Ensemble brings “Little Women” to big stage

Some students may remember reading the novel “Little Women” in high school. For some, its importance stopped there. For others, it is a story worth seeing on stage.

UNA Opera/Musical Theatre will present the musical version of “Little Women” in Norton Auditorium Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 19 at 2 p.m.

Based on author Louisa May Alcott’s acclaimed novel, the production chronicles four sisters, Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth, from childhood to adult life during the 1800’s.

Vanessa Borelly, communications and event coordinator for the department of music, said the musical is more family-oriented than some productions from the past.

“This kind of play (is one where) you can bring kids, and kids will enjoy it because it’s fun, and parents will enjoy it because they remember the story,” she said.

Director of Vocal Studies Tiffany Bostic-Brown is directing the production, which will also feature a live orchestra.

Besides a musical, the novel has also been adapted into multiple TV series, films, a play and an opera.

Sophomore Emily McDowell, who will play the lead role of Jo on the 19th, said the musical requires a different focus from the actors than its non-musical adaptations.

“Even though we do care about the physical and facial expression of the character, we also have to show it through our voice (through) the way we talk and the way we sing,” she said. “You still have that acting foundation, but you’re adding music to it.”

Borelly said Joe is the type of character younger women can look up to.

“Jo is really independent (and) really loyal to family, so she’s a wonderful character,” she said.

McDowell said she was unable to come to the original audition because of strep throat, so she sent in a video of her acting out lines.

“I was honored and excited and nervous (after getting cast),” she said. “I’m very excited for the show.”

Borelly said the story, which shows the four sisters’ mother managing the household while their father is off fighting in the American Civil War, is still relatable today.

“A lot of people have family members in the service, so they understand what it’s like to have a family member not be there and the rest of the family get closer together,” she said.

Terrance Brown, music department chair and UNA opera co-director, said the story is also relatable because of its family themes.

“Since we live in a region where family values are held highly, it really hits home for a lot of people,” he said.

Advanced tickets are available online at una.edu/music, or at the Lindsey Theatre box office.

For adults, advanced tickets are $12, while regulars are available at the door for $15. Student tickets are $5.

The Historic Zodiac Playhouse will host the play version of the show, presented by the Savannah Performing Arts Company, Nov. 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m., and Nov. 19 at 2 p.m.