BWW Article: Spotlight On the making of Eagle Theatre's LITTLE WOMEN

By: Jan. 22, 2018
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Little Women is recognized as one of the best-loved classic children's stories, transcending the boundaries of time and age, making it as popular with adults as it is with young readers. Bringing the passion of the book penned by Louisa May Alcott to a staged musical requires a lot of talent and heart to capture a live audience. Eagle's Co- Artistic director Ted Wioncek III has a flair and a history for pulling a great deal of emotion out of their productions as shown in his stellar direction of Frank Wildhorn's The Civil War; The Musical and Barrymore nominated Jon and Jen just to name a few.

BWW Article:  Spotlight On  the making of Eagle Theatre's LITTLE WOMEN First we have the second eldest March sister Jo March, the impulsive, tom boy, always- ready-for an- adventure played by the lovely Kimberly Suskind-Wioncek. Kim is no stranger to the Eagle Theatre. She is thrilled to be portraying her childhood literary hero in this epic production! Eagle Theatre credits include; John & Jen (Jen), Godspell, Heathers! (Ms. Fleming), Bonnie & Clyde (Blanche Barrow), The Civil War (Sarah McEwen), Footloose (Rusty). www.KimberlySuskind.com

BWW Article:  Spotlight On  the making of Eagle Theatre's LITTLE WOMEN Next we have Will S. Connell who plays Theodore "Laurie" Laurence the boy-next-door/ playful playmate to the March girls and happy to be part of their world. Most recently seen at the Eagle in the Barrymore nominated Godspell. Other Eagle credits include Next to Normal (Henry), Assassins (John Hinckley Jr.), and Into the Woods (Jack). www.willsconnell.com

BWW Article:  Spotlight On  the making of Eagle Theatre's LITTLE WOMEN Tim Rinehart (Professor Bhaer) is thrilled be returning the Eagle Theatre. Previous productions include The Fantasticks (El Gallo), Peter and the Starcatcher (Black Stache, Barrymore Nomination), Godspell (Judas), Heathers (Ram's Dad, Barrymore Nomination) and more. This year, Tim will star in NOIR, an Eagle Theatre Original World Premiere production, which he wrote.

I caught up with these cast members to get their take on this timeless piece, which has graced stages for many years.

Q: What is your process when working on a big epic musical such as Little Women?

Kimberly: I start with spending a long time before the actual rehearsal process studying and reading anything and everything I can get my hands on! With Little Women, I read the book and watched the movies. I wanted to get as familiar with the story and the characters as possible. The next goal is to try to be proactive and get off book with the dialogue and the music. I find entering rehearsal day one with a great understanding of my material makes for a much more fun and efficient process!

Will: With Laurie in particular, Louisa May Alcott makes several references to his mood swings and occasional bouts of depression, what I see as kind of an early bipolar diagnosis. The musical definitely presents a more rose-colored portrayal of him, one that has a tendency to sterilize him a bit. So I'm really hoping to inject some more of the real three-dimensional Laurie of the novel into the musical. He's lost his parents, he lives a somewhat sheltered life, and he experiences some heartbreaking disappointment. And yet he is also optimistic, sweet, and excitable! Rounding him out with information from the novel helps fill in the musical's sketch of his character, which really helps modernize what might otherwise be a bit of a staid story.

Tim: For the most part, I treat the same way as any other show. I study the script and make sure I continually check in with my director and my scene partners. I'm lucky enough to be surrounded by a really incredible cast. More often than not, I'm finding myself enjoying watching what's happening on stage rather than actually being part of it.

BWW Article:  Spotlight On  the making of Eagle Theatre's LITTLE WOMEN All three Eagle actors share their experience of having worked with Co-Artistic Director Ted Wioncek III who will bring Little Women to life.

Kimberly: Ted has incredible vision. Everything he does is very specific and he has such a knack for pulling the most beautiful moments out of the text, often moments that may otherwise be overlooked. His productions are always visually stunning, as well.

Will: Working with Ted over the past few years has allowed me to experiment with a lot onstage. He definitely trusts his actors to try out whatever their instincts might be before settling on the final product.

Tim: Working with Ted is sort of like being given a jigsaw puzzle without the finished product on the front of the box. When you first start it can be a bit jarring. But then as more and more pieces come together, you begin to see the big picture. And you get a sense of pride from being part of it. Ted really has incredible instincts and he never does anything halfway.

LITTLE WOMEN opens on January 24 and will run at the Eagle Theatre, Hammonton NJ on selected dates through February 25. For more information and tickets visit www.theeagletheatre.org or call 609.704.5012.

Photos: Courtesy of The Eagle Theatre and Chris Miller



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