Little Women: The Musical
by Moonlight Stage Productions
‘Little Women’ Dances Across Avo Playhouse Stage
By Ruth Lepper
Louisa Mae Alcott’s age-old tale of the March sisters takes on a new twist in the musical version, now playing at the Avo Playhouse in Vista. This new version premiered on Broadway in 2005. While there have been some liberties taken with the original novel, they are very slight.
Part of Moonlight Stage Productions’ winter season, “Little Women – The Musical” has a strong cast of men and women, alike, under the direction of artistic director Kathy Brombacher.
The story takes place in the March home during the Civil War, moving to a boarding house in New York City following the war. The four sisters are trying to find their way in life as they become young ladies.
Jo is determined to make her way as a published writer. Meg has her sights set on the tutor next door, with wedding bells in her future. Amy wants everything and she wants it now. Beth just wants everyone to be at peace with one another.
Their mother – Marmee – and strict paternal aunt – Aunt March – keep the girls in line while the man of the house is off at war. Their elderly gentleman next door – Mr. Lawrence – has his interesting grandson visiting him, who soon becomes friends with his feminine neighbors. The girls easily welcome the young man into their family with open arms.
The professor at the boarding house is an interesting sort, and quite interested in the aspiring writer, Jo.
All in all, it is an energetic and talented cast, breathing new life into Alcott’s characters.
Hilary Maiberger stars as the dynamic Jo. Meg is delightfully portrayed by Alexis Grenier. Leslie Tammone Is the sassy Amy. Sarah Errington comes across as the demure Beth.
The four men in the cast are in a class of their own. Jacob Haren brings a brilliant singing voice to the grandson, Laurie. Don Ward is a legend as his grandfather, Mr. Laurence. Andrew Wade was a good choice for John Brooke, the tutor. And Bryan Vickery couldn’t be better as Professor Bhaer.
Susan Stuber is a little stiff as Marmee, while Susan Boland flounces around the stage as Aunt March.
The set, designed by N. Dixon Fish, lacks appeal, while Carlotta Malone’s costumes are right on the mark for the era. Sound design by Chris Luessman adds to the atmosphere, along with lighting designed by Curtis Mueller. Properties are by Sue Givens.
Choreography is under the direction of Carlos Mendoza. Musical director and conductor is Terry O’Donnell. Assistant director is Ted Leib and stage manager is Tim Jones.
Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, and at 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Final performance is March 11. The Avo Playhouse is located at 303 Main St. in Vista.
Tickets, priced from $22 to $30, are available through the VisTix box office by calling (760) 724-2110 or visiting www.moonlightstage.com.