Small cast to bring Little Women to small screens

Tulare County Office of Education Theatre Co. wraps up filming of Little Women: The Musical to stream online at a later date

TULARE COUNTY – Summer productions are back for the Theatre Company, but with a twist.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions on performers and audiences, this year’s production of Little Women: The Musical has a small cast of 10 and was filmed so it could be streamed at a later date.

Theatre Company director, Bethany Rader, said productions rarely have a small cast so it took some getting used too. However, Little Women was a perfect musical for their numbers and everyone was happy to be back in person.

“It took all of us a few moments to get back into the swing of things after not having in-person rehearsals for over a year and a half,” Rader said. “But it was worth all the hoops we had to jump through and protocols we had to follow, so we could look each other in the eyes again without a screen in between us. We did have to wear masks the whole time and try to stay three feet apart, which was very difficult with such an emotionally heavy show. But these students are troopers and stuck with it.”

Little Women: The Musical is a coming-of-age story based on the novel, Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott. The story is about the four March sisters, their mother, and their lives while their father is away during the Civil War.

“It tells an amazing story of sticking together no matter what,” Rader said. “Of a family’s love, through anything. I think that’s an important message right now.”

The entire musical was rehearsed and filmed last week by Travis Walters and Film Owl Productions at Visalia’s Ice House Theatre. The musical was filmed from start to finish several times to keep the cast in their character headspace as much as possible. There was also an audio-only recording done.

“These parents and students were amazing and stuck with us through it all,” Rader said. “They wanted to be back doing what they loved, no matter how.”

Principal characters

Jo March –  Tessa Hemphill (Redwood High School)
Meg March –  Kathy Gonzalez (Redwood High School)
Beth March – Elisabeth Smith (Redwood High School)
Amy March – Lyra Paez (Golden West High School)
Marmee March – Paige Ragan (Mt. Whitney High School)
Laurie Laurence – Brennan Church (Golden West High School)
John Brooke – Jacob Lucio (Redwood High School)
Mr. Laurence – Cade Gann (Redwood High School)
Aunt March – Emilie Walker (Alum)

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