Review: LITTLE WOMEN THE MUSICAL at Reynolds Performance Hall

This sold out classic ran for one night only.

By: Feb. 23, 2024
Review: LITTLE WOMEN THE MUSICAL at Reynolds Performance Hall
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It was another sold out show at Reynolds Performance Hall, 223 Beatrice Powell St., in Conway, Friday, Feb. 16, for LITTLE WOMEN THE MUSICAL. With Book by Allan Knee, Music by Jason Howland, and Lyrics by Mindi Dickstein, this Louisa May Alcott classic, told through song and dance, entertained generations of March sister fans. 

Directed by Jeffrey B. Moss, with Choreography by Diane Laurenson and Presented by Big League Productions, the musical basically follows the storyline of the book. The story bounces back and forth from older New York Jo and younger Massachusetts Jo. In Massachusetts, the March sisters - Jo (Hannah Taylor), Meg (Rachel Pantazis), Amy (Noa Harris), and Beth (Camryn Hamm) - help out Marmee (Aaron Bower) while their father is away as Chaplain for the Army, who writes to the girls and calls them his little women. During this first winter, the girls take it upon themselves to make their own merry Christmas. Jo writes a play so they can perform it for the community, but first, they want a Christmas tree, so Jo cuts down a tree on Mr. Laurence’s (Chris Carsten) property. As he comes over to berate the deed, he has his nephew Laurie Laurence (Aathaven Tharmarajah) in tow, who quickly becomes friends with the girls. Time passes, and Jo and Meg go to a dance, where Meg meets Laurie’s tutor John Brooke (Aaron Robinson).  

Review: LITTLE WOMEN THE MUSICAL at Reynolds Performance Hall
Photo Credit: Pamela Raith Photography
Aria Entertainment Production

By the second act, Marmee has to go to father when he is sick, and Amy has to go stay with Aunt March (Moriel Behar), who was planning on taking Jo to Europe, but ended up taking Amy instead. Fast forward to New York Jo, and she is frustrated that she keeps getting turned down by publishers. Living in a boarding house, she meets Professor Bhaer (Mychal Leverage) and forms an odd friendship that turns into romance later in the musical. Their lives play out, some sadness, some happy, but they all end up appreciating being together in the end.   

In this version, the company added in characters for Jo’s Operatic Tragedies-Clarissa (Emily Kate Decker), Braxton (Tristan Caldwell), Rodrigo (Elijah Pearson-Martinez), and Hag (Sami Kennett). This incorporation was an entertaining way to play out Jo’s stories and a creative way to have sets moved off and on the stage. I loved it!  

Review: LITTLE WOMEN THE MUSICAL at Reynolds Performance Hall
Photo Credit: Pamela Raith Photography
Aria Entertainment Production

The cast was amazing! For a smaller touring cast, they really filled the stage and kept the interest of the audience. By the end, we were all invested, and audible responses from the balcony could be heard during certain scenes.  

Hannah Taylor had so much energy for Jo. From any seat in the house, you could feel her excitement and zeal for life. She exuded strong emotions and led the story with ease. Her relationship with Leverage’s Bhaer was dramatic, and they played well off of each other. The same can be said for Jo’s relationship with Behar’s Aunt March. I loved how unapologetically aristocratic she presented her character.  

Noa Harris, Rachel Pantazis, and Camryn Hamm were very specific with their respective sister. Harris’ Amy was bubbly, yet proper, and was super cute when matched with Tharmarajah’s Laurie. Pantazis’ Meg emanated maturity and her pairing with Robinson’s Brooke was an obvious fit. Hamm’s Beth was heartbreaking, but I loved her unlikely friendship with Carsten’s Mr. Laurence, who surprisingly had a little spunk to him.

Review: LITTLE WOMEN THE MUSICAL at Reynolds Performance Hall
Photo Credit: Pamela Raith Photography
Aria Entertainment Production

This musical has quite a few dramatic ballads. Marmee has the real teary ones, and Hamm had excellent control over the flowing arcs. “Could You” between Jo and March, and “Delighted” with the March women were both enjoyable, but the one I sung going out of the theatre was “Off to Massachusetts,” which was a cutsy number between Beth and Mr. Laurence.  

Speaking of music, I do love a live orchestra. Though they were not where the audience could see, their notes filled the auditorium. The LITTLE WOMEN Orchestra consisted of Conductor/Keyboard 1-Thomas Fosnocht, Reed 1-Megan Howell, Reed 2-Olivia Dorschel, Trumpet-Gumaro Gomez Jr, Violin-Ayna Ivanova, Cello-Brynn Grambow, String Bass-AC Muench, and Drums/Percussion-Sal Mazzotta.  

The cast has taken a small break and will resume in Key West, Florida March 5th. That sounds like a great place to catch the show if you missed it in Conway. For more information, visit their website at https://littlewomentour.com.  

For tickets to the remainder of the shows coming to Reynolds Performance Hall, go to their website at uca.edu/reynolds. 

Review: LITTLE WOMEN THE MUSICAL at Reynolds Performance Hall




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