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The Paly Voice

The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

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‘Little Women’: Upcoming musical of family and connectedness

Dressed+in+historical+clothing%2C+Palo+Alto+High+School+seniors+Sierra+Rock%2C+Zoe+Hayward%2C+Annalise+Klenow%2C+and+sophomore+Aashi+Agarwal+laugh+with+each+other+onstage+during+rehearsal+for+Paly+Theatre%E2%80%99s+%E2%80%9CLittle+Women%3A+The+Broadway+Musical%2C+with+opening+night+taking+place+at+7+p.m.+Saturday+in+the+Haymarket+Theater.+According+to+Klenow%2C+the+musical+is+intended+to+be+an+intimate%2C+small-scale+performance%2C+which+draws+the+performers+close+together.+%E2%80%9CIts+a+really+small+cast%2C+so+its+very+tightly+knit%2C%E2%80%9D+Klenow+said.+%E2%80%9CWe+all+have+to+rely+on+each+other%2C+so+I+think+that+makes+us+all+do+our+part+and+keeps+us+accountable.%E2%80%9D+%28Photo%3A+Kristine+Lin%29
Dressed in historical clothing, Palo Alto High School seniors Sierra Rock, Zoe Hayward, Annalise Klenow, and sophomore Aashi Agarwal laugh with each other onstage during rehearsal for Paly Theatre’s “Little Women: The Broadway Musical,” with opening night taking place at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Haymarket Theater. According to Klenow, the musical is intended to be an intimate, small-scale performance, which draws the performers close together. “It’s a really small cast, so it’s very tightly knit,” Klenow said. “We all have to rely on each other, so I think that makes us all do our part and keeps us accountable.” (Photo: Kristine Lin)

Avid readers of Louisa May Alcott and devoted fans of Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women” adaptation can experience the beloved coming-of-age story of family, kindness, and romance this week and next at Palo Alto High School’s production of “Little Women: The Broadway Musical” in the Haymarket Theater.

Set in 1860s America, the story revolves around the adventures of the close-knit March family, which consists of four girls: Meg March, played by senior Sierra Rock; Jo March, played by senior Annalise Klenow; Beth March, played by senior Zoe Hayward; and Amy March, played by sophomore Aashi Agarwal. According to Klenow, the tight bond between the students contributes to their performance in the musical.

“I get to act with my friends, and I get to pretend that they’re my sisters when I feel like they already are,” Klenow said. “That’s a really special experience. I’ve known some of these girls throughout all my time in high school, so I feel very lucky that I get to go through [performing the musical] with them.”

According to assistant director and senior Eloise Dumas, the relationships between the students shine while performing.

“You can see the friendships on stage, and you can tell that everyone has a really good relationship with everyone else,” Dumas said.

Theater teacher and co-director Sarah Thermond said she was inspired to choose “Little Women” as preparing for the musical took less time and resources, allowing the students to put on a show just over a month into the school year.

“We wanted to have some sort of musical opportunity for performance, but we don’t have the bandwidth and the resources to do a massive one like ‘Mamma Mia’ every single year,” Thermond said. “We were looking for titles that could be done with a much smaller cast in a much smaller space and have smaller technical needs. It’s really tightly plotted around just 10 actors and so it seemed like a good fit for us.”

Dumas said the sense of intimacy of the musical is emphasized by the location in the Haymarket Theater.

“It [the musical] lent itself to a smaller space,” Dumas said. “It [the Haymarket Theater] fits the vibe and it’s immersive. There are actors in seats, running through the aisles and entering through various doors.”

According to Thermond, the style of the musical also encourages a closer connection between the audience and the performers.

“It’s more small-scale and personal,” Thermond said. “We’re envisioning almost the whole thing as though we’re in the girls’ attic with them, moving furniture pieces as they tell different parts of the story. It will be different from what people often think of as a high school musical, because of the more personal scope.”

According to Agarwal, one challenge is balancing schoolwork while preparing for the musical under strict time constraints.

“We’ve had a little over a month to prepare for this show, and it’s a lot of choreography [to learn] in a short period of time,” Agarwal said. “It’s a lot of hours that we have to put inside and outside the theater, so it’s a little stressful.”

Agarwal said the time and effort will be worth it once the show is ready for opening night.

“I’m super excited to see all the individual scenes that we’ve been staging come together with all the lighting, design, scenes, hair and makeup and costumes,” Agarwal said. “I’m excited to see it become the official production.” 

Dumas said she has high hopes for the musical, which is a culmination of the students’ hard work and preparation in just a few weeks’ time.

“Everyone’s been putting in really great work,” Dumas said. “We started rehearsals three weeks ago, [so there was a] super quick turnaround, but people are putting in the effort. We’ve been calling everyone [in] for rehearsal every day until 8 p.m., and everyone’s been showing up to memorize their lines.”

According to Klenow, “Little Women” is not a production to miss.

“People should watch ‘Little Women’ because it’s great that we have this access to a story so fundamental to American literature,” Klenow said. “It’s being passed down through these generations, and I think it’s important that we continue to share it.”

Showtimes of “Little Women” will take place 7 p.m. on Sept. 23, Sept. 24, and Sept. 30, and 2 p.m. on Sept. 24. Tickets can be bought at the production’s website.

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Kristine Lin, News Editor

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