Four sisters showing the essence of family are the main characters in Miami High School's upcoming production of “Little Women, the Musical.”
The play, under the direction of teacher Danny Dillon, will be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Coleman Theatre.
The novel “Little Women,” on which the play is based, was written in the 19th century by Louisa May Alcott.
The play was written earlier this century by Allan Knee.
Meg is played by Rachel Stewart, Jo by Derekka Dillon, Beth by Shelby Porter and Amy by Kaylee Douthit.
Each of the actresses has siblings, which has helped them perform their roles.
For Derekka Dillon, having sisters helped her prepare what she considers the most challenging part of the role of Jo - her scene with the character Beth who gets ill in the play.
“I just imagined how I would feel if my true sister died,” she said. “It wasn't hard to feel sad.”
She described Jo as the one who holds the family together.
Stewart, who's character is the eldest of the four sisters, described the character as “being refined without being overbearing.”
“Being the eldest of my sisters makes me a little more like Meg,” Stewart said.
Douthit finds the character of Amy more difficult to play toward the end of the play when she has to portray a grown up.
“I've always played a teen in plays,” she said. “It's a little harder to act like an older woman.”
According to Porter, many people wanted her to play the role of Beth.
“They said I'm a lot like her,” Porter said.
“It's true,” Dillon interrupted. “Shelby's nice about everything.”
“My favorite scene in the play is the death scene,” Porter said. “It's the reason for everything. It helps Jo become famous.”
“It's a pretty sad scene,” Dillon said. “People better bring tissues. Even after all our rehearsals, we still cry.”
The thing perhaps unexpected about this version of “Little Women” is the music.
The music was written by Jason Howland with the lyrics by Mindi Dickstein.
Ron Stowell, music instructor at the school and director of the music in the play, didn't find it more difficult to direct music he was unfamiliar with.
“The kids caught on quickly,” Stowell said. “I think that in some ways they are doing a better job because they were unfamiliar with the music. With no preconceived ideas, they might have caught on more easily.”
And caught on they did.
“The music is just another way to express what the character is feeling,” Porter said.
“Every line has meaning,” Dillon said.
Desiree Dillon helped with the limited choreography.
Ann Walser is on the keyboard and Maria Nichols helped with the costumes.
Other actors include Lorie Graham as Marmee, the girls' mother; Miranda Schartz as their Aunt March; Mickey Rogers as Professor Bhaer; Rylee Kinsey as Theodore “Laurie” Laurence III; Tyler Lawson as Mr. Laurence; Charlsee Eberly as Troll; Eric Duesler as Braxton; Casey Cantwell as Knight, and Allison McClain as Clarissa.
Students working on the crew include Jacob Wilson, Eric Duesler, Casey Cantwell, Nick Highsmith, Hilary Wright, Jarod Hogan, Caleb Venagonni, Dreau Morrison, Taylor Roberts, Charlsee Eberly, Sarah Graham and Casey Holden.