Ripon Christian High School is presenting “Little Women, The Musical,” March 24 and 25 in the Performing Arts Center at the north end of Maple Avenue adjacent to Highway 99 at the rear of the campus.
Curtain times for the performances will be 7 p.m. on Friday, March 24, and at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 25. Those wishing to attend are urged to reserve their tickets on line early at www.tickets.rcschools.com or purchase them at the door. The play is under the direction of Wendy Marshall.
The lead is Vanessa VanderHelm in the part of Jo March. School music director Bob DeRuiter is making a special appearance as Grandfather Lawrence.
Ripon Christian cast members include Stephanie Rivera as Amy, Tina Tazelaar as Beth, Megan Bos as Meg, Cara Hoekstra as Marmee, and Trenton Talbit as John Brooke.
Based on Louisa May Alcott’s classic 1869 semi-autobiographical novel, it focuses on the four March sisters – brassy tomboy-like aspiring writer Jo, romantic Meg, pretentious Amy and kind-hearted Beth – and their beloved Marmee. They are at home in Concord Massachusetts, while the family patriarch is away serving as a Union Army chaplain during the Civil War. Intercut with the vignettes in which their lives unfold are several recreations of the melodramatic short stories Joe writes in her attic studio.
The plot of the musical takes place in a boarding house in New York City where a saga is played out with the March sisters and family members.
Act 1 opens when Josephine March, “Jo,” asks professor Bhaer, another boarder at Mrs. Kirk’s Boarding House, his opinion on her story, “An Operatic Tragedy.” The professor is not entranced by her blood and guts saga. He tells her that he think that she can write something better. Joe, taken aback and angry at Bhaer’s reaction, asks him what he knows to criticize her and insults him by calling him old. He reacts by saying that he has stated his opinion as she has hers. He leaves. Jo, left alone, wonders what could be better than the story she has written but then she muses that perhaps her writing was better when she was at home in Concord, Mass.
Later in Act 1 Aunt March, the wealthy aunt of the March sisters, asks Jo to change from being a tomboy to a model lady of society. She tells Jo of an idle thought to bring her along on a trip to Europe. Joe begs to go with her, but Aunt March responds that she will take her only if she changes. Jo, who has always dreamed of seeing Europe, agrees. Meanwhile Meg has one of her own dreams realized: she and Jo are invited to Annie Moffat’s Valentine’s Day Ball. But on the day of the ball, while the two sisters are rushing around for their finishing touches, Meg announces that she cannot go. She asks Marmee what to say when one of her personal suitors asks her to dance. Marmee tells Meg to just smile and say “I’d be delighted.” Amy, who cares about society and fine things more than Jo, rushes down the stairs in Jo’s old ball gown to join them in going to the dance, but Jo stops her, as she is not invited.
Act Two is also filled with drama that awaits the audience from the Ripon and Manteca communities in support of their young actors. There will be one intermission where refreshments will be available to the audience.
To contact Glenn Kahl, email firstname.lastname@example.org.