Little Women: The Broadway Musical
by Valley Youth Theatre

Jessica Moffitt, Carrie Braver, Hannah Bentley, Mallory Fox, and Kaitlyn Hickey Louisa May Alcott became a household name with the 1868 publication of her landmark work Little Women, a semi-autobiographical tale about the imaginative tomboy Jo March and her three sisters who come of age during the Civil War. It’s been a classic for nearly 140 years, and just two years ago was turned into a somewhat short-lived Broadway musical by Allan Knee, Jason Howland, and Mindi Dickstein starring Tony-winner Sutton Foster as Jo.

And now Arizona is seeing its first homegrown production of Little Women: The Broadway Musical with this production at Valley Youth Theatre – a theatre currently basking in the success of its alumni. Max Crumm recently won the role of Danny Zuko in Broadway’s Grease on the show You’re the One That I Want, and Jordin Sparks is one of the clear favorites in this season’s America Idol. Clearly VYT still has some more great talents coming through their ranks, as this cast is chock full of fantastic voices and performers who combine for a nice ensemble piece.

Everything depends heavily on the character of Jo, and Kaitlyn Hickey brings good personality and vitality to the role, beginning as the outspoken, melodramatic tomboy with huge ambitions, and then getting even better as the show grows more serious in the second act. That’s when she gets the news of her younger sister Beth’s illness. Fourteen-year-old Carrie Braver is genuinely loving and sweet, but also playful and real. Kaitlyn and Carrie’s duet Some Things Are Meant To Be, sung as Jo is trying to comfort her dying sister, is the heart of this story, and done so beautifully and powerfully that the heartbreak lingers throughout the remainder of the show. Which helps make Jo’s later solo, The Fire Within Me, all the more compelling.

Mallory Fox, as the more romantically inclined sister Meg, is charmingly shy, nervous, but eventually excited about the party that lands her an engagement to John Brooke (Bradley Keene) with which Jo is not at all pleased, wanting to keep all her sisters to herself. Jessica Moffitt is the young, pouty, materialistic sister Amy who can be an excellent brat when motivated. Hannah Bentley is a steady, motherly Marmee.

Kaitlyn Hickey, D. Justin Carpenter, Mallory Fox, and Bradley KeeneAnd, yes, there are also a few guys in the show. As Professor Bhaer, Christopher M. Kelley is nicely stiff, awkward, and beguiled around Jo. The always-impressive Justin Rapp is the old, cranky Mr. Laurence who gets melted down by Beth. And D. Justin Carpenter is a likeable Laurie, the grandson of Mr. Laurence, who develops a crush on Jo and, in one scene, becomes one of the sisters (so to speak). He also helps lead the way in the amusing reenactment by the ensemble of one of Jo’s “blood-and-guts” stories that proves the entire cast, right down to their hags (Elizabeth Paffenbarger) and trolls (Sydney Marie Hawes), have outstanding voices.

Director Bobb Kooper has everything else working as well, with fine work by the orchestra under the direction of Mark Fearey, the characters outfitted in Karol Cooper’s beautiful 19th-century costumes, and a comfortable house setting by Dori Brown where the little women grow up to face together the pains and enjoy the beauties of life.

Performs March 30 - April 15, 2007.

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

Mrs. Kirke: Lindsay Armstrong
Marmee: Hannah Bentley
Beth March: Carrie Braver
Laurie/Rodrigo: D. Justin Carpenter
Meg March: Mallory Fox
Troll: Sydney Marie Hawes
Jo March: Kaitlyn Hickey
John Brooke/Braxton: Bradley Keene
Professor Bhaer: Christopher M. Kelley
Clarissa: Rachael Killeen
Amy March: Jessica Moffitt
Hag: Elizabeth Paffenbarger
Aunt March: Megan Power
Mr. Laurence: Justin Rapp
Knight: Zachary Tatum
Rodrigo 2: Ashley Waggoner

Director/Choreographer: Bobb Cooper
Music Direction: Mark Fearey
Costume Design: Karol Cooper
Scenic Design: Dori Brown
Lighting Design: Daniel Davisson
Sound Design: Nick Dressler


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