After nearly two months of rehearsing, Gilbert High School’s musical production of Little Women is a mere four days away from hitting the stage!

The 18-member cast — with another 15 students as part of the ensemble and many helping out with production — will step onto the stage in front of a live audience on Friday and Saturday inside the Gilbert High School Auditorium. The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. both evenings, with a curtain time of 7 p.m.  Tickets will cost $6 and can be purchased at the door or in advance HERE. All seating is general admission.

Based on Louisa May Alcott’s life, Little Women follows the adventures of sisters Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy March. Jo, who will be played by Jessica Stoker, is trying to sell her stories for publication, but publishers aren’t interested. Her friend, Professor Bhaer, who will be played by TJ Barbier, tells her that she has to write more about herself and so, begrudgingly, Jo weaves the story of herself and her sisters, and their experience growing up in Civil War America.

Musical director Zach Hackbarth says Little Women embodies the complete theatrical experience and those in attendance won’t be disappointed.

“Most people are surprised to hear that Little Women has a musical adaptation since the most popular versions of it are obviously the original book and the various movie and TV versions,” Hackbarth said. “But when I stumbled upon it this summer after exploring a variety of other options for the musical, I knew that was the best choice because it fit the current students in our theatre and choir programs so well.”

Hackbarth says rehearsals have gone well since the cast was finalized in early September. Vocal music teacher Tanner Stutzman also plays a vital role in the production, as he and Hackbarth split time working with the students to prepare for the show.

“We’ve got a great team of actors and crew as always, but this year we get a full bit band,” Stoker said. “Mr. Stutzman and the rest of them are doing such a good job with the music and I think the songs are going to be really fun.”

Said Arfa Firoz, who plays Aunt March: “I’m most excited about putting on an amazing show with some immensely talented people. Everyone has worked so hard on the show and I can’t wait for the audience to see it.”

In addition to the countless hours put into perfecting the performance by the actors, Hackbarth says the students who work behind the scenes are just as vital to the production.

“I start off with the hardest-working student production team I could ever ask for, which includes Vanessa Rivas-Pena and Lane Maxson as stage managers, as well as Taryn Limoges as a dramaturg/rehearsal prompter,” he said. “We also have a team of 16 students on the crew, doing things like running lights, adjusting sound levels, moving props and furniture, or helping with costumes and make-up. All of them help the show run seamlessly.

“When it comes down to it, I just want everyone attending to appreciate how much of a collaborative effort it is to put on a show like this, and that the people they don’t see are equally as vital to the success of the production as those who are on stage.”


Jo March (2nd oldest sister): Jessica Stoker
Meg March (oldest sister): Anna Tallman
Beth March (2nd youngest sister): Carly Dolan
Amy March (youngest sister): Jenna White
Marmee March (mother of sisters): Jamie Anderson
Aunt March (great-aunt to sisters): Arfa Firoz
Professor Bhaer: TJ Barbier
Mr. Laurence: Evan Goetz
Laurie Laurence: Aldo Escalera
Mr. John Brooke: Charlie Mortimer
Mrs. Kirk: Ella Hatfield
Clarissa: Isabel Platts
Braxton: Spencer Weydert
Rodrigo: David Dunn
Knight: Maks Koziel
Hag: Sophie Chitty
Troll: Lydia Weiler
Rodrigo 2: Leah Mostek

Kelsey Ayers, Alyse Beyer, Jo Heimer, Kaylee Higgins, Megan Lennon, Makayla Mills, Bri Olson, Kaya Robison-Engeman, Emrick Ryan, Cece Schwager, Andrew Soupir, Audrey Spiess, Joanna Stoker, Danielle Vogel, and Olivia White.