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Penn State Thespians Return To Stage To Present ‘Little Women’

After two years, the Penn State Thespians are returning to form this weekend with their performance of “Little Women.”

The musical adaptation, based on Louisa May Alcott’s life and iconic novel, follows the adventures of four sisters Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy March growing up in Concord, Mass. during the Civil War.

Jo, a writer, is trying to sell her stories, but the publishers aren’t interested. Taking advice from her friend and mentor, Professor Bhaer, she tries to write more authentically and about herself. From there, she’s able to share the stories about her and her sisters’ lives growing up together.

Senior Ava Pennington, the producer of the Thespians’ fall musical, said that the group’s been rehearsing the show since the first week of September, but the production staff has been preparing for the show since mid-August.

Senior Brian Krall, the show’s stage manager, noted that Little Women is a perfect return to the stage after two years because of how uplifting the overall message of the show is.

“This has just been so incredible to have the opportunity to say that after two years away from the Schwab stage, Thespians is back,” Krall said. “This is a perfect story to tell because this show has truly been triumphant, and it’s a perfect return.”

“It’s amazing,” Pennington added. “The first time we were [back at Schwab], I was speechless. I got chills just watching [the cast].

The show is led by Marley Bradner as Jo March, whose talent for musical theatre shines on stage. But, her fellow on-stage sisters Meg (Grace O’Sullivan), Beth (Katie Walker), and Amy (Ella Bradner) are all stars in their own right. All four women perfectly complement each other vocally on stage.

Pennington hopes that audiences will enjoy being back seeing live theatre again and really understand the message of the show of what happens when you dream. Krall wants audiences to take in the full experience of seeing a live show, considering how different things looked this time last year.

“Personally, I want the audience to take a moment and realize where we were a year ago when we wanted this so bad and now we finally have it back,” Krall said. “This is growth, this is a sign that we are finally returning to the Penn State that we all knew and grew with, especially us seniors who had been here for the first two years and were then caught in the middle of it.”

The Thespians will perform Little Women at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 7, and Friday, October 8, as well as at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 9 in Schwab Auditorium. Tickets are $4.98 for students, $4.99 for children under 12, and $12 for community members. They can be purchased with cash at the door or in the HUB throughout the week.

The Thespians are adhering to Penn State’s COVID-19 protocols. Performers don’t need to wear masks during the show, but they must be masked off stage. Audiences are required to wear masks, though.

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About the Author

Mackenzie Cullen

Sadly, Mackenzie graduated from Penn State in 2022. She majored in English and served as one of Onward State's associate editors. You can keep up with her life and send compliments to @MackenzieC__ on Twitter.

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