Shopper News brings you the latest happenings in your community

HALLS

Gibbs students bring ‘Little Women’ to the stage May 5-7

Ali James, Shopper News

This May, Gibbs High School theater program will present their first unmasked, indoor performance in two years.

“We are back to it,” said Crystal Braeuner, Gibbs High School English and Theater Arts teacher. “We had talked about ‘Little Women’ for a while, ‘Little Women’ was one of my favorite books growing up and the 1994 Winona Rider version of the movie. I just watched the newer one directed by Greta Gerwig, and that kind of refreshed it, so people are more aware of it.”

“Little Women” is based on the life of the author, Louisa May Alcott, and follows the adventures of sisters, Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy March. In an effort to sell her stories for publication, Jo March weaves in their experience growing up in Civil War America.

Haley Carter (Meg March), Haley Domingues (Beth March), Andy Cruze (Laurie), Maddie Lawson (Amy March) and Kylie Vandergriff (Jo March) in a rehearsal of Little Women, the music at Gibbs High School, April 21, 2022.

“Little Women” features ample opportunities for female actors and singers. “We double cast, which meant a lot of people got roles,” said Braeuner, who will alternate the actors playing the main characters. “We have a bunch of really talented ladies, and some of them have more challenging roles than they have ever had.”

Olivia Gasnow (Amy March), Madison Roberts (Jo March), Sydney Hollifield (Beth March), Brylee Crawford (Meg March) and Meah Bell (Marmee) in a rehearsal of Little Women, the music at Gibbs High School, April 21, 2022.

The cast this year has attracted many seniors. “What is interesting is that we have a couple of seniors and juniors that have not participated before but decided to give it a go,” said Braeuner.

Although the timing of this year’s show is much later than usual, the Mother’s Day weekend shows are fitting. “It is perfect, because all of the show is about family and motherhood,” said Braeuner.

Taliyah Wilson (Aunt March) and Brylee Crawford (Clarissa) in a rehearsal of Little Women, the music at Gibbs High School, April 21, 2022.

“Little Women” has some tough songs, in particular “Astonishing,” which is the usual pick for auditions since it really shows off an actor’s abilities and range, said Braeuner. “Both of our Jo’s sing it beautifully, and it gives me goosebumps every time,” she said.

Just like the 2019 movie version, Braeuner said there is a focus on Jo March venturing out on her own path and being someone who is pretty feminist for that time. “It has been really cool to see that dynamic and that the four sisters’ personalities are so defined, they have done a wonderful job,” she said.

Brylee Crawford (Meg March), Meah Bell (Marmee), Madison Roberts (Jo March), and Sydney Hollifield (Beth March) in a rehearsal of Little Women, the music at Gibbs High School, April 21, 2022.

Braeuner warns that there are some sad scenes at the end. “They are pulling from emotions they have not really had to before,” she said. “We have some light moments, but in act two, the characters are adults facing certain realities.”

The shows will be in the Gibbs High School auditorium at 7 pm Thursday, May 5, and Friday, May 6, and at 2 pm and 7 pm Saturday May 7, to allow students a day of rest on Sunday before returning to school.

Maddie Lawson (Amy March), Kylie Vandergriff (Jo March), Andy Cruze (Laurie), Haley Carter (Meg March) and Haley Domingues (Beth March) in a rehearsal of Little Women, the music at Gibbs High School, April 21, 2022.

“We have a few playing the same role in both casts, mostly the guys,” said Braeuner.

“Senior Dominic Delligatti has been offered the highest scholarship for Maryville College theater.”

Madison Roberts (Jo March) in a rehearsal of Little Women, the music at Gibbs High School, April 21, 2022.

Rehearsals held during Braeuner’s planning period every day have allowed the cast and crew to really polish their performance.

Sydney Hollifield (Rodrigo) in a rehearsal of Little Women, the music at Gibbs High School, April 21, 2022.

On April 29, another Gibbs theater class is performing 10-minute pieces that they are acting in and producing. “Sometimes the non-musical theater kids feel that the musical overshadows things and that they don’t get the same time, so I’m making sure they get it,” said Braeuner. “The thing I love about the night of shorts is that it is really going well because the students are taking the initiative and producing it all.”

Pictured front: Josh Legg (Braxton) and Brylee Crawford (Clarissa), pictured back: Kylie Vandergriff (Jo March) and Ethan Coleman (Professor Bhaer) in a rehearsal of Little Women, the music at Gibbs High School, April 21, 2022.

Braeuner is always glad to work with choral director William Briner and the parentes of senior Kylie Vandergriff, Brenda and Steve, who fix things, keep the dressing room organized and pitch in to build sets on Saturdays.

Caleb Tharp (Knight) and Brylee Crawford (Clarissa) in a rehearsal of Little Women, the music at Gibbs High School, April 21, 2022.

To further promote the show, Braeuer has put together art, science, English and history lessons drawn from the topics touched on in the Civil-War-era book. “It is a way to increase their involvement and earn extra credit,” she said.

What: Little Women musical production.

When: 7 pm Thursday and Friday, May 5 and 6, and 2 pm and 7 pm Saturday, May 7

Where: Gibbs High School, 7628 Tazewell Pike, Corryton.

Cost: $7 for students and seniors and $10 for all other regular admission.

OPINION

Good memories not easily recreated

Leslie Snow, Shopper News

Clara was so excited by the idea she had to call me. “Yaya,” she said into the phone, “You’re invited to my princess tea party! Will you come?”

“A princess tea party with one of my favorite people?” I answered. “Of course, I’ll come.” She laughed at my response, though I wasn’t trying to be funny. Then she added, “At the tearoom, Silly, the one where you took mommy.”

Leslie Snow, News Sentinel columnist.

I smiled at the memory. “I know just the one you mean. I took your mom there when we first moved to Knoxville. She was missing her house and her friends, so I took her to the tearoom to cheer her up. It was so special! Now I get to take you there too. I’m so excited.”

“And GG too!” she exclaimed, referring to my mother. “We’re going to see if she can come to my tea party too. It’s next week.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.