Written by Alina Mae Wilson
It was a short run for the production of Little Women put on by the McCoy Rigby Conservatory of the Arts. Sadly, there will be no more shows. So I hope I can do the show justice in this article for those who missed a solid rendition of this classic story.
Little Women is the story of the four March sisters, with a special emphasis placed on Jo March who is on a mission to be “astonishing” in lieu of being a proper lady. Instead of obsessing over party invitations or what man she is going to marry, Jo busies herself with writing stories in the hopes that she might one day become a great author. We meet her three sisters Meg, Beth, and Amy, each of them memorable in their own way.
The show was double cast. I have no trouble believing that the entire cast were required to audition, particularly because of how well the singers did. I enjoyed Bryndal Braithwaite who played Jo March the night I attended. Her voice was strong and clear while motivations were evident. One of the largest challenges for a younger performer is to tell the reasons for an action—grabbing the water because they are thirsty as opposed to grabbing the water because the director said to. All of Ms. Braithwaite’s motivations were visible to the audience, as was the case with the majority of her cast mates. Additional mention goes to Madison Osment and Riley Pietenpol, who played Beth March and Mr. Laurence respectively. Their relationship was adorable, with Ms. Osment the picture of vulnerability and Mr. Pietenpol charming the audience with his doddering old-man singing during their duet.
This is a major story that stressed the importance of sisterhood before Frozen rolled around. I am pretty sure that young men and women can always use a reminder of the importance of familial relationships and furthering one’s own intelligence in conjunction with finding the romantic love that is so present in most stories, including Little Women. The music is good, and as stated, earlier, is well sung. However this is not a short story, and it is not a cartoonish presentation. The first act has much more energy than the second, which might in part be because the first act features the kids acting as kids. In the second act the sisters age, and one of the main characters passes away. Some children might enjoy it, but some might whither away from boredom and/or be too sad. Know your kid. In any case, this show is a solid testimony for the competence of directors Rachel Green and Sharie Nitkin.