Photo Flash: TheatreWorks' LITTLE WOMEN Opens in a Flurry
On Saturday, December 7, TheatreWorks opened the Broadway musical "Little Women" to an enthusiastic, sold-out crowd in Palo Alto, CA. After the performance, attendees emerged into the courtyard of the Lucie Stern Theatre to find snow - make with theatre magic! - followed by a champagne reception and meet-and-greet with the cast. Check out photos below by David Allen.
TheatreWorks, the nationally acclaimed theatre of Silicon Valley, celebrates the holidays with four precocious New England sisters in LITTLE WOMEN, a heartwarming musical directed by TheatreWorks Artistic Director Robert Kelley. Beloved by six generations of readers, the March sisters come of age in this exhilarating Broadway musical adaptation of Louisa May Alcott''s cherished 1860s novel. Overflowing with laughter, tears, and memorable songs, LITTLE WOMEN follows feisty aspiring writer Jo, traditional Meg, soft-spoken Beth, and vivacious Amy on their exuberant journey of personal discovery, romance, heartbreak, and enduring sisterhood. Due to high demand, TheatreWorks has pre-extended this holiday delight through January 4, 2014, adding an extra week of performances. LITTLE WOMEN plays December 4, 2013 - January 4, 2014 (press opening December 7) at TheatreWorks at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto. For tickets and information the public may visit www.theatreworks.org or call (650) 463-1960.
Published in 1868, Louisa May Alcott''s novel Little Women is based on Alcott''s and her sisters'' coming of age in Civil War New England. With their father away fighting in the war, Jo, Meg, Amy, and Beth must keep their household running with the help and guidance of their mother, called Marmee. The March sisters find joy in life''s small details and endure twists of fortune - Jo sells her hair to facilitate Marmee''s trip to be with her ill husband, Meg becomes engaged, Jo chooses her sisters over a potential suitor, Beth falls ill, and Jo moves away to begin life as a writer. Even through squabbles, challenges, and heartache, the sisters'' unwavering friendship and loyalty help them to fulfill their dreams.
Little Women''s March sisters have continued to enthrall generations of young readers, sparking many popular adaptations for the screen and stage. The latest adaptation of Louisa May Alcott''s timeless story, Broadway musical LITTLE WOMEN brings the March sisters to a new generation of theatergoers, offering a slice of Victorian family life set to a soaring musical score.
Novelist Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) grew up in Massachusetts, educated by her father as well as through visits to Ralph Waldo Emerson''s library and excursions into nature with Henry David Thoreau. Though her family wasn''t wealthy, Alcott dreamed of achieving independence, earning her own way without depending on a man to care for her. After an early career successfully writing poetry and short stories, she published Little Women, her first novel. The book, along with its sequels Little Men and Jo''s Boys, were instant critical and commercial successes, and continue to be read and loved by generations of children and adults alike.
For this heartwarming holiday show, TheatreWorks welcomes Broadway and television star Elizabeth Ward Land as "Marmee." She has appeared on Broadway in Scandalous, Memphis, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Passion, and City of Angels; Off-Broadway in performances at Manhattan Theatre Club, Lincoln Center, and The Master Theatre; and regionally at Pasadena Playhouse, Musical Theatre West, The Old Globe, New Lyric Festival, and more. Television credits include Boy Meets Girl, Boardwalk Empire, and Young Adult. In her first role at TheatreWorks is Emily Koch as "Jo," a recent Carnegie Mellon graduate, whose favorite past roles include "Jo" in Little Women, "Millie" in Thoroughly Modern Millie, "The Leading Player" in Pippin, and "Eponine" in Les Miserables. Sharon Rietkerk, as "Meg," was last seen at TheatreWorks as "Sylvia Plath" in the 2013 New Works Festival''s Mrs. Hughes and as "Rose Lennox" in The Secret Garden. Other credits include productions at San Jose Repertory Company, Center REPertory Company, 42nd St Moon, Willows Theatre Company, Diablo Theatre Company, and Lamplighters Music Theater, among others. Julia Belanoff makes her TheatreWorks debut as "Beth," and has been seen in productions at SF Playhouse, Pear Avenue Theatre, Custom Made Theatre, and Coastal Repertory Theatre, among others. Also appearing for the first time on TheatreWorks'' stage is Palo Alto native Arielle Fishman as "Amy," seen in productions at University of Southern California and Hillbarn Theatre.
