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Potsdam Drama Club presents ‘Little Women’


POTSDAM - The Potsdam High School Drama Club will be bringing Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel, “Little Women,” to life this weekend with three performances.

While the book presents a story many people are familiar with, Director Tammara D. Madeja said her students will be presenting an updated version of the tale.

“It’s a classic story, but it’s been updated with more contemporary music and lots of energetic dancing,” Ms. Madeja said. “It’s been updated from the book.”

Playing the four sisters are Cassie L. McCormick, Shannon Smith, Ariana M. Frascatore and Rhea LaFleur.

Ms. McCormick, a senior who plays Meg, the eldest of the four March sisters, said this year’s production is her third and its the camaraderie with her cast mates that kept her coming back.

“The endless rehearsals are a little more enjoyable when you like hanging out with the people back stage,” she said.

Ms. Smith, Ms. Frascatore and Ms. LaFleur, who are all returning club members, agreed.

“It’s the people I work with,” Ms. Smith, a senior who plays Jo, said, adding she has a lot of friends in the club.

“And if they’re not my friend yet then I try to make them my friend,” she said.

“I love singing,” Ms. Frascatore, a junior who plays Beth, said. “It’s a really good group of people.”

Ms. LaFleur, a senior who plays Amy, also commented on the camaraderie.

“All of my friends are here, and I love singing and performing. It’s great because everyone around here shares my interests.”

Not everyone in the cast though, has been in one of the school’s productions before.

Taylor J. Proper, a junior who plays Mr. John Broke, said this year’s production was his first - as an actor.

“Last year I was on the stage crew,” he said. “This is my first time in an on-stage role.”

Mr. Prosper said he made the move in part to show his classmates what he can do. “I wanted to get out there and show the school I could sing,” he said. “I love singing upbeat songs.”

While ‘Little Women’ tells the tale of four sisters, as the actresses point out, each of the sisters have very different personalities.

“She’s very much a tomboy, anything that has to do with good society or being fancy isn’t her thing,” Ms. Smith said, referring to Jo.

Referring to her character Meg, Ms. McCormick said, “She’s very proper. She is kind of the mother hen when it’s just the sisters.”

Ms. LaFleur described her character Amy as “a little bit spoiled and a little bit bratty.”

She’s kind of jealous of her sisters and obsessed with society,” Ms. LaFleur said.

Ms. Frascatore said her character, Beth, is “very sweet and innocent.” During the course of the play, she contracts Scarlet Fever, leading Jo to return home from New York City, where she moved to pursue a writing career.

Not everyone involved in the production though will appear on stage.

Nathan J. Gingrich, a junior involved with the club since his freshman year, is the stage manager.

Mr. Gingrich said he enjoys the perspective he gets from being back stage.

“You know everything about the show and get to experience things the audience doesn’t see,” he said, adding he’s in charge of lighting, sound and “making sure the running crew does all the set changes at the right times.”

He said his job does come with a little stress, but having a great crew makes things a bit easier.

“It’s fairly high stress at times, but I have a great crew and that makes the job a little bit easier.”

The club will be presenting three shows with performances at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and a 2 p.m. show on Saturday.

Tickets for the evening shows are $10, with tickets for the matinee costing $8.

The cast includes Jo March - Shannon Smith, Professor Bhaer - Noah Chichester, Amy March - Rhea LaFleur, Meg March - Cassie McCormick, Beth March - Ariana Frascatore, Marmee March - Audrey Grudowski, Mr. Laurence - Jonathan Atchie, Laurie Laurence - Troy O’Brien, Aunt March - Elizabeth Smith, Mr. John Brooke - Taylor Prosper, Mrs. Kirk - Gwyneth Heuser, Clarissa - Savannah Bondellio, Braxton - Michael Fritz, Rodrigo - Ivan Jukic, Knight - Cassidy Easton, Hag - Emily Wanamaker, Troll - Matt Cincinnati and Rodrigo 2 - Cristy Stoian.

The cast also includes an ensemble including Marie Amell, Alec Bicknell, Holly Cruger, Sierra Damon, Amanda Dillon, Michael Hobbs, Olivia Stitzer and Molly Tishberg.

In addition to Ms. Medeja, the production crew also includes:

Orchestra Conductor - Theresa Witmer, Technical Director - Jeffrey Grigel, Master Carpenter - Jared Nicholas, Costume Designer, Alice Reed and Venessa Oakes, Scenic Designer - Suzanne Water, Publicity/Box Office, Joachim Van Ells, Lighting/Sound Designer - Noah Chichester, Stage Manager - Nathan Gingrich, Hair/Make-up Designer - Clarissa Mitchell, Light Board Operator - Allyssa Theobald, Spot Operator - Nathan Moose and Sound Engineers - John Maroney and Scott Bolt.

The running crew is Elijah Adams, Tiffani Love, Michael Perrier, Katie Pierce, Arielle Stoian and Ethan Vinson.

The hair and make-up crew is Clarissa Mitchell, Shanna Kay Hillary and Marissa Ellis.

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