Review

Little Women
by Center Stage Productions

Louisa May Alcott’s timeless coming-of-age tale became a Broadway musical, opening with Sutton Foster as tomboy Jo who imagines creating fantastic stories while her sisters stay exactly as they are for all time.

Tiffini Lopez directs Center Stage Productions’ charming and impressive staging of the show, assisted by Tony Wood in designing the large sets that both look good and exude warmth, with Gia Kearns’ period costumes nicely completing the picture.

Infusing that picture with life is a very talented group – enough of them to have most of the roles split. On the day I attended, Shea Sailors was the singular Jo. A remarkable actress and vocalist, Shea nails the melodrama of her blood-and-guts stories, the tomboyish personality, and the yearning to hold onto the life she has in her youth. She also matures nicely as time slowly steals her former life away, as seen so poignantly in her duet with Beth of Some Things Are Meant to Be.

Joining her are her three sisters including ten-year-old Ava Parisi as the sweet Beth. Working with Kyle Williamson as their gruff, elderly neighbor Mr. Laurence, they amazingly and beautifully use their short duet Off to Massachusetts to build a deep and touching relationship. Twelve-year-old Bridget Stephenson is a particularly obnoxious Young Amy before growing into Jaime Ranejat who seems very much like what an Adult Amy would grow into. Julie Burlington makes the potentially passé role of older sister Meg humorous and charming as she enjoys the company of her sisters and looks to the company of the man she’ll marry (Robert Coe as Mr. Brooks).

A few other good performances include the nice vocals of Summer Blilnco as their mother Marmee, Ben Henson as a likeable and sympathetic Laurie dealing with unrequited love, Sam Robinson as the professor who befriends Jo (and gives a hilarious response when Marmee catches him kissing Jo), and Chrissy Wood as a grouchy Aunt March who shares a humorous scene with Jo as the latter awkwardly attempts to demonstrate some affection to her standoffish aunt.

The ensemble shines as dancers at the ball and in the blood-and-guts reenactments of Jo’s early stories, enthusiastically and amusingly choreographed (Andrea Shoquist) and portrayed by the actors as they depict Louisa May Alcott’s horror stories before she penned the semi-autobiographical Little Women.

Performed November 13 - 15, 2009

Rob Hopper
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Executive Director
National Youth Arts

~ Cast ~
 
Jo March: Shea Sailors
Marmee: Summer Blinco
Beth March: Ava Parisi
Laurie Laurence: Ben Henson
Meg March: Julie Burlington
Professor Bhaer: Sam Robinson
Young Amy March: Bridget Stephenson
Mr. Laurence: Kyle Williamson
Adult Amy March: Jaime Ranejat
Mr. Brooke: Robert Coe
Aunt March: Chrissy Wood
Mrs. Kirk: Maddie Simmons
Clarissa: Elena Crespo
Braxton: Matthew Levin
Rodrigo: Trevor Anderson
Hag: Rachel Berry
Troll: Angela Ortlief
Knight: Brandon Papineau
Rodrigo 2: Daniella Rufo
Mr. Felix: Riley Fisher
Helga: Lauren Plowy
Hannah: Hannah Magee
Hags:
Lauren Allvord
Rachel Berry
Monserrat Dabkowski
Hannah Magee
Jessica Pollock
Tinamarie Rufo
Trolls:
Zia Campagna
Angela Ortlief
Bridget Stephenson
Marie Trischman
Monks:
Riley Fisher
Daniel Levin
Ava Parisi
Lauren Plowy
Karissa Shoquist
Beach Dancers:
Tinamarie Rufo
Daniella Rufo
Ice Skaters/Ballroom Dancers/Beach Combers:
Lauren Allvord
Trevor Anderson
Rachel Berry
Zia Campagna
Elena Crespo
Monserrat Dabkowski
Riley Fisher
Daniel Levin
Matthew Levin
Hannah Magee
Angela Ortlieb
Brandon Papineau
Ara Parisi
Lauren Plowy
Jessica Pollock
Karissa Shoquist
Daniella Rufo
Tinamarie Rufo
Maddie Simmons
Bridget Stephenson
Chrissy Wood

Artistic and Musical Director: Tiffini Lopez
Choreographer: Andrea Shoquist
Costume Design: Gia Kearns
Sound Design: Lisa Robinson
Set & Lighting Design: Tiffini Lopez and Tony Wood
Stage Manager: Tony Wood
Assistant Choreographer: Marlene Ranejat

   

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