The Louisa May Alcott novel “Little Women” is a classic of American literature.
But although its primary characters, the March sisters, are the same age of most high school students, the tale still may be a tough sale to teens in the 21st century.
But the performers of the musical adaptation of “Little Women,” which opens next Thursday at St. Paul Catholic High School are finding ways to relate to Alcott’s characters. Of course, the tale is boosted in their eyes by the musical treatment they will perform for Connecticut audiences.
Press materials for this production by St. Paul Performing Arts explain, “‘Little Women – the Broadway Musical’ follows the adventures of Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy March as they grow up in Civil War America.”
Jillian Caillouette has the task of playing the role of Jo March, the character upon whom the story pivots. She explained she finds her character very relatable to who she is. “Jo is a writer and she wants to get her stories published. And I, in real life, am a songwriter. And someday I want to get my songs out there. So I put my passion in songwriting into Jo’s character.”
Michaela Dolishny plays the role of Meg Marsh, the eldest of the March siblings. “I’m an oldest sister in real life,” Michaela said, “I’m used to that kind of protectiveness you have for your little sisters and the closeness of the sisters.”
Cody Lynn Perkins doesn’t have the benefit of having been in the shoes of her character Amy, the youngest of the sisters. But, Cody said she has observed her own youngest sister, the baby of the family. “I learn from her in that way…. I take from what she does and puts it in what I think Amy would be.”
Nick Iacovelli said he finds his character John Brooke quite comparable to his own experiences. Brooke is set to join the military after he proposes to Meg. “That’s something that’s easy to relate to. Michaela (who plays Meg) and I are currently dating. And when the summer comes, I’ll be off to either cadet basic training at West Point of ROTC training at (the University of Virginia)… That’s something we’ve had to deal with and it’s easy to bring up on stage.”
Nick Guertin plays “Laurie” Lawrence, “The new good looking rich kid who sees the good looking girls next door.” First, Nick explained, his character dates one sister than moves on to another. “You see teenage relationships today, they’re the same way. You see some last a long time and others are short like that and they move on…It does really relate to today’s world.”
The story’s vintage is boosted in stature for the students by the musical treatment that transforms it for the stage.
“The music brings it all together at the end of the day,” said Lauren Popilo, who plays a hag in a story written by Jo in the course of show.
Marisa Mastrio, who plays Aunt March, said, “Every song is connected but at the same each song is different in its own way …The songs reflect the character’s personality. All these ballads and these group songs really help the show come together.”
Cameron Grant, who plays Mr. Lawrence, said, “The character development happens in song.”
“If you really listen and really look at they lyrics, all of the songs are connected,” said Jane Kenney, who plays “Marmie” March, the mother of the four sisters.
“You can move a story along much more emotionally (with music) than you can with just dialogue,” said Nick when asked what he liked by the transformation of “Little Women” into a musical.
Kindeya Chiaro, who plays Clarissa, another one of the characters created by Jo for one of her stories, said, “I like that it’s a musical because it really adds a lot of emotion to the story… It’s really. really amazing.”
Ultimately, Jillian said, she loves the musical treatment of “Little Women” because, first of all, because it’s such a classic story she adores. Additionally, said Jillian, “It’s such a heartwarming story for the family.”
“Little Women – the Broadway Musical” will be performed by St. Paul Performing Arts Thursday, April 4 through Saturday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m., and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 7, at St. Paul Catholic High School, 1001 Stafford Ave., Bristol. Tickets are available at spchs.net.