Little Women
By Kate Hamill
Belmont University
Fall 2021
Production Team
Director: Jane Duncan
Stage Manager: Adelia Morris
Scenic Design: Paul Gatrell
Lighting Design: Preston Cross
Costume Design: Jessica Mueller
Properties Designer: Alexia Shiffer

Photo: Rick Malkin
Little Women is a story that has lived on for years and one that is very special to many women. Jo March and her sisters are growing up during the Civil War, a time of change and great turmoil. As the girls were growing up, they were allowed to dream and be imaginative, but unfortunately that can't last forever. As they mature, they each start to face what many women through generations have dealt with: societal expectations. Meg and Amy are content to play the roles set out for them, but Jo aims to be a great American novelist in a time dominated by men. Everyone in Jo's world is changing, and she fights every part of society's expectations and wants things to remain as they are, but as Beth says, "Nothing lasts forever."

My design's aim was to look at the divide between the sister's "safe space" in their home and with family versus the outside world. I wanted to portray that divide with different tones of music. The safe spaces would be warm, piano based, and authentic. There are many moments in the home that were great for underscoring and adding more emotion to the scene. I wanted the outside world and its societal expectations to be mores uptight and cold by using full orchestral and band pieces. Places like the ball, the publishing office, and Aunt March's house all have a different and much bigger style of music leading in or during those scenes.
Photo: Rick Malkin
Recurring Clock Theme
I knew I wanted to pull a theme for Beth early on in the process in order to foreshadow the family's later problems. The play opens with a ticking clock blending into music as Jo tells Beth a story. I wanted the ticking to represent the societal expectations that is put on girls of that time period and the music to represent their safe space within their home. That ticking pops up throughout the play and gets progressively faster as Beth gets sicker and the outside world forces the girls the face society's expectations.

Ripples - Kurtis Parks (Clock Edit)
Hampstead Heath - Moments (Clock Edit)
The Pain of Losing Love - Kurtis Parks (Clock Edit)
Beth's Collapse
Near the end of show, Beth is at her sickest. She cares deeply for her family, and when they start to fight with each other, it hurts her as well. After a huge argument, Beth feels extremely overwhelmed by the state of her family and her illness has a sudden resurgence. This sound was meant to serve as an insight as to what was going on in Beth's head at the time. I visited a rehearsal to record the argument between Jo and Amy, as that was the climax of their rocky sisterhood.
Photo: Rick Malkin
Photo: Rick Malkin
The Ball
This was the hardest scene to pull music from as we wanted it to be authentic music you would find in ballroom's of the Civl War time period. I also wanted the pieces to be full orchestra or band as opposed to the piano found in the houses. This waltz was found early on so the cast could learn a dance of the time period to it.

Byerly Waltz - Spare Parts
Custom Piano Cues
The toughest part about Little Women were the specific piano songs the script specified. The March sister's theme was Battle Hymn of the republic that was both played and sung throughout the show. I worked with a pianist help record these cues for the performer's to play along with on stage. He assisted in helping me curate the sound of both the "broken piano keys" and the fixed one of their upright household piano.
Fixed Keys
Broken Keys
Victory March
Battle Hymn of the Republic
Broken Hark the Herald Angels Sing
Fixed Hark the Herald Angels Sing
Photo: Rick Malkin
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