BWW Interview: Nicole Stratton of LITTLE WOMEN - THE MUSICAL at Logos Theatre

BWW Interview: Nicole Stratton of LITTLE WOMEN - THE MUSICAL at Logos Theatre

A musical version of Louisa May Alcott's classic Little Women opens next week at Greenville, SC's Logos Theatre.
We asked director Nicole Stratton to share with BWW readers a little about the production. She told us about the beauty of the music, the challenges of trying to direct yourself on stage, and how her own childhood dreams resonate with this story.

BWW: First, off please tell us a little about the story as it's presented in the musical.

This story is such a classic tale of family, love and forgiveness. It is set during the beginning of the Civil War, and the story focuses on Jo March, who is the second of the four March sisters. Jo is quite ahead of her time, as she has dreams and aspirations of becoming a famous writer someday and making enough money to support her family. Of course, during this period in history, this was not the normal dream for most girls, but that doesn't seem to stop Jo, or her family from helping her pursue her dreams. The March girls live in Concord, Massachusetts with their mother, whom they affectionately call "Marmee." She is truly the rock of the family, as her husband has joined the Union army as a Chaplain. We first find the four March sisters, Meg (the oldest) Jo, Beth, and Amy in their attic trying to get their minds off of the war and missing their father, by planning and rehearsing Jo's latest play. We then follow each girl's journey through life - meeting their new young neighbor Theodore Laurence III, or Laurie as the girls come to call him, as well as getting to know his seemingly cranky old Uncle, Mr. Laurence, and Laurie's tutor, Mr. John Brook. With each new person that enters their life, they fight to stay connected as a family, while still giving each other the freedom they need to 'grow up' as it were, find love, and eventually change into young women with their own individual lives.

BWW: How does the music bring a new approach to these beloved characters?
The songs each character sings give the audience a glimpse into the character's heart and helps the audience identify with them almost immediately. The diversity of the music, from Jo's enthusiastic song depicting her operatic tragedy which comes to life on stage, to Marmee's heart-rending remembrance of Beth, provides a unique and creative outlook on this beloved classic.
BWW: Logos prides itself on creating stage spectacles. How does that play out in this production?
Though this script does not call for as much 'spectacle' as let's say 'Prince Caspian', the ornate costumes, rustic sets, and creative lighting will provide some grand visuals, which we have enjoyed putting together. We hope the audience will enjoy the full ball room scene, the journey through the woods and swamps in Jo's stories, and the unique way we are handling Beth's death. However, I think our main goal for this production, is for the audience to walk away with a real intimate feeling of family love and forgiveness!
BWW: Impressively, you're both directing and starring in this production. How do you balance the two roles?
BWW Interview: Nicole Stratton of LITTLE WOMEN - THE MUSICAL at Logos Theatre
It's been a challenge, but it's been wonderful! At times, I have my understudy, Jenn Swain, step into the role for me as I direct so I can see the composition of the stage and the flow of the blocking, and then other times I will act in the scene and have someone record it on their phone so we can watch it and decide what needs to change. What I've found to be the most challenging is to allow myself to feel the role deeply, while not letting it overtake me, as I am number three of four girls in my family. I actually had a plan as a girl to stay home forever and live in my parents' attic where we girls had all of our adventures. So the connection I have to this role is quite real, and some of the moments in this play really hit home in a deep way for me personally. But I am blessed with an amazing team around me of people who are so talented and teachable - they aren't here for themselves. That's a rare thing in drama, but that is what sets the Logos Theatre apart from many other places. We aren't here for ourselves or what we get out of this - we are here to serve the message of the play so that it can touch and change others.
BWW: Why does this story continue to speak to so many people?
I believe this story is so timeless because it is centered around one of the most universal and timeless human experiences -- family! This story hits every person right where they are. Everyone can relate to one character or another in the story and see a little bit of their own family experiences in it. It's written very honestly and allows us as an audience to enter into the March family's world, and in so doing, allows us to deal with things in our own lives and families, through watching them navigate life as a family with such grace and bravery.
BWW: What do you hope audiences will take away with them?

We hope they will take away an unforgettable night of focusing on what truly matters -- the people in their own lives whom they love! A spectacle of amazing sets, beautiful costumes, fantastic singing or convincing acting will fade away. But a message of true love - being willing to let go and think of others first - will leave a lasting impact and will change people's lives. And, that's what The Logos Theatre is all about.


Little Women - the Musical opens the first weekend in July and runs through the first weekend in August. Tickets are 25 % off up until July 5th for all Logos Theatre productions. For more information and to reserve tickets call the box office at 864-268-9342 or visit thelogostheatre.com.

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