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Music by Jason Howland, Lyrics by Mindi Dickstein, Book by Allan Knee
Based on the classic novel by Louisa May Alcott

The Firehouse Theatre

Director: Marilyn Setu
Assistant Director: Elisa Danielle James
Music Director: Mark Mullino
Choreographer: Nicole Jamie Carrano
Fight Choreographer: Adam Kullman
Stage Manager: Kathryn Marbry
Assistant Stage Manager: Mira Agustin
Set Designer: Wendy Rene'e Searcy
Costume Designer: Ashley Peisher
Lighting/Sound Designer: Cassondra Plybon-Harbin
Properties Designer: Elaine Plybon
Light Board Op: Kim Velten
Sound Board Op: Michael Marbry
Master Carpenter: Dennis Williams

Chelsea Bridgman as Jo March
Kaylee Killingsworth as Meg March
Lauren Marie Morrow as Beth March
Caitlin Martelle Jones as Amy March
Sarah Powell as Marmee
Andi Allen as Aunt March & Mrs. Kirk
Dylan Owen as Laurie Laurence
Trey Tolleson as Professor Bhaer
Chapman Blake as John Brooke
Paul Niles as Mr. Laurence

Reviewed Performance: 4/29/2018

Reviewed by Darlene Singleton, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

Produced nationally and internationally, LITTLE WOMEN has been praised by critics for its ambition in adapting such a well-known story for the stage. This timeless, captivating story is brought to life in this musical filled with personal discovery, heartache, hope, and everlasting love.

I have never, ever been disappointed in a Firehouse Theatre production, and this show is no exception. First impressions are important and the well-staffed volunteer base who greet the patrons are always very pleasant – they are always excited for the audiences to see the current show and they are so full of pride about their theatre.

The stage space at The Firehouse Theatre is limited but set designer, Wendy Rene’e Searcy, created an efficient flexible set that is visually appealing and positively successful in allowing the various scenes to take place. The light and sound designer, Cassondra Plybon-Hardin, did a wonderful job in her contribution of allowing the actors to shine. Ashley Peisher’s costumes are period-perfect, and Nicole Jamie Carrano delivered some simple, but fun to watch choreography. Director Marilyn Setu did a wonderful job in putting this production on the stage – there was never one minute that I wasn’t fully entertained.

Based on the classic 1869 Louisa May Alcott semi-autobiographical novel, LITTLE WOMEN centers on the four March sisters: aspiring writer Jo (Chelsea Bridgman), older romantic sister Meg (Kaylee Killingsworth), the somewhat spoiled Amy (Caitlin Martelle Jones), and the always kind Beth (Lauren Marie Morrow) as well as their beloved Marmee (Sarah Powell). The story takes place primarily at the family home in Concord, Massachusetts where the women go about their daily lives as they await the return of their father who is serving in the Civil War.

The story opens in 1865, New York, where writer Jo March, a headstrong, spunky tomboy, is trying to sell her stories to publications. She writes ‘blood and guts stuff’ (her description, not mine) and as she tells her stories to others, she acts them out. Chelsea Bridgman as Jo March is the towering strength of this show. Bridgman wears the pants in the family (and throughout the show). Her energy in every scene, from the opening to the finale, was in full gear and her song delivery had every person in the audience captivated – every single song, every single time. The story is told through Jo’s eyes, and she was supported by a wonderfully talented cast – each with their own unique peculiarities and charms.

Laurie, played by Dylan Owen, is an absolute joy to watch as we witness his infatuation with Jo. Wanting to be around her more often, he offers his companionship via the song TAKE A CHANCE ON ME. I loved watching him onstage – his smile and verve were infectious. Kudos Dylan – good job!

The mother of the girls, known as Marmee, was played by Sarah Powell. Powell portrayed Marmee with love and dignity. One of the strongest, most tender scenes in the show is Powell’s solo DAYS OF PLENTY. It brought me to tears as she strived to make Jo understand how important it is to believe, to maintain hope, and to not be defeated. As Jo comprehended her mother’s words she realized that painful as it may be, a significant emotional event can be the catalyst for choosing a direction … she understood to look for the learning.

Caitlin Jones, as Amy, revealed the most growth in the show. I was awestruck by how believable she was as a young spoiled girl, then just as believable as the young sophisticated woman about to be married.

Lauren Marie Morrow, as Beth, portrayed her character with the gentle demeanor I recall from the novel. Lauren did an excellent job in portraying her role of keeping the family tied-together in times of adversity. Her scenes with Mr. Laurence, played by Paul Niles, were sweet to watch as they became unusual allies and friends.

Meg, played by Kaylee Killingsworth, did a fine job in portraying the older – more mature – sister, and she and Chapman Blake as John Brooke were delightful to watch as they progressed through their tender storyline.

Andi Allen plays a wonderfully starchy Aunt March and her interpretation of the elderly woman who had mounds of riches was fun to watch. Ms. Allen’s talent on stage is comparable to the character from Downton Abbey played by Dame Maggie Smith. Need I say more?

Trey Tolleson as Jo’s love interest gave a delightful performance as the somewhat shy Professor Bhaer. I thoroughly enjoyed his rendition of SMALL UMBRELLA IN THE RAIN.

This production of LITTLE WOMEN THE MUSICAL is good old-fashioned family fun. The youngsters in the audience (and there were several) appeared to enjoy the show as much as my guest and I did. I highly recommend buying a ticket and expect to be thoroughly entertained.

The Firehouse Theatre
535 Valley View Ln, Farmers Branch