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M-CHS students bring authenticity to ‘Little Women’

Senior students prepare for their final performances

Montezuma-Cortez High School Drama will premiere “Little Women,” a musical based on the book by Allan Knee, on March 16 at 7 p.m. at the Ralph E. Vavak Memorial Auditorium.

Shows are scheduled for Friday and Saturday nights on March 16-17 and 23-24 at 7 p.m. Saturday matinees are scheduled for March 17 and 24 at 2 p.m.

Admission is $10 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, and free for children age 5 and under.

This musical version of Louisa May Alcott’s classic tale premiered on Broadway in 2005.

Nicholaus Sandner, drama teacher, English teacher and thespian and drama club sponsor at M-CHS, chose the play because of the number of strong female singers and dancers in this year’s senior class. “I was looking for a show that would show off the skills they have,” he said.

Sandner said he also chose this show because he was interested in doing a “period piece,” something the drama department has not done.

Historic authenticity is important to Sandner and the actors and actresses. In his Advanced Theater Studies class, Sandner and his students have been researching the etiquette, fashion, furniture and architecture of the time period.

According to Sandner, a local antique shop called Antiques and More loaned the theater program some furniture for their sets, the class has made many of their own costumes and has been learning to knit from M-CHS English teacher, Kim Kelley.

“I wanted the actors to be able to experience a little bit of the domestic life of the March sisters,” Sandner said. “They would have made their own clothes, and they (his advance theater class) have actually been learning to knit so they can do that on stage.”

The actors and actresses have been rehearsing since about January. It is particularly important for the actresses to be comfortable moving around the set before the show premieres.

“It is set in the Civil War era, so there are corsets and hoop skirts. The girls who are playing the lead characters have been practicing in those,” Sandner said. “The dances that will be done on stage are based on Civil War era ballroom dances.”

This will be the last show for many talented seniors, and Sandner said it is bittersweet for all involved.

“Quite a few” senior students have been involved in theater at M-CHS for all four years of their high school careers, according to Sandner. Many will either pursue a theater degree in college or plan to stay involved in theater no matter their declared major.

“They are excited to be on stage one last time and show the improvements they have made over the past four years,” Sandner said.