Review: Little Women, the Broadway musical by The Public Theater
by Kurt Gardner
The 2005 adaptation of Little Women is the latest attempt to musicalize Louisa May Alcott’s classic, following a 1958 television version and a 1998 opera. In order to insert about 18 numbers (and a handful of reprises) into the story, Alan Knee’s book streamlines the plot and provides quick sketches of the characters. That’s not a problem, as most audiences are familiar enough with this 150-year-old classic to follow along.
However, many of Jason Howland and Mindi Dickstein’s songs, while giving the performers a chance to show off their vocal skills, are rather generic and become repetitive. That said, the numbers that open each act, An Operatic Tragedy and The Weekly Volcanic Press, are rambunctious fun, and there’s poignancy to be found in such ballads as Take a Chance On Me, Some Things Are Meant to Be and Days Of Plenty.
Definitely working in this production’s favor is the Public’s splendid staging. Jeremy Whittington’s minimal, modular set is highly effective and well-lit by Dan “Doc” Heggem. Sara Brookes’ costumes are period-perfect, and Courtnie Mercer supplies some nice choreography. The six-piece orchestra conducted by Jane Haas, sounds at least twice that size. And director Andy Meyers smartly puts an emphasis on the frequent comedic one-liners, which kept the audience chuckling appreciatively on opening night.
The cast is also engaging. Megan DeYoung is a compassionate Marmie, and John Towry is good as Mr. Laurence, the neighbor whose cold heart is eventually warmed by the March family. Lindsey Van de Kirk is an amusingly starchy Aunt March, and Nicole Erwin provides humor as Mrs. Kirk. Grant Bryan is also fine as John Brooke, Laurie’s tutor, who falls for Meg.
Campbell Wilford, Rosa Gardner, and Katherine Leidlein perfectly inhabit the characters of Beth, Amy, and Meg, but this is Jo’s show, and Chloe Vorels makes the most of it with a vibrant performance. She is well-supported by Brendan Brady as Laurie, the neighbor who becomes an honorary member of the family, and Robby Vance as the modest Professor Bhaer, who hides his growing affection for Jo with dueling ripostes.
This production will certainly satisfy those who love both the novel and excellent stagecraft. Little Women plays Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. through Feb. 18 at the Public Theater of San Antonio, 800 West Ashby Place. Tickets can be obtained online or by calling (210) 733-7258.
Kurt Gardner's theatre reviews are also published at BlogCritics.org.
January 26 - February 18, 2018
800 West Ashby Place
San Antonio, TX, 78212
Little Women runs Friday, January 26th -Sunday, February 18th in the Russell Hill Rogers Theater with performances at 7:30 pm on Fridays and Saturdays and 2:00 pm on Sundays.
Special Event Nights:
Pay What You Can Preview Night- Jan. 25, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.
Opening Night (Reception to follow)- Jan. 26, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.
Q101.9 Radio Night- Feb. 2, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.
Food Truck Friday- Feb. 9, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. (Serving begins at 5:00 p.m.)
ASL Night and SA2020 Talk Back Night- Feb. 10, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.
210.733.7258 or thepublicsa.org
TICKETS: $15 to $35
Season packages are on sale now for the 18-19 season. Choose from Full Season, 6 shows or more, Opening Weekend only, or the Family Package. Contact the box office at 210-733-7258 for more details on purchasing.
You can select either the $35 amount for an adult ticket or pick your own denomination. These cards are good for any of the remaining shows in our 2017-18 Season.
They can be purchased online HERE!
Adults may purchase tickets at $35.
Military members (W/ID) may purchase tickets for $25.
Seniors age 60 and older may purchase tickets for $25.
Students (w/ID) may purchase tickets for $20
Group Rates 10 or more are available. Contact the Box Office at 210.733.7258 or visit our website at thepublicsa.org.
Additional Ticket Service fees may apply