Central Theatre Presents “Little Women”

Jo (Julia Christley), Amy (Ella Drake), Laurie (Tanner Lange),
Beth (Alaysia Winters) & Meg (Mekhiah Ellis)

October 12, 2021
by Heath Scofield, Pickerington Online Intern
& Sophomore at Pickerington Central

The Pickerington Central High School production of Little Women follows the March sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy – as they grow up in Civil War America. Running October 14-17, the musical explores the highs and lows of familial relationships as well as the importance of following your dreams. 

“You see Jo overcome difficulty, but it is not just the story of her one character,” said junior Alaysia Winters, who plays Beth. “it’s a story of family and closeness. The March family is dirt poor, but they worked with it – pure joy, loss and compassion are all themes.”

The actors compared the relationships between the characters they play to the connections they share with their real families. 

“My older sister set an example for me on how to treat people and how to play Meg,” said junior Mekhiah Ellis.

Marmee (Ajallah Toure) intercedes in a fight between Jo and Amy.

Senior Ajallah Toure looked to their mother for insight on how to play Marmee including how to handle the “really silly fights” that happen between siblings.

“I have three sisters which is very similar to my mother,” Ture said. “I looked to her mannerisms and how she dealt with my siblings and me. The story is very relatable to people who have siblings, who chase dreams and who have experienced deep loss.”

The lead actors formed a tight bond, so that even after they have gone home, they continue to message each other.

“We became a new family after being here every day for the past few months,” said senior Julia Christley.

Christley plays the central character Jo with whom she feels a kinship.

Mr. Lawrence (Finnegan Miller) joins Beth at the piano.

“I am definitely like Jo in a lot of ways,” Christley said. “In my family I’m the deep, strong-willed one. I see myself in how Jo has pretty big dreams. I am honest to a fault, and I can totally relate to Jo and Amy’s bickering. The character is a part of me.”

Ella Drake said that she relates to her character of the youngest sister, Amy, in that they are both outgoing and care about how they look. She also believes that Amy is misunderstood.

“Many people describe Amy as ‘bratty’”, Drake said. “But ever since she was a baby she has always been given Jo’s hand-me-downs and she just wants her own things and to be her own person.”

Christley said that she has two brothers and understands that when a family has multiple kids that “the attention is not going to be on you and that’s okay. You can be a helping hand to help comfort and protect one another if mom is too busy. However, nobody is going to be perfect.”

“There are intense moments of sadness, where Marmee breaks down while she is by herself,” Toure said, “but then she pushes herself to be happy and present to encourage her girls.”

All the actors agree that Winters is as sweet as her character Beth.

“You are genuinely kind,” Christley told her. “No strings attached.”

As a musical, Little Women has many great songs that accentuate important moments and provide exposition. 

“Almost every song draws you in and gives you chills, but it is not a sad musical,” said senior Ella Drake.

Aileen Targett, Theatre Director for Central, chose Little Women because she was “drawn to the concept of five very strong females who all want something different from life. They embrace that there is not one way to achieve their dreams and that there is not just one dream for everyone. There are different ways for women to be successful.”

Christley said that Little Women gives the encouraging message to follow your dreams despite hardships.

“It’s so relatable and to put it simply it’s heartwarming,” Christley said.

The choreography is done by senior Ella Holley, and junior Kat Ross is the stage manager ,who calls the thousands of lighting and sound cues. The sets were built by students, under the supervision of Technical Director Eric Womack.

“The crew is as student-run as you can get,” Targett said.

Lisa Holley, the Athletic Secretary at Ridgeview STEM Junior High School, sewed the costumes.

“She made them from scratch,” Targett said. “They are gorgeous.”

Performances will be held at the Performing Arts Center (PAC) at Pickerington High School Central (300 Opportunity Way, Pickerington) October 14-17. Curtain times will be 7:00 PM on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, October 14, 15, and 16, and at 3:00 PM on October 17.

All tickets are $12, and can be purchased online at the PCHS box office.

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