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"We March women are invincible" - Broadway's Little Women arrives in Chicago

The musical incarnation of Louisa May Alcott's novel arrived at the Cadillac Palace Theatre Tuesday night. This same beloved story of the March sisters' affectionate rough and tumble relationship warmed the hearts of the youngest girls in the crowd. Based on Alcott's own experiences, Little Women – The Broadway Musical, recounts the coming of age story of four sisters and their bond with their adored mother, the girls call Marmie. Set during the Civil War this musical's issues are timeless and enduring and still ring true today.

Maureen McGovern is reprising the role of Marmie which she originated on Broadway and received a Drama Desk nomination. Ms. McGovern is the true anchor of this production. Delivering her lines and belting the often less then memorable ballads like a true professional. Supporting Ms. McGovern is the Denver native and Northwestern graduate Kate Fisher as the fiery Jo, Renee Brna as Meg, Autumn Hurlbert playing the ill-fated Beth, and Gwen Hollander as youngest sister Amy. This interpretation truly focuses on Jo March and many a scene rests on the shoulders of Ms. Fisher, who more often then not delivers with satisfaction. Louisa Flanningam performs the role of cantankerous Aunt March and is quite lovable as the old coot.

Despite the title "Little Woman" the men supporting these leading ladies are quality performers themselves. Robert Stattel is also reprising the character he originated on Broadway, Mr. Laurence. Stephen Patterson plays Laurie, the March sisters' close friend and neighbor. And Michael Minarik plays Meg's love interest. While largely supporting roles these men and their talent add just enough balance against the zealous March women.

It is unfortunate that you do not get very much of a chance to fall in love with the other March sisters. While it seems like the talent is present this opportunity for the audience is not. Wherein lies the problem. The book by Allan Knee often fails to deliver the true emotional charge brought forward by Alcott's original work. That challenge would meet any book writer conquering such a classical piece of American literature however it appears to be especially frail in this incidence.

After 137 regular performances on Broadway and this successful nationwide tour, Little Women – The Musical, has the tools to entertain – beautiful sets, gorgeous costumes and fine talent. However, unless you have read the Alcott classic recently or many times before, this musical adaptation is missing that certain something that would make a lasting and indelible mark on your musical memory.

 



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From This Author Aimee A. Pine

While Aimee A. Pine does not have your typical theatrical background her love of the stage is hardly diminished. A 1999 graduate of Loyola University, (read more...)