Women on Fire


Rebecca Meghani

The GC Theatre Department is everchanging with the diversity of students that enter the program every year. With the constant movement in the department, there comes a different pool of talent for the department to tap into with each performance that they put on. A fraction of the talent that comes from this department is the Music Theatre Scenes class that performs an annual concert based off musical theatre. This year, the theme was “Women on Fire,” where students performed scenes from the musicals “The Spitfire Grill,” “Little Women,” “Mean Girls” and “Six.”

The concert focused on the women presented in these musicals to tell their stories from a different perspective from the foreground of the main storyline.

“When you think about most musical theatre, women are there for the purpose of falling in love and I wanted to think outside the box,” said Dana Gorzelany-Mostak, director of the concert. “‘Six’ is essentially a reimagining of the life of Henry the Eighth. The point of the musical is that people tell Henry’s story and the women are the window decoration to his story but they are really talented, passionate, interesting women in their own right. The musical explores, ‘what if Henry wasn’t in the center, what if women were at the center?’”

The ideas showcased in these performances come from how women are viewed within the storylines of the musicals. The class took individual characters out from their purpose in the plot to showcase their desires and accomplishments that they have made as women.

“We took the concept of ‘women on fire’ that are dealing with passion and love but also their own path,” said Megan Ostrat, a senior music education major. “Like in ‘Little Women,’ we have Jo trying to find her way out as an independent woman, be a great writer but also the heartbreak back at home with her sister dying, things with Laurie and trying to navigate that world. They’re just a bunch of different, little perspectives of women and how different pathways our lives can go.”

With working on these performances, the students also gained a different perspective on the women showcased in these musicals.

“I would listen to the soundtracks and it was a fun thing to listen to,” said Anna Ogletree, a freshman music therapy major. “After performing it, getting to figure out that woman perspective, seeing the power within it and feeling the power within the music and the lyrics, I think my perspective did change a little bit on what the message is and how powerful that message is. It’s just about how women can have their own lives and their accomplishments and they don’t have to be defined by a man in their life.”

In creating the ideas behind the performances, the director and students wanted to portray a message by which songs and characters that they showed to the audience.

“I hope the audience took away that women can do what they want, that they can accomplish whatever they want to and that they don’t have to be held back or defined by stereotypes and standards,” Ogletree said. “Take away that honestly anyone can do what they want if they put their mind and heart to it. It’s trying to find your freedom and being yourself.”

Though musicals presented in “Women on Fire” all had differing plots from each other, there remains similar themes throughout that are showcased to amplify the voices and messages of the women in them through the students’ performances.

“When you get down to it, we all have a fundamental need to feel that our voices are being heard,” Gorzelany-Mostak said. “Each of these shows have different people going about their lives in different

ways but I think that’s the strong undercurrent in my opinion. In the end, they all have a song to sing and they want someone to hear it. You see these women trying to find a form where their voices are heard.”

With having a class of mostly dominated by women this year, the director wanted to put the students in women centered musicals where they are able to learn through embodying these roles of women because of the attributes that each of the characters have.

“The character of Jo is trying to find who Jo is and portraying that character, I found myself using some of her qualities in my life to go for my dreams and using her confidence and bravery with what I have going on in my life,” Ogletree said.

Each of these musicals had women with their own story that was kept in the background of the main plot that the GC director and performers felt needed to be told because of the message that it portrays. With the Music Theatre Scenes class changing yearly and creating each annual production around the people to showcase the talents that they have, there is the opportunity for the performers to keep presenting understated ideas and themes to the audience that highlight different perspectives on individual, musical stories through performances.