(Alexandria, MN) The Alexandria Region High School Drama Department will bring a classic American novel Little Women to life at the AAHS Performing Arts Center from November 18-21. Based on the beloved novel by Louisa May Alcott, Little Women follows the March sisters and their journey to adulthood in Civil War-era New England. Imaginative and spirited, Jo dreams of being a writer, but feels connected to her home in Concord, Massachusetts, where her sisters Meg, Beth and Amy reside. Her great-aunt March promises to take her to Europe, her mother Marmee wants her father to come back from the war and her friend Laurie wants her to stay in Concord. All the while, his travels are pulling his heart elsewhere. A coming-of-age story for the whole family with music by Jason Howland and Mindi Dickstein, Little Women the Musical is about the power of brotherhood.
The AAHS production stars junior Parker Zwach as Jo. Zwach says, “Playing Jo has been a challenge, but an incredible challenge. It pushes me to be wild and loud and not be afraid to have fun with the character. That’s what I like about playing it. . . she is determined to be amazing. Zwach is one of the many students director Jessica Chipman loved to bond with during this process: “Many theater practitioners didn’t know what theater would look like in November 2021, if you asked us in March. 2020. I loved coming back to work with the students in person and growing together. Little Women is such a nostalgic and heartwarming story. It will be really special for the students of this production to kick off the holiday season for our community and its families with their take on this classic story.
Among the 52 students of the cast, crew and orchestra is Marnus Combrinck, an exchange student from South Africa, who plays Professor Bhaer, Jo’s confidant and friend. Combrinck has been in a musical before, when he played Joey in Sister Act: “The last few weeks have been a huge eye-opener on what a musical can and should be. Our home musical was much more about music than acting, but theater cannot be theater without determining acting! Zwach adds, “What I love about AAHS theater is how professional it makes you feel. . . it definitely helped me become more confident as an actor because you never feel judged and you know your team is backing you.
Joining Zwach and Combrink in the cast are Junior Tai Auran as Laurie, Junior Sydnee Byrne as Meg, Junior Brynn Kosters as Beth, and sophomore Sailor Peterson as Amy. Sophomore Leah Zenner plays the family matriarch, Marmee. Junior Brandon Ruffcorn plays John Brooke, senior Noah Hubbard plays Mr. Laurence and senior Jeryn Drewes plays Great Aunt March. The cast is completed by sophomore Olivia Reilly, freshman Jordan Van Sciok and junior Naneisha Vargas. Liz Workman is the student director and Kassidy Huwe and Emmalene Gylsen are the stage managers. Music director Steve Deitz joins Chipman on the management team. Jay Chipman is the set designer, Kristen Peterson is the costume designer, Mark Halvorson is the lighting designer, Ray Noble is the sound designer, and Jackson Grove is the choreographer.
The Little Women performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. on November 18, 19 and 20, with mornings at 2:00 p.m. on November 20 and 21. Tickets cost $ 10 for adults and $ 8 for students and are available at www.alexschools.org or by phone at 320.762.2142. It is recommended to sit in advance.