Josephine Davis is No Little Woman

By Claire Wilson

February 1, 2024

When Josephine Davis got the news that she would be playing Jo March in Little Women, she couldn’t have been happier. Surrounded by family who rallied around her in support, she says, “it was kind of like a family relationship moment because with the friends that I had, and all the women I had around me to be happy for me to get that sort of role was really nice.” 

Playing the role of Jo March is no easy task. With over 300 lines throughout the show, Jo is rarely off stage. Josephine has worked tirelessly to memorize her lines, practicing with Quizlet and running lines with friends every chance she gets. With just a few days until opening night, she’s feeling the pressure. This is one of Josephine’s most meaningful roles, and one she’s been hoping for for a long time. “I practically begged her [Ms. Kostecka] to do this play,” Josephine laughs, “I did really want Jo, and I knew I’d have to work quite a bit for it, but I’m very excited.” 

Josephine has been involved in musical theater since her sixth grade performance of Beauty and the Beast, but has been singing for as long as she can remember. She sang at talent shows and school performances all through elementary school, and has worked to build a distinguished musical repertoire. Last year, Josephine starred as Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family, so it’s not her first time playing a main role. This time, however, her role is a lot more personal. 

Photo credit: Erin Davis
The four March sisters (Photo credit: Erin Davis)
Jo sings Fire Within Me Photo credit: Erin Davis

It seems like a nice coincidence that Josephine has the same name as the character she is playing, but it turns out that Josephine’s name is closely tied to Jo March. Although she was partly named after the Josephines in her own family history, Josephine’s mom liked that the name also belonged to one of her favorite literary characters, Jo March. Josephine's parents waited until they met Josephine to name her, and once they did, it wasn’t a hard decision. Within hours of her birth, Josephine could hold her head up, and naming her after a bold and determined character was even more fitting. Josephine was the perfect name, both a familial tradition and an ode to a beloved character. 

Josephine read Little Women for the first time in seventh grade and has since read it more times than she can count. “I’ve never met another book that looked exactly like it,” she explains. “I just felt a nice little connection to it.” It’s easy to understand how Josephine relates to the bold and adventurous March sister. Like Jo, who cuts her hair to help her mother travel to see her sick father, and promises to make her sisters’ dreams come true when she becomes a famous writer, Josephine is similarly selfless and family oriented. While both are close with their families, they also have a taste for solitude. When Josephine started high school she says, “I became a little less shy and a little less caring of what people actually thought about me, which is nice. It’s a nice thought to have, but it can be a little lonely.” Caring less about others’ opinion of her has led her to spend less time with negative people, and during her junior year, she found a warm and inclusive community in drama club. She views her past moments of loneliness as something that made her stronger, like Jo March, who towards the end of the story says, “I am lonely, sometimes, but I dare say it's good for me.” 

Although both Josephines find comfort in being alone, they find much of their strength in the women that surround them. Little Women has long been acclaimed as a trailblazing feminist novel because of its bold women who defied the gender roles of the era. Jo March rejects marriage to pursue writing despite the pressures she faces to settle down and forget her dreams. Much like Jo, Josephine is also pursuing a male-dominated career, biomedical engineering. “I don’t think that she follows any stereotypical female norms,” says her mom, Erin, “for her career choices or the things that she’s pursuing in life and that’s exciting.” 

In the second half of the story, Jo decides to go to New York, where she works as a governess. There, Jo finds new adventures as she pursues her literary aspirations. A few years ago, Josephine took a trip of her own to New York with her mom. Erin watched as her daughter came alive in the big city, envisioning possibilities for her future. “I was watching her sort of transform into this new person and come alive in that city,” Erin recalls. “I’m excited to see what happens with her and finding her ‘New York.’” 

Beth and Jo share a moment in Some Things are Meant to be (Photo credit: Erin Davis)
Jo sings Astonishing (Photo credit: Erin Davis

This year, Josephine is facing a lot of big decisions: where to go to college, what to study, and what kind of life she wants to live after high school. These kinds of decisions are not something she takes lightly. She has applied to dozens of universities where she plans to study biomedical engineering. Josephine’s talent and dedicated work ethic has allowed her to succeed in some of Morro Bay High School’s toughest classes, like AP Physics and AP Calculus. On top of her heavy workload, she is also captain of the MBHS girl’s water polo team and president of the drama club. 

Josephine Davis is extraordinary. Through her awe inspiring passion and dedication, she has landed the starring role as a character who reflects the same fearlessness and enthusiasm that she has within herself. “My great adventure has begun,” she sings towards the end of act one, “I may be small but I've got giant plans to shine as brightly as the sun.” We are sure to see Josephine shine in her future as brilliantly as she does in this performance. 

"I may be small but I've got giant plans to shine as brightly as the sun"

Laurie sings Take a Chance on Me (Photo credit: Erin Davis) 
(Photo credit: Erin Davis)