just faces in the background, they are all a very real, very important part of the show that makes it even more fun to watch.
I could go on forever talking about how perfect the casting is, but there's more to it than that. These kids sing and act their butts off, and every time I see part of the show it's improved in some way. They get stronger and stronger the more they perform and tonight, as they close the show I can confidently predict this will be their strongest show yet.
Not only have the actors put a lot of hard work into the show, but the crew has pulled their weight, and its very obvious. The costumes (designed by Chelsee Johnson) are on point, perfectly suited for 19th century America, and the two story set (designed by Matthew Pearce) is absolutely beautiful. The scene changes are flawless and oh, did I mention that there is an orchestra for this production? Mr. Don Pearce directs the orchestra and not only does the orchestra (comprised of community members) sound amazing, but they are really attentive to the actors needs. Last night a mic change didn't happen on time (because that is a real problem when sharing mics. Trust me, I know) and instead of playing at full blast like they normally can the music was instantly softer when they realized Professor Bhaer was quieter than normal.
What's even more impressive is that for many of the actors, this is their first musical, and you can't even tell. Most notably, Lisa Halfhill, who heads up the cast as Jo March, and Darell Joe as Bhaer. If I remember correctly, Darell has at least done choir, but doing a musical is completely different. And of course, Gypsy the dog has a role in this production, and she hasn't done a musical either. But she's an amazing stage dog.
So if you're into musicals, if you're into Little Women, if you want to support a group of students that have worked hard to bring you this amazing show, then you should catch Little Women tonight at 6 pm at the Omak Performing Arts Center.
Little Women is an Omak High School Drama Club Production directed by Nicole Leese