In the fall of 2019, the Office of Residential Life and Learning unintentionally created a lasting friendship. As Alexandra Everbach and Lucy Morrison moved into their respective singles in Carmichael Hall, they were without a doubt excited to meet new people. Though first-year interactions with strangers can often feel awkward and forced, this was not the case for Everbach and Morrison. They had something very special in common that served as an instantaneous spark of connection: a mutual love of Louisa May Alcott’s famous novel “Little Women.”
The two new friends prided themselves on their admiration for its many contemporary and reenvisioned interpretations — though they admit to being the fondest of the 1994 Winona Ryder adaptation. These two also shared a love of the stage musical, which features music by Jason Howland, lyrics by Mindi Dickstein and a book by Allan Knee. In fact, these Class of 2023 graduates loved this story so much that they directed their very own production of “Little Women” during their senior spring semester.
Morrison recalls first meeting Everbach over Instagram.
“We were talking about where we were from. And I was like, ‘I’m from Concord, Mass.,’” Morrison said. “And Alexandra was like, ‘Well, I’m from Dallas, but I’ve been to Concord.’ And I’m like, ‘How have you been to Concord? You’re from Texas,’ and she’s like, ‘Well, my favorite book is written there. It’s ‘Little Women.’”
From this moment, the two found a niche in their friendship that would grow into a fully formed musical production.
Getting to put on a rendition of the show that meant so much to them was by no means easy. The duo of directors faced many logistical challenges when it came to mounting their production on the stage. But after a community vote from Torn Ticket II, Tufts’ student-run and student-led theater group, “Little Women” was approved.
The duo of directors then had to secure the rights from the company that licenses productions of “Little Women,” Music Theatre International.
“The rights took forever to get because there were a few productions close to us,” Everbach explained. “We were about to call it quits. The day that we were about to be like, ‘OK, we give up, the show might not happen because we only have three more weeks and we’re about to go on spring break,’ we got them.”
With the newly acquired rights and the ASEAN Auditorium as a venue, the show began to come together. Everbach and Morrison were wowed by the talent of their cast, which was notably made up of underclassmen alone.
Morrison loved working with her cast: “I think they really wanted to be a part of something that was such a passion project. We cared so much. We’re so loud about how much we love the show. And they just worked so hard,” Morrison said.
This production brings a special sense of closure to the Tufts careers of Everbach and Morrison. The show’s subject matters of love, independence, hope, grief and joy were all very real to the directors. As the curtain closes on their time at Tufts, they take a piece of “Little Women” with them. When asked what lines or moments from the show resonate with them after the production, they took a moment to speak about how the conclusion of the production and the conclusion of their time at Tufts were beautifully in tandem with one another.
Morrison remarked on the production’s glorious outcome.
“‘As unexpected as can be / Astonishing.’ That’s what [Jo March] sings at the end of ‘The Fire Within Me,’” Morrison said. “The odds were so stacked against us, but we made it work. And it was astonishing. We got incredible feedback. We were so happy with [the show] to begin with, but the fact that so many people loved it and enjoyed it was just so fulfilling.”
Everbach, who performed the role of Meg March in her high school’s production of the same musical, now finds herself returning to the story she loves so much.
“The [line] that really got me when we were doing it this time was Beth’s line right before she goes into ‘Some Things Are Meant To Be.’” Everbach paused. “‘We grow up too fast.’ And so I think that’s a full circle moment. Four years later, I’m finishing college and I’m like, ‘Oh my God. … We grew up too fast.’”
As Everbach mentioned, the show beautifully prophesizes how “some things are meant to be.” The friendship and creative collaboration of seniors Everbach and Morrison seems to be one such thing; at Tufts, they will evermore be remembered as the astonishing women behind “Little Women.”