Also featured are Matt Dengler as "Laurie," seen on Broadway in A Little Night Music; Off-Broadway in Avenue Q, Harold and Maude, and The Fantasticks; and regionally in productions at La Jolla Playhouse, New York Musical Festival, City Theatre Company, Pioneer Theater Company, and Syracuse Stage, among others; and Christopher Vettel as "Professor Bhaer," seen on tour in the 30th Anniversary National Tour of Annie and the 2nd National Tour of Sunset Boulevard with Petula Clark; regionally in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and in shows at Stages St. Louis and Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival; and Off-Broadway in Cactus Flower, Wanda's World, and Flight of the Lawnchair Man. Joining them are Elizabeth Palmer ("Aunt March/Mrs. Kirk"), who was featured at TheatreWorks in A Civil War Christmas and the workshop of Andrew Lippa's Asphalt Beach; has toured nationally in the title role of Sweet Charity and internationally with The Best of Broadway; and appeared in the 50th anniversary production of Pal Joey at Goodspeed Opera and in productions at American Musical Theatre of San Jose and B Street Theatre, among others. Richard Farrell ("Mr. Laurence"), last featured at TheatreWorks in A Christmas Memory, has performed on stages throughout the country including Seattle Repertory Theatre, Cleveland Playhouse, ALLIANCE THEATRE, Intiman Theatre, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, San Francisco Opera, Center REPertory Company, and off-Broadway with the Pearl Theatre Company. Mr. Farrell was a company member with Alabama Shakespeare Festival for five seasons where he was an associate artist, and a company member of Oregon Shakespeare Festival for twelve seasons. Rounding out the cast is Justin Buchs as "John Brooke," who has appeared in productions at San Jose Repertory Theatre, Broadway By The Bay, and the Lucille Lortel Theater, among others.
Alan Knee (Book) has written for the stage and film. The film Finding Neverland, starring Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet, is based on his play The Man Who Was Peter Pan. His other works include Syncopation, Shmulnik''s Waltz, Santa Anita ''42, The Jazz Age, and Sholem Aleichem Lives, which toured with Theodore Bikel. Little Women earned him a Richard Rodgers Musical Theatre Award. Knee is a graduate of the Yale Drama School and a founding member of the WorkShop Theater Company.
Jason Howland (Music) was nominated for a "Best Orchestrations" Drama Desk Award for his work on Little Women. Also the music director and conductor for the long-running Broadway musical Jekyll & Hyde, musical supervisor for Broadway''s The Scarlet Pimpernel and The Civil War, the final music director for Broadway''s Les Miserables, and music director for Broadway''s Taboo, Howland premiered his play Blessing in Disguise Off-Broadway in 2004. He is a graduate of Williams College with an honor''s degree in music compilation.
Mindi Dickstein (Lyrics) Recent projects include book and lyrics for Trip, an original musical commissioned by Playwrights Horizons; book for Toy Story - The Musical, with songs by Groovelily, for Disney Creative Entertainment; and book and lyrics for Nate the Great for Theatreworks USA. Her songs have been performed widely, most notably as part of Lincoln Center's American Songbook ("Hear and Now: Contemporary Lyricists") and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Other work includes Beasts and Saints, a musical comedy; Notes Across a Small Pond; The Existential Gourmet, a tragicomedy; Guadeloupe, a farce; The Falling Man, an opera in 13 minutes; and The Magic Cookie, a ten-minute musical. She has received playwriting fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, and has been honored with an ASCAP Bernice Cohen Award, a Jonathan Larson Foundation Award, a Second Stage Constance Klinsky Award for Excellence in Musical Theater, and a PEN International New Playwright Award (selected by Wendy Wasserstein).
The TheatreWorks holiday production of LITTLE WOMEN includes musical direction by William Liberatore, scenic design by Joe Ragey, costume design by Fumiko Bielefeldt, lighting design by Steven B. Mannshardt, and sound design by Jeff Mockus.
TheatreWorks Founding Artistic Director Robert Kelley directs LITTLE WOMEN. Kelley was honored as the Legacy Laureate of the 2012 Artist Laureate Awards by the Arts Council of Silicon Valley for his lifetime of artistic achievement. Kelley has also received the Bay Area Theater Critics Circle (BATCC) Paine Knickerbocker Award for lifetime achievement as well as BATCC Awards for directing TheatreWorks'' productions of Caroline, or Change; Ragtime; Rags; Another Midsummer Night; the West Coast Premiere of Jane Eyre; and the Sondheim classics Sunday in the Park with George; Pacific Overtures; Into the Woods; and Sweeney Todd. Additionally, he is the recipient of Bay Area Drama-Logue Awards for his direction of Pacific Overtures, Ah, Wilderness!, and Once in a Lifetime; and Back Stage West Garland Awards for his direction of Side Show and Sunday in the Park with George. Since founding TheatreWorks in 1970, Kelley has directed over 150 productions for the company.
With some 100,000 patrons per year, TheatreWorks has captured a national reputation for artistic innovation and integrity, often presenting Bay Area theatregoers with their first look at acclaimed musicals, comedies, and dramas, directed by award-winning local and guest directors, and performed by professional actors cast locally and from across the country. A home for artists developing new works, it was at TheatreWorks that Memphis, the 2010 Tony Award-winning musical that played on Broadway for three years before embarking on a 19 month national tour, was first workshopped and received its world premiere.
For information or to order tickets visit theatreworks.org or call (650) 463-1960
Emily Koch (who played 'Jo'), with Matt Dengler ('Laurie'), and costume designer Fumiko Bielefeldt at the opening night party
Larry Hambly, Artistic Director Robert Kelley, board member Anne Hambly, Managing Director Phil Santora, and Cristian Asher
The entire cast with director Robert Kelley
Cast member Arielle Fishman ('Amy') gets opening night flowers from producer Holly Ward
Emily Koch (who starred as 'Jo') with producers Tom and Sharon Kelley and Elizabeth Ward Land (her co-star 'Marme') at the opening night party