"Little Women, the Musical" hits EOU stage
American classic finds a place in the hearts of a new generation
Contact: Kenn Wheeler | EOU Theatre Department
(541) 962-3318 | email@example.com
3 March 2009
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) - For some, it's a favorite food, such as strawberries or chocolate. For others, it's a favorite song, like "Blue Suede Shoes" or "The Night Chicago Died." For others still, the mention of a favorite book, such as "Where the Red Fern Grows" does the trick.
Whatever it is, the thought provokes a childhood memory of racing home to a delicious meal, falling in love to a favorite tune, or shedding tears over a beloved book.
For many, the American classic, "Little Women," has this transformative effect and the Eastern Oregon University theatre program hopes their performance will bring audiences back to their youth.
"Little Women, the Musical" opens March 5-7, 9 and 13-14 in Schwarz Theatre in Loso Hall. Performances begin at 8 p.m. nightly with a 2 p.m. matinee on March 7 and 14. A special family show opens at 7 p.m. on March 9.
The iconic tale of the four March sisters has held a special place in readers' hearts since it first appeared in print over 130 years ago. Since then it has been made into a movie four times and again as many times as a television show.
In 2005, Broadway saw the first musical version, starring Sutton Foster and Maureen McGovern. It ran for four months and then toured around the country for several more and was nominated for honors including the Tony Award and the Drama Desk Award.
And now, "Little Women, the Musical," is coming to Eastern Oregon. Directed by Kenn Wheeler, assistant professor of theatre, and featuring a cast of 10 talented EOU students, this wonderful musical full of beautiful songs is sure to find a place in the hearts of a new generation.
"This is a wonderful story, full of warmth and humor," Wheeler said. "It will touch the heart of every family member. It is a show for the entire family. Older family members will remember the first time they read it. Younger members of the family will want to read it once they see the show. Loiusa May Alcott has crafted such a loving picture of the March family struggling to survive while their father is serving during the Civil War. I can't imagine a single person who won't find something in this story to love and admire."
Allison Bassett leads the cast as Josephine March, the adventurous sister who wants to become a "world famous writer." Renee Wells plays the oldest sister, Meg, who is romantically hoping to find true love. Sarah Pitney plays the loving Beth, who is the first to be concerned about the wellbeing of her siblings. Amanda Slippy rounds out the daughters as Amy, the youngest and most precocious. Struggling to raise this impetuous quartet is their mother, Marmee, played by Julia Chavez.
Other cast members include the suitors: Jeff VanVickle as Theodore Laurence III, the brother the Marches never had; Fune Tautala as Mr. Brooke, the man who steals Meg's heart; and Tristan Stufflebeam as Professor Bhaer, the German teacher who falls under the spell of the willful Jo.
Laurie's grandfather, Mr. Laurence, is played by J.J. Hill and the girls' great aunt March is played by Taylor Pawley. Pawley also plays Mrs. Kirk, the keeper of the boarding house in New York.
The songs in "Little Women" range from beautiful love ballads, such as "More Than I Am" and "Small Umbrella in the Rain," to clever story-songs like "The Weekly Volcano Press." Vocal director, Jamie Jacobson has put her talented cast through their paces and created an amazingly strong ensemble.
"There is not a weak link in the vocal power of the actors." explained Wheeler. "Jamie has done a fantastic job bringing the best out of each performer.
Michael Heather, the most recent addition to EOU's theatre faculty, designed the scenery and lights for the production.
"Michael has created a beautifully symbolic set that we have had a lot of fun working on," Wheeler said. "It has several different levels and lots of room for moving the actors around."
The costumes are designed by Heather Tomlinson, assistant professor of theatre, with sound by Alan Arnson and props by Buck Potter.
"We really want to include families as part of our audience, so we are presenting a special 'family night' performance on Monday at an earlier time," Wheeler said. "This way you can bring the family and still get home early, and we are also offering a family ticket price. This ticket can be purchased for any performance-it's a great deal."
Tickets are $10 for general admission and $8 for students and seniors. Family tickets are available for $30. To reserve tickets call the EOU Theatre Box Office at (541) 962-3757.