Theater department delivers an excellent performance of Little Women: The Musical

Jessica Gunther, Associate Editor

   On May 20th, I saw Gresham High School’s production of Little Women, which was the first musical the theater program has put on in three years, since the COVID-19 pandemic. It was directed by theater coordinator Austin Joseph, band instructor Emily Bundy, and choir teacher Janine Kirstein. The show took eight weeks of hard work to put together and was excellent in its characters, set and costume design, as well script and musical numbers.

Performances began the night of the 19th, and continued until the 22nd. The musical was held in the new auditorium, which according to cast members, made the experience much more memorable. The original Broadway screenplay of this version of Little Women was written by Allen Knee, with the music by Jason Howland and the lyrics by Mindi Dickstein. 

   The show followed the story of the infamous March sisters: Meg, played by senior Kyra Cereghino, Amy, played by senior Maddy Haynes, Beth, played by senior Eveliina Anderson, and the “lead,” Jo played by senior Kyra McCloud. The story follows each sister’s journey to separately find their own success in life. 

   This was illustrated well by the actors, being that each sister was distinct as an individual. Each sister had her own expressive style of dress, her own gimmicks and movements onstage: the way she walked, her hand gestures, her facial expressions, etc, and even the way each sang spoke a lot about their character and separate identities. For example, Beth’s voice was a lot more soft and gentle, much like her character, while Jo’s voice was powerful, and echoed through the auditorium with ease. 

   Every character in the show seemed to have skill in singing and voice control, including the overall tone of their speaking voice. The cast members had to dedicate time into practicing expressions on stage, accents, crying on cue, staging, movement, and improving their skills in singing, some of whom had help from Ms Kirstein. All this work definitely paid off, because every voice was entrancing, and gave me a true feeling of each character. 

 I could tell that a lot of work went into the element of instrumental music, with the orchestra residing inside of a pit in front of the stage. They never seemed to miss a cue, and the instruments seemed perfectly in tune and a good volume. The compositions throughout the play were fitting to each scenario, and the orchestra helped bring their energy to life. 

   Another addition to the atmosphere of the show was the set designs, all of which illustrated their scenes well and had surprisingly smooth transitions, given that several effects used were large in size, like the pirate ship and the roof of Jo’s attic, and probably heavy to wheel or lower in. They all provided different “vibes” to set the scene and influence the audience further. The props involved were fitting as well, such as Jo’s book and Beth’s wheelchair and blanket. Another addition was the tech and lights, which gave more effect to each scene, and made each scene all the more memorable. 

   I’m glad that the tradition of the theater program’s annual spring musical is back in action, and I look forward to going next year as well. Yet again, another near flawless performance given by Gresham’s theater program.