Little Women

Photographer: Maya Neufeld-Wall

Photographer: Maya Neufeld-Wall

Nerinx Hall’s spring musical was a production of the timeless classic Little Women. First released as a novel in 1869, Little Women tells the story of four sisters and their mother living in New England during the Civil War era. The young women go through the trials and tribulations of growing up: coming of age, burnt hair, ruined notebooks, marriage, and wasted limes. In her own way, each sister displays values that still ring true today and offer a great example for little women in the 19th century and beyond.


Jo, the most outspoken of the sisters, defies stereotypes in more ways than one. Refusing to follow society’s expectations of what a woman should be, Jo fiercely paves her own path in life. She dreams big from her little attic: writing stories, cutting her hair to fund Marmee’s trip to D.C., and refusing a marriage proposal from her best friend in order to pursue writing in New York City. “She is an independent woman in the nineteenth century!” Sophomore Fiona Scott, who portrayed Jo, remarks. “She wears pants!”


Meg, the eldest, struggles with her society’s ideas of what a young lady should be, from fashion quandaries to Valentine’s Day balls to marriage. “At the time, you had to marry someone rich,” Senior Caroleina Hassett, who played oldest sister Meg, comments. Meg, however, becomes enamored with John Brooke and refuses to bend to social pressures. “She says, ‘No, I’m in love with this man, I don’t care if he doesn’t have money, we’ll make it work.’”


Singing sweetly from behind the piano is Beth. Although she is often weak and sickly, Beth has a profound effect on those who surround her, with her encouraging spirit and calm, happy disposition. Junior Chloe Haynes (Beth) says, “Beth always wants to look out for everyone else, she always thinks of herself last. She supports Jo in all of her ideas, even though they are very different for the time period.” While Beth’s life is short, it is rich and filled with love, caring, and companionship.


As the youngest, Amy is always struggling to keep up with her sisters. Like Jo, she has a fiery temper and sometimes lets it get the better of her. “She starts the show as this brat!” Senior Julia Budd (Amy) points out. “But she comes back [from a trip to Europe] this fully blossomed, poised young lady. She goes out into the world, she learns from everything that she’s done, and consequently has a better relationship with everyone around her.”


Leading the young ladies into adulthood are two strong women in their own right: Marmee and Aunt March. With her husband fighting in the war, Marmee is left with the tremendous responsibility of raising four young girls. She is uncertain at times, but she stands tall and acts as a pillar for her girls to lean on. Aunt March may seem at first to be a harsh, strict, old lady, but “she is the matriarch of the family, in a time when there are only patriarchs,” Junior Jackie Danter says. “She is the power behind everything. She acts, she doesn’t react. She doesn’t take it from anybody.”


Since Little Women was published, it has been made into a movie three times, as well as into a stage show and a musical. Nerinx Hall’s production of Little Women serves as a great reminder that women can lead, women can grow, women can be flawed, and women can even lose their tempers. Women have the right to say no, and the right to say yes, even if it’s not popular. Little Women inspired its cast, crew, and audience to follow in the footsteps of the March family and astonish the world.