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‘Little Women’ set for Omak stage

Musical features full orchestra, cast of student actors

— The musical “Little Women” will be staged Friday and Saturday and Nov. 22-23 in the Omak Performing Arts Center, 14 S. Cedar St.

Curtain time is 7 p.m., with the lobby opening at 6:15 p.m. and the house at 6:30 p.m.

Admission is free to those age 12 and younger and for students with associated student body cards. Tickets will be sold to students without cards, faculty, staff and other adults.

The show, based on Louisa May Alcott’s 1869 novel, opened on Broadway in 2005.

“Omak High School is proud to present for the community its very own production of the Broadway musical,” director Nicole Leese said.

The musical focuses on the four March sisters – tomboy and aspiring writer Jo, romantic Meg, pretentious Amy and kind-hearted Beth – and their mother, Marmee. The family patriarch is away, serving as a Union Army chaplain during the Civil War.

“Come and witness as Jo March grows up in the Civil War era and finds the inspiration to write the story of her family,” Leese said.

The show features humor, tragedy and heartwarming family moments.

“This well-known piece of literature will be brought to life before your eyes as this creative and energetic cast of high school students puts in their best efforts to make the characters as realistic as they possibly can,” Leese said.

She said the cast has worked hard to develop the characters’ personality traits.

Music teacher Don Pearce will direct the pit orchestra, made up of members of the Okanogan Valley Orchestra.

“It has been a lot of fun,” he said. “Many of the orchestra folks playing remembered playing in the pit when they were young.”

The production “has been a dream to direct,” Leese said. “It is definitely one of the more challenging shows that we have done.”

The show features a large set, lots of props and costumes, and a score that requires an orchestra.

“The music and characters demand a great deal of work on the actors’ part and the roles are much more challenging than anything we’ve done in the past few years,” Leese said.

She said the students “have truly risen to the occasion.”

Her students picked the production “knowing it would challenge them and help them grow as a club. It has been wonderful to give them the opportunity to work with a live orchestra. It’s a lot harder sometimes, but also allows the students a chance to feel the power of the music they are singing.

“Nothing is more amazing than performing with live instruments.”

On-stage performers include Lisa Halfhill as Jo March; Johanna Matthaynses, Meg March; Hunter Thomas, Beth March; MacKenzie Vance, Amy March and Troll; Marmee, Chelsee Johnson; Reve Hill, Laurie and Rodrigo; Darrell Joe, Professor Bhear; Tyrell Friedlander, Mr. Brook and Braxton; Josie Bucsko, Aunt March and Mrs. Kirk; Will Hughes, Mr. Laurence and Knight; Cassandra Birrane, Clarissa and chorus; Jamie Utt, Hag and chorus; Nichol Flecher, Rodrigo 2 and chorus; Brandon Newman, Livia Hayes and Dusty Mullin, chorus.

The pit orchestra includes Flora Long, Patti Baumgartner and Blenda Jones, violin; Jim Kalberer and Bonnie Colpitts, viola; Sonja Thornton and Brennan Ramsey, cello; Aron Jensen, bass; Madison Hitchcock, flute; Leslie Clough, clarinet; Bob Hougham, trumpet; Chris Warren, French horn; Curtis Manthey, trombone, and Pearce, piano.

Joining Leese and Don Pearce behind the scenes are assistant director Sydney Howard, stage manager Shyanne Steele, set designer Matthew Pearce, costume designer Nichole Fahey and Chelsee Johnson, and props mistresses Sydney Howard and Lisa Halfhill.

Choreographers are Leese and Chelsee Johnson.

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