UND puts twist on classic

This past weekend, the Burtness Theatre was filled with feelings of inspiration, emotion and a sense of activism as the UND Theater Department showcased its first series of performances of the classic play “Little Women.”

Many have likely heard of this tale, as it is based on the acclaimed novel by Louisa May Alcott. While this story may be familiar to some, the theater department has taken a unique and tuneful twist on the timeless story while adapting its creation of “Little Women.”

This production brings to life the well-known March sisters and their struggles as it features young women growing up during the Civil War.

Assistant musical director Caleb Van Ornum helps rejuvenate this old tale, as the music featured in the play connects the vibrant themes to today.

This production earnestly invites the audience to laugh and cry while celebrating as characters Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy grow from children into “little women.”

Last Thursday was opening night for the play and reception from the crowd seemed very positive.

“Opening night was great,” UND student Daniella Lima, who plays Meg March said.

“The crowd was very receptive of our performance; they laughed with us and cried with us. What more could we ask for?”

Under direction of professor Emily Cherry, the cast of this show has tirelessly prepared to put on its unique spin on this classic story and making it a success.

Students involved in the play underwent rehearsals five days a week for four hours each night for five weeks.

“Besides rehearsals, much of the character work happened outside of rehearsal,” Lima said. “Many of us found the book very helpful in bringing depth to our characters, finding the little details that make each person realistic.”

All the hard effort seemed to have paid off for the cast, as the acting for this play appeared almost flawless and the musical numbers seemed to be wonderfully received by the audience.

Regardless of the great crowd reception, Lima says being a part of this play has been a fantastic         experience. “My peers have become my family in a sense and through this experience I have learned to how express genuine love on the stage.” said Lima.

While this performance was not only wonderful to see, the work and dedication that was poured into this play has proved strongly rewarding for all involved, as this play is the first of its kind for not only UND, but North Dakota as well.

“UND Theater has never produced Little Women the musical and to my knowledge, a performance of this play is also a first for the region.” Cherry said.

Regardless of ones background or interest in theater, all students and members of the community are strongly encouraged to see the beautiful rendition of this play.

“Theater is an important part of any society so I think students should always see theater given the chance. “ Cherry said.

Students who see a performance of Little Women might just find themselves reflecting on their own experiences and coming out of the Burtness with a better appreciation of the arts.

“Theater has the ability to make us look at ourselves and helps us find our humanity, it makes us compassionate and empathetic to other and for these reasons alone I hope UND students will open their hearts to hear the message of the musical,” Cherry said.

If students did not have a chance to see a performance of Little Women last week, there is still plenty of time this upcoming weekend to catch a show as there will be performances Nov. 19-21 at 7:30 p.m. in the Burtness Theatre.

Tickets are available at the Theater Box Office. Adult tickets are $20 and student tickets are $10.

For anyone interested, on Friday, November 20 from 6 – 7 in the Lab theater, there will be a meet and greet with the cast of the show.  Anyone who is interested can come and take pictures with the characters. This is $5 in addition to a ticket to the show.

After seeing this special production of Little Women, Lima says, “I hope that Little Women will give students a moment reminisce and they will think back on their lives and find what fulfills them – faith, family, relationships, dreams and aspirations — and hold these things dearer than they did before.”

Amanda Hefner is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]