Many flights between Los Angeles and the Bay Area allowed recent Palo Alto High School graduate Arielle Fishman to maintain her college studies while playing a major role in the current TheatreWorks production of "Little Women."
Learning she'd won the part of Amy, the youngest of the four March sisters, the day before her fall classes began at the University of Southern California, Fishman cut her course-load to half time. She commuted between her USC classes and rehearsals in Palo Alto.
"I've been flying back and forth to L.A. for my exams and it worked out," said the theater major, who was involved in school and community theater throughout her years at Paly, where she graduated in 2011.
Fishman, who grew up a TheatreWorks fan, noticed in February that the company planned a holiday musical production of "Little Women." She auditioned for the play in August, winning the part of Amy.
The dark-haired actress is hard to recognize under Amy's blond ringlets, and does not appear to share the affectations of the character she plays in the musical.
"Amy has great ambition and she's frustrated that her family is poor, that her father's away and that her older sisters get all the attention," Fishman said of her character.
"When she goes to Europe with her Aunt March, who's wealthy, she returns home very satisfied with everything.
"I think she's a funny girl because she doesn't think she's funny. She thinks she's being completely reasonable and rational, and just that everybody else doesn't understand her."
Through the show, said Fishman, she learned that "even the characters who are not immediately the warmhearted, beloved characters really do have hearts and, beneath the surface, love very much and want to be loved."
Little Women runs at Lucie Stern Theatre from Dec. 4 through Jan. 4.