Little Women: The Musical
by Tri-School Theatre
At its Thursday night open for “Little Women, The Musical,” Tri-School Theatre gave its loyal audience what it most adores: lively music, songs belted at top range, oh so eye-pleasing costumes and scenery, and dynamic talent to create non-stop entertainment. Several musical adaptations have been produced, but the cast and crew of Tri-School Theatre has tackled this version beautifully, complementing perfectly one of the most beloved American novels of all time.
Although the famed, somewhat feminist novel written by Louisa May Alcott details at length the joys and pains of teen girls growing toward womanhood, the musical — book by Allan Knee, score by Jason Howland and lyrics by Mindi Dickstein — is more like a flash-back of past events in the musical’s two acts. Alexandra Worden, a powerful singer, takes her star role as Jo through many memorable scenes, among them her very funny duet with the indomitable Aunt March, the wonderful Annabelle Soto. Alexandra’s Act 1 closer, “Astonishing,” and her Second Act song, “The Fire Within Me,” are tops and won lots of well-deserved applause on opening night.
The March girls quartet, “Our Finest Dreams,” was also a nice display of vocal talent. Superior acting ensues, all experienced actors individually who vividly color in their important roles. As does Vitoria Villalobos who shines with her rendition of “Here Alone,” one of the musical’s better constructed arias to detail Marmee’s longing for her absent husband. The girls’ father, who we never meet, is a chaplain away from his family to serve with the Union Army during America’s bloody Civil War.
The girls go through trials and stress, such as hearing their father is wounded, along with sweet Beth’s illness. Their world is changed, however, when they are introduced to their new, wealthy neighbor Mr. Laurence, his son “Laurie” and his tutor Mr. Brooke . The girls’ roles are strengthened by the supporting actors. Steve Wehner handles the role of Laurie with an assured composure, Patrick Aimone carries off the respected Mr. Laurence effortlessly and Dane Madrigal makes a dashing Mr. Brooke.
Other characters, such as Mrs. Kirk, portrayed strongly by Caitlyn Crawley, Clarissa, played confidently by Haley Coad, and Brandon Martinez as a comical, yet sensitive Professor Bhaer, round out the major characters.
The lively production deserves additional praise for Hillary Pearson’s artistic direction, Michael Lopez’s choreography, MaryAnn Villalobos and her crew for costume design, Chelsea Palumbo’s scenic work, Connor McGarahan’s lighting and Anne Vandenberg McClain’s musical direction.
Performed November 5 - 8, 2015
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