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Madeira School's ‘Little Women’ makes a big impact

Shannon Bartnick, a student at Seton School reviews The Madeira School’s “Little Women” as part of The Cappies Critics and Awards Program.

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Emma Estes, Taylor Eggleston, Margaret Berkowitz, Olivia Haller and Kristen Bishof from The Medeira School. (Photo courtesy of The Medeira School)

Although Aunt Josephine March (played by Olivia May) declares “Life is tea and jam” in The Madeira School’s musical production of “Little Women,” the school proved that fine acting, angelic harmonizing and convincing characterization can’t hurt either.

Louisa May Alcott’s novel “Little Women” has undergone several theater and movie adaptations. The play first opened on Broadway in 1912 and was revived in 1931. There were also 10 movie versions of the popular novel, and in 2005, it became a musical.

Although Madeira’s cast gave an overall impassioned performance, there were some stand-out characters. Margaret “Marmee” March (Ana Olson) was the perfect mother: soft-spoken yet demanding and with a maternal instinct that provided balance and made everything right again. Olson’s voice also soared, leaving audience members in awe, especially in “Days of Plenty”. May as Aunt March, whose entertaining walk and hilarious voice inflections were joyous, also helped to bring the musical to life. And although Aunt March is a snooty character, she had an excellent chemistry with the other actors, especially with Josephine “Jo” March (Olivia Haller).

Since Madeira is an all-girls boarding school, it had to overcome one major theatrical challenge: male characters. This made Margaret Berkowitz's portrayal of Theodore “Laurie” Laurence particularly captivating, especially since she had to first play him with the excitement of a young boy and later show his maturity as he came of age and grew into a man.

As a whole, the cast performed with contagious energy and excitement. The March family, in particular, worked well as one cohesive unit playing off each other.

The stage crew provided seamless transitions between sets and avoided any disruptions or awkward pauses.

As Aunt March said, “We earn our dreams in this world.” It seems The Madeira School’s cast took this line to heart and earned their dream of a wonderful performance.

By Shannon Bartnick, Posted by Mario Iván Oña  |  February 24, 2010; 2:47 PM ET
 | Tags: Cappies 2010  
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