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Little Women The Musical, Presented By Fresno Pacific University

IN THE April 6 ISSUE

FROM THE 2016 Articles,
andEducation,
andLorie Lewis Ham,
andTheatre
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by Lorie Lewis Ham

Fresno Pacific University is presenting a production of Little Women the Musical this weekend. It will be performed at the Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium. The show is directed by Bethany Rader, who has been working with the theater department at FPU for around 7 years and directing for 5 years. Last summer she worked with StageWorks Fresno on their shows Into the Woods and Dogfight. Her directing credits include Barefoot in the Park, Godspell, Antigone, Charley’s Aunt, The Sound of Music, and Doubt. We took a moment to chat with her about Little Women, and then also spoke with a couple of the cast members, including Reedley resident Meg Clark.

KRL: Why did you pick Little Women for your show?

Bethany: When going through play selection for a musical year, the theater department and music departments get together and start listing shows we would like to do. You have to take into consideration all kinds of things, our audience pool, cast size, men verses women roles, etc. A good friend of mine told me around the same time we were meeting that I needed to hear this song called “Astonishing” from the musical Little Women. I had no idea there was even a musical version of Little Women, but I listened to it and immediately fell in love. I then presented the show to the committee and they agreed. It fit the criteria we were looking for, family friendly and strong women’s roles.

theatre

Cast of LITTLE WOMEN at FPU

KRL: Is the story pretty similar to the book?

Bethany: The story is VERY similar to the book. Of course, some things were adapted and some characters aren’t explored as much as they are in the book, but all in all it is very similar.

KRL: What would you consider the style of the music in this show?

Bethany: I would say it falls into the normal/traditional musical theater feel. You can definitely hear familiar sounding shows in the music lines.

KRL: Are there any special challenges to directing this show?

Bethany: I think the most challenging part was making sure every characters story is told. Yes, Jo is on stage the most and this is her story, but Jo wouldn’t exist without every other character in this show. Mr. Laurence affects Beth, who then affects Jo…so everyone is so important to the story. I wanted to make sure that I spent time with each actor developing the special connections that occur for each of them. I wanted to make sure that my actors felt the freedom to express their characters fully. I think that sometimes on big level musicals people can get lost in the spectacle, I didn’t want that to happen here.

KRL: What do you like best about this show?

Bethany: For me this show is about ultimate love, that is a theme we played with a lot throughout the rehearsal process. There is love that each person finds in this show, but for me the appealing part is the sisters. The love that they have for each other, the love that grows between them, the love that they don’t even comprehend between them. I like the very “frozenesc” theme, that a sisters love is the ultimate love. And I LOVE that this theme came before Frozen! Louisa May Alcott wrote this in the 1860s! She got it, she got how special that connection is and how vital it can be…how defining it can be.

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Meg Clark as Jo

KRL: Dates, times, location of show?

Bethany: This show runs for one weekend only! April 8 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. and April 9 and 10 at 2:30 p.m. We are performing this at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Downtown Fresno on the corner of Fresno and O Street. 2425 Fresno Ave, Fresno CA 93721.

KRL: Ticket costs and where/how can they be purchased?

Bethany: Tickets are $15 general admission and $10 senior/student/FPU Community. They can be purchased at the door or online at fresno.edu/theater-box-office or at Eventbrite. For group rate information please contact Julia Reimer at 55-453-2056 or Julia.reimer@fresno[dot]edu.

KRL: Anything you would like to add?

Bethany: I have been working with the theater department here at FPU for around 7 years, I have been privileged enough to work with some truly amazing people and amazing casts. This cast has been a blessing and an honor to work with. Truly some of the most professional people I have had the chance to work with. I also can say without a doubt that I could not have done this without my amazing production team. Costumes by Brooke Aiello, Set design and construction by Jerry Vocalino, Props by Julia Reimer, and Lighting/Sound Design and assistant Director Steven Herevia.

Interview with cast members Meg Clark who plays Jo March, and Emily Mooney who plays Beth March.

KRL: Was this the role you were hoping for?

Meg: I was honestly just hoping to get cast, because the auditions were very competitive. But yes, deep down, I really wanted to have the chance to play such a dynamic character like Jo.

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Meg Clark as Jo

KRL: What do you like best about playing this role?

Meg: Jo is so full of fire and energy, that it’s really thrilling to go up and be her for 2 and a half hours. In studying her character, I’ve been so deeply inspired by her passion and confidence, and it has really made a difference in my own life.

KRL: What has been the greatest challenge?

Meg: The biggest challenge is getting over my own fears and insecurities in order to give my everything in this role. Jo is not a character that can be done well if you’re second-guessing yourself the whole time. You really just have to go out there and believe that you can kick butt. Although this has been the biggest challenge, it’s also been the most freeing thing about the show.

KRL: Was this the role you were hoping for?

Emily: I was hoping for the role of Beth March. I appreciated her character, and believed that it was the role that I would be best suited for.

KRL: What do you like best about playing this role?

Emily: What I love best about playing this role is being able to embody the love that Beth feels for each person she comes in contact with in the show. Beth is a very caring, loving, and sweet character who’s biggest dreams are that the dreams of her loved ones will come true. Beth may seem like more of a quiet character who stays in the background at times, but her presence is essential to the dynamic of the family.

KRL: What has been the greatest challenge?

Emily: The greatest challenge in portraying the character of Beth March, has been making sure that this quiet character does not get lost in all of the commotion of the other, more energetic characters. Although she does not command attention, Beth’s presence is essential for much of the character development in Little Women.

Watch for an interview next week about Dark As Night, Selections from Shakespeare, which will be performing on the FPU campus on April 15 and 16.

You can find more theatre articles, and other entertainment articles, in our Arts & Entertainment section.

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and an enthusiastic contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie’s mystery writing at Mysteryrat’s Closet.

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