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Century presenting 'Little Women'

Century presenting 'Little Women'
Jo, left, played by Mallorie Stern, reacts to a proposal by Professor Bhaer, played by Jack Del Nunzio, in Century High School’s production of “Little Women.” Stern and Del Nunzio are both seniors at the school. (Nancy McKenzie photo)

"Little Women" is onstage now at Century High School, as the Opening Knights drama club presents the Broadway musical version of Louisa May Alcott's classic novel.

The show opened Oct. 10, but the run continues through Oct. 18.

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The director, Lucas Hewitt, who teaches drama at Century, explained that he put a lot of thought into selecting this intimately-scaled musical.

"At the end of last year, I realized that I had a massive amount of really talented people — I could do a small-cast musical," he said. "I've got these kids that can do this show."

Hewitt read Alcott's story of four sisters coming of age during the Civil War, then listened to the score of the 2005 Broadway musical. He was hooked.

He can also identify with the heroine of the play, Jo March, and her experience of finding her role in the world.

"It's personally my journey, as well," he said. "I went to New York for college, realized that I missed my family and home and community, so I came back here."

Hewitt, who is co-directing the musical with his wife, Caitlyn Hewitt, decided to frame the show on a smaller scale, so the audience will be seated on the actual stage of the Century High School auditorium and will surround the performers on three sides, in a thrust stage layout.

He said that the change in staging will allow the audience to be come more involved with the characters in the musical.

"It's so emotional that it's hard to connect with an audience in the proscenium," he said.

Producing a show set in a historical era presents a challenge for the show's costumer, since, even though there is artistic license, there are still specific clothing details that need to be researched and duplicated. Costumer Maggie Neal, a senior at Century, is tackling that challenge, as well as playing the role of Marmee, the mother of the four girls, in the musical.

Neal researched period costuming for her work on the show.

"At the beginning of rehearsals in August, I started sketching," she said.

The costumes reflect an attention to detail. The women are wearing corsets, petticoats and hoops to create the appropriate shape for their dresses. The men are wearing waistcoats — standard dress for the Civil War era.

Neal's job as a costumer required a lot of work, since the actors also have costume changes during the play.

"I've had a lot of help from the parents," she said.

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"It's fun being in all the different costumes," said Century senior Mallorie Stem, who is playing the lead role of Jo.

Neal is considering studying costuming when she gets to college.

"It's so much fun," she said. "I love it!"

If You Go

When: Performances continue at 7 p.m. Oct. 16, 17 and 18, with a matinee performance at 2 p.m. Oct. 18.

Where: Century High School, 355 Ronsdale Road, Eldersburg

Cost: Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Seating is limited to 150 audience members per performance, so advance purchase of tickets is recommended. Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.centurydrama.com. There is a small processing fee.

For more information: Visit the Century Drama website or call the school at 410-386-4400.

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