Little Women by Delaware County Christian School in Newtown Square, PA
March 14, 2018
Review submitted by Anna Sherman of Cardinal O’Hara High School
“I too would like to change the world.” This is what the thespians of Delaware County Christian School set out to achieve in their exceptional production of Little Women.
Little Women is a musical created by Allan Knee, based on the timeless 1869 novel by Louisa May Alcott. It follows the lives of the inseparable March sisters in their journey from childhood to womanhood in Civil War times. Through the course of the show, the sisters experience personal discovery, loss, and love, and discover the only thing that is forever are the memories they hold in their hearts.
Delaware County Christian School’s production of Little Women was heartwarming and powerful, featuring raw vocal talent and captivating choreography. Although diction and projection lacked at times, the cast was able to recover and regain momentum.
The plot revolves around strong-minded tomboy Jo March (Lauren Hackett) attempting to break into the male-dominated writing industry with her daring blood-and-guts stories. Hackett embodied her character’s personality with ease as she won over the audience with “The Fire Within Me.” Her dynamic stage presence was a pleasure to watch. Chemistry between Hackett and love interest Cole Serfass (Professor Bhaer) was pleasingly natural in duet “Small Umbrella In The Rain”.
Notably, Jordan Thompson (Marmee March) moved the audience to tears with her breathtaking vocals and raw emotion in “Here Alone” and “Days of Plenty.” Thompson’s maternal aura was captivating, and her deliverance of lines was impeccable. The other March sisters each shone in their own ways. Beth, Amy, and Meg March, played by Lilly Fischer, Johanna FitzGerald, and Hannah Oh respectively, exhibited a discernible sisterly connection every time they graced the stage.
Magnificent period costumes provided refined 18th century charm. Admirably, each of the four sisters had numerous dresses, which indicated the passing of time. The orchestra provided exquisite, professional-grade accompaniment. The DC Stage Crew executed flawlessly, with impressively expeditious scene changes. Unfortunately, they were oftentimes more visible than not due to their proximity to the orchestra.
So how do you change the world? Delaware County Christian School answered this through their depiction of female empowerment, reminding the audience that nothing is more powerful than the finding of your voice, and nothing is everlasting as sisterly love.
Review submitted by Evan Braasch of Bordentown Regional High School
Let Delaware County Christian School take you back to the American Civil War, a time when girls were busy dancing at the ball and fanning themselves in armchairs, wondering who they would marry. This was the life of every girl, in every household (or so it would seem). Enter Jo, the “unique” one. A hopeful famed author of violence and seduction, she, her mother, and her three sisters must make ends meet while their father is away at war. Little Women tells a story of female strength and companionship, reminding us that any dream can become a reality if we are willing to persevere.
Leading the production, of course, was Lauren Hackett as the unstoppable Jo March. Hackett demonstrated much experience as both a singer and an actress, delivering all of her lines in a brash, yet beautiful, fashion. Her three sisters, Amy, Meg, and Beth, played by Johanna Fitzgerald, Hannah Oh, and Lilly Fischer (respectively), each had their own charming personality. Amy, the baby of the family, was subject to temper tantrums but also moments of childlike innocence. Meg, the eldest, was most interested in romance and starting a family. Finally Beth whose piano talents and shy, yet ever-so-sweet singing voice warmed everyone’s heart in her lullaby, “Off to Massachusetts”.
The sisters were by no means the only stars, however. Jordan Thompson, who played Mother March, or “Marmee”, showed us in her songs exactly what a show-stopping performance looks like. In “Here Alone” and “Days of Plenty”, her subtle, soulful dynamic shifts and vibrato were enough to bring some audience members to tears. Equally as impressive (but perhaps in a different way) was Abigail Simbri, who played the civilized model of femininity Aunt March. Her pontifical yet polished remarks offered a hilariously entertaining foil between her and the outspoken, mannerless Jo. Little Women is a very tough show to tackle vocally, and Jake Halladay and Cole Serfass, who played Laurie and Professor Bhaer, made a valiant effort when hitting the high notes.
Usually this show is performed without an ensemble, but given the fact that this specific production was by a high school, the director chose to include one. While unexpected, the ensemble greatly enhanced the visual experience by portraying characters in Jo’s imagination and in her stories.
Last, but not at all least, was the tech. This crew created multiple rooms and buildings with a very close attention to detail, using glass windows, rafters, and even trees on a backdrop which could only be seen at the very top of the set. On top of this, they managed to switch between them so efficiently that they actually had extra time, as the orchestra continued to play a couple more measures before the lights went up. Finally, blue and amber light choices allowed for seamless transitions into winter and summer scenes, while a center spot highlighted particularly emotional moments.
Despite what the title of Delaware County Christian School’s production may have suggested, there was nothing “little” about it!