Clarion University Department of Theatre will present “Little Women, The Broadway Musical,” with a book by Allan Knee, lyrics by Mindi Dickstein and music by Jason Howland, at 8 p.m. Nov. 20-23 and at 2 p.m. Nov. 24 in Marwick-Boyd Little Theatre. Tickets are $12 for adults; $9 for children 12 and under; and free to Clarion University students with a valid ID. Tickets may be reserved by phone at 814-393-2787 or online at www.clarionuniversitytickets.com.
“Little Women” is based on Louisa May Alcott’s 1869 novel. Jo March, her three sisters, Meg, Beth and Amy, and their beloved mother, Marmee, are left at home in Concord, Mass., while their father is serving in the Union Army during the Civil War. The play spans nearly three years in the lives of the girls, as they make the transition from children to young women. Jo, an aspiring writer, spends her time writing melodramatic plays, which are acted out by her sisters and friends as part of the action of the play.
In a departure from tradition, the musical will be presented in the Little Theatre, providing the audience with a far more intimate experience than would be possible in the large auditorium. With a small cast of 11, “Little Women” puts the emphasis on its story and characters.
“This isn't your typical spectacle musical where every number is outrageous and the scenes don't matter; it is just as much about the scenes as it is about the musical numbers,” said Maggie Mae McWade, who plays Marmee in the production. “I think that is what really sets this apart from every other production of ‘Little Women.’”
The central role of Jo March will be played by senior Hayley Bowders, as fulfillment of her capstone graduation project for her bachelor of fine arts degree in theatre.
“Everyone should come see ‘Little Women,’ because the show is heartwarming and delightful. I'm enjoying working with a great cast,” Bowders said.
“Little Women” is also the BFA capstone project for senior Becca Sears, who plays the role of Beth.
In addition to the public performances, the cast will present a special matinee performance for an invited audience of area high school students.
The production is directed by Robert Bullington, assistant professor in theatre, with musical direction by Dr. Brent Register, professor in music, and choreography by Brittany Tague, Verona. Scenery is designed by Hank Bullington, Clarion, costumes by Myra Bullington, instructor in theatre, lighting by Kendyl Yarzabek, Warren, and properties by John Dobson, Mercer. The production stage manager is Megan Bodish, Fombell, assisted by Melissa Franklin, Pittsburgh. Matthew Catledge, Philadelphia, is the assistant director. The technical director is Edward J. Powers, asssociate professor in theatre. Joining Register in the musical ensemble are violinist Karen Spuck, Shippenville, percussionist Dave Hepler, Clarion, and bassist Brendan Holly, Dix Hills, NY.
Cast members are: Hayley Bowders, Waynesboro, as Jo March; Samantha Moon, Kennett Square, as Meg; Becca Sears, Damascus, Md., as Beth; Caitlin Webster, Plum, as Amy; Maggie McWade, Fleming, as Marmee; Andrew Stalder, Warren, as Theodore “Laurie” Lawrence; Jack O’Keeffe, Clifton Heights; as Mr. Lawrence; Amanda Backus, Nicholson, as Aunt March; John Rose, Clarion, as Professor Bhaer; Sam Atwell, St. Marys, as John Brooke; and Chloe Saccol, Johnstown, who is also the dramaturge for the production, as Mrs. Kirk. The understudies for the production are Christian Ryan, Lansdale; Gabrielle Kashner, Columbia; Zane Perkins, Greenville; Lexie Anderson, Garnet Valley; and Brittany Tague, Verona.
Clarion University is a high-achieving, nationally recognized, comprehensive university that delivers a personal and challenging academic experience.