On Stage: Little Women, the Musical

Feb 12, 2018

Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott, is a well-loved Civil War-era novel that has been adapted for stage and screen again and again. 

The character of Jo, based on Alcott herself, has been played by silent film stars Minna Grey and Dorothy Bernard. Other actors who have played Jo include Katherine Hepburn, June Allyson, Winona Ryder, and, most recently, Maya Hawke portrayed the character for the BBC adaptation in 2017.

The musical version of Little Women features music by Jason Howard, with lyrics by Mindi Dickson, and book by Allan Knee. In the original production of the musical, Jo was played by Sutton Foster, whose performance earned her a nomination for a Tony award, as well as nominations from Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk.

If your goal is wholesome family entertainment, this might be your means to that end, but if you are expecting a faithful adaptation of the novel, you won't find that here. Alcott's story is truncated to allow room for musical numbers, and a melodrama within the musical, which features the characters in vaguely corresponding roles. The editing of plot points changes the story, as well as the characters and their relationships with each other, with the effect being something like an Impressionist collage—not quite the original image, but rather, an reinterpretation of that image.

Little Women the musical is onstage at Wilner Auditorium from March 1st to March 4th.

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