NARRAGANSETT, R.I. — Anyone itching to see a live musical again is in luck this weekend, when Narragansett High School brings “Little Women” to the stage.
Students in the school’s theater department will perform a two-act adaptation based on the classic novel by Louisa May Alcott on July 16-18 at the South County Museum.
A familiar favorite, “Little Women” takes the audience back to the 1860s, to Civil War era Concord, Massachusetts. It follows the adventures of Jo March, played by NHS senior Natalie Portillo, and her three sisters.
Anticipation for the return of the live musical is high, and as of Monday the show’s 5 p.m. performance on Friday had sold out. Additional shows take place Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. each day. In case of rain, the performances will move to the auditorium at Narragansett High School.
The young actors are just as eager to put on the show as audiences are to see it.
“Being all together with the cast again feels like coming back home and the energy a live show creates for me and many members of the cast is something we can’t find anywhere else,” senior Zoe Berghorn — who plays Marmee, mother of the March sisters — said.
“Playing this role means so much to me because I feel like it’s been so long since we’ve actually been able to preform for a live audience,” she added. “Recording and uploading a performance is such an exciting experience, finding new ways for people to see us perform, but when we found out we could perform for a live audience it was such an exhilarating feeling.”
Portillo calls her main character, Jo, a wild but selfless individual with incredible aspirations for her future and an undeniable love for her family. Through rehearsals and reading through her lines, Portillo came to better understand Jo.
“My directors and fellow cast-mates often notice that me and the character Jo are actually very similar, and getting to play her in our upcoming show is going to be an absolute thrill,” she said.
Those directors include acting coach Nick D’Amico, choreographer Rachel Benz and producing director/musical director Sarah Prickel-Kane. They’ve all worked with the cast of 14-18 year-olds led by Portillo and her “sisters,” played by Selina Amargo, Mack Killilea and Isabella McElroy.
Amargo plays Meg March, who she described as a very traditional character.
“She falls in love with a man named John Brooke while attending the ball and lives her traditional life throughout the show. Meg is a sophisticated and dainty character,” Amargo said. “As for the show I can’t even explain how good it feels to be back performing live. It just seems like we never left. I am beyond proud of this cast and our wonderful directors for this experience.”
The students all expressed how glad they were to be back before in-person audiences again, after more than a year of several online, virtual productions because of COVID-19.
“I can’t wait to share with our audiences how hard we have worked on this show,” Portillo said. “Being able to perform in front of an audience again is so refreshing and heartwarming, I think I speak for everyone when I say that playing the parts are beyond fun, but sharing it with an audience is what makes it so special and thrilling.”
The live performances give the actors an amazing adrenaline rush, Berghorn said.
“Being able to play the mother and take on the motherly role in the show, more than I’m told I have already, makes it feel so much more special to me, because the inclusion a show creates is something that I love. So being able to play this role is such a touching experience, and I hope everyone who comes to see us perform enjoys it as much as we enjoy performing.”
Tickets for the show are $7 for students and senior citizens, $12 for general admission, and can be purchased online at www.showtix4u.com. South County Museum is located at 15 Strathmore St. in Narragansett.