Kelly Gallagher ’22
The polar vortex had Massachusetts tight in its grasp on Jan 31, yet it could not discourage community members determined to attend the opening night of the Holy Cross Theatre Department’s production of “Little Women.” A cello warmed up in the pit as students and other theatre-goers filed into Fenwick Theatre. A collection of quilts stitched together comprised the curtain, which gave the room a cozy atmosphere. The theatre was filled with lively chatter until the lights dimmed and the musicians struck up their cheerful overture.
The stage bubbled with personality as the characters clashed and reconciled, dreamed and stumbled and achieved. Actresses Megan Siebecker, Cathryn Zachary, Sadie O’Conor, and Corinne Heffernan perfectly captured the individuality of March sisters Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, respectively.
The set and the costumes – especially the swishing hoop skirts – transported the audience into the home of the four sisters and their mother, Marmee, played by Samantha Sweet. The play begins in Massachusetts, during the Civil War, and introduces the sisters as a group of close-knit teenagers. As they grow up, they struggle to strike a balance between building their separate lives while also remaining loyal to one another. They are guided by Marmee, peacekeeping and inspiring, and their Aunt March (Liza Goodman), strict but loving.
Cathryn Zachary ‘21, who plays Jo, shared details of her experience with the Spire. She said, “The most difficult part of this role had to be taking on a character that is such a source of empowerment and holds such meaning for so many people. I wanted to be the Jo that everybody wanted me to be, and it took me a while to allow myself to be the Jo that I felt most connected to.”
She added that “However, I have been having the time of my life playing Jo. I have never played a character that has had such a positive impact on my life, both on and off stage. Her confidence, drive, and resilience have translated into my day to day life, and she has truly changed my life.”
Director Meaghan Deiter, Professor of Practice in Holy Cross’ theatre department, celebrates the importance of Louisa May Alcott’s work, which “gave women living in the second half of the 19th century an opportunity to read characters written by a women.”
Not only is the work written by a woman and focused on women, but the women are relatable, fully fleshed out individuals. Indeed, this is part of what makes the tale of “Little Women” timeless. Nina Masin-Moyer ‘22, one of the production’s assistant directors, reflected, “I think what keeps drawing people into “Little Women” after so much time is the universality of themes of familial and sisterly bonds, which lends itself particularly well to the emotionally impactful form of the musical.”
The book is written by Allan Knee, based on the classic novel by Louisa May Alcott. Music is by Jason Howland and lyrics are by Mindi Dickstein. Directed by Meaghan Deiter, the play ran through Jan 31-Feb 3 and will resume Feb 7-10. Sunday performances are at 2:30 p.m., while all others are at 7:30 p.m.
Those who wish to see the play before the final curtain call may purchase tickets at the lobby table in Hogan on Friday afternoon, or at the Box Office before the show. Tickets are $10 for Holy Cross students and $15 for other community members.
Photo by Hui Li ’21