Little Women by Arthur P. Schalick High School in Pittsgrove, NJ
March 7, 2018
Review submitted by Emma Bonner of The Agnes Irwin School
Bringing a Civil War period classic into 2018 and putting it on a high school stage would be a task that would seem daunting to many, but not AP Schalick High School. Little Women is a musical with book by Allan Knee, music by Jason Howland and lyrics by Mindi Dickstein, adapted from Louisa May Alcott’s 1869 novel.
The story is told through the eyes of the spunky and independent Jo March, played by Devon Duffy. Jo March’s character would be a difficult one for some, as she has a hefty singing role and has some of the most difficult acting moments of the story, but Devon Duffy rose to the occasion. Duffy brought her own take on the character while also fully becoming the rebellious female lead from the novel. Perfectly matching Jo’s energy and talent were the rest of the March sisters: Amy (Alexa St.Clair), Beth (Carina Cafiso) and Meg (Alexis Short). St.Clair proved her acting chops portraying the annoying youngest sister, while also being one of the most lovable on stage through her facial expressions, comedic timing, and her beautiful voice. During Amy’s stand out song, “The Most Amazing Thing”, the audience watches Amy change from an immature little sister to a more sophisticated (but still fun-loving!) adult. Cafiso and Short also proved their acting and singing prowess in emotional scenes and melodic songs that made the audience feel as if they were in 1869 Massachusetts.
One of the true standouts of the production was Melody Wozunk, playing Marmee, the mother of the March girls. Marmee’s ballads were a welcome contrast to the fun and uplifting songs throughout the rest of the show. From the moment she stepped on stage to the moment she made her final exit, it was difficult to remember that she was not a mother of four spunky girls, but a high school senior. Another remarkable actor was Nick Vastano, playing Professor Bhaer. Bhaer is a seemingly stuffy and uptight professor who goes through a major change, portrayed excellently by Vastano.
The show would not have been what it was without the fantastic set, wigs and costumes, and especially the lighting. The lighting perfectly set the mood for each and every scene, making sure every performer was shown in the way intended. There were quite a few microphone issues, as is expected in a show with many mics. Surprisingly, these issues did not deter from the performance or the story at all, as the actors persevered and made sure their story was told no matter what.
It is hard to pinpoint a specific scene or song that was more spectacular than the rest because, while the show does not have the usual big dance numbers or flashy costumes, it has something else. It was relatable, fun and the audience certainly did not want it to end. Christopher Columbus! what a great show, AP Schalick!
Review submitted by Vanessa Macias of Lindenwold High School
Who said a girl couldn’t do as she pleases? Not Jo March, that’s for sure! You’d be a sucker to miss out on AP Schalick High School’s production of Little Women. This emotional roller-coaster is one you’d be lucky to catch a ride on!
Jo March (Devon Duffy) is not your average girl. She prefers writing stories and wearing combat boots over being a “proper young lady” who wears very feminine gowns. As an aspiring writer in the mid-1800’s, Jo’s gory stories are repeatedly rejected, but this only motivates her even more to write something that would someday be published. The love Jo has for her sisters and her mother cannot be described, as it is too grand to put into words. As the story progresses, the audience is witness Jo being tested in unimaginable ways, all leading up to the prodigious and strong woman she becomes.
The production was absolutely remarkable. The energy of the cast could lift even the saddest of spirits! The playfulness of the characters created an environment that was truly full of joy. Overall, the show was a mixture of all kinds of emotions, a true roller-coaster. Clearly, the audience fell in love, as the cast received a loving standing ovation after their final scene.
Devon Duffy did a magnificent job as the lead actress. Her portrayal of Jo was spot on and she could have easily inspired the women in the theater to believe in themselves despite society’s standards. Devon has an amazing and extremely powerful voice that moved the crowd multiple times throughout the show. There is no doubt that Devon was a perfect fit for the role! Chris Cordery, the actor behind the dorky Laurie, also did a great job delivering his lines with true emotion and brought many smiles to the audience.
Melody Wozunk, who played Marmee, was sincerely a true asset to the production. Melody’s strong and outstanding voice stunned the audience, receiving a very loud applause after every performance. The March sisters, as a whole, were all amazing. They truly did show what it means to be sisters, arguing over everything yet still loving each other no matter what. Their sisterly bond was evident and honestly very moving.
A great feature of the production was the hair and makeup. If one of the characters was ill, the team did a perfect job making them look the part. Also, the costumes were impressive and set the time frame perfectly as well as the set. Although there were some problems with the mics, the cast pushed through this and projected their voices perfectly.
Little Women is in truth a very inspiring story and makes for the perfect musical. The determination of one young woman is one that could move us all and is simply too good to miss!