Little Women Cover (Andrew Kelly/The East)

In Review: TNB’s ‘Little Women, The Broadway Musical’

Just in time for the season of holiday cheer and precarious family dinners, TNB’s production of ‘Little Women, The Broadway Musical’ is a welcome reminder of the importance of love, forgiveness, and family.

Based on the classic Louisa May Alcott novel ‘Little Women’ (1869), director Thomas Morgan Jones invites us into the lives of Alcott’s unforgettable March sisters, whose trials, dreams, and tribulations run the gamut of emotions. From the nervousness of a first dance, to the cathartic joy of dreams manifested, the highs and lows of its source material are brought to life through lively characters and a strong focus on plot.

Set during the Civil War, ‘Little Women, The Broadway Musical’ offers variety in presenting the dynamics of romantic and familial relationships. As storyteller and aspiring novelist, the winding path of Jo March (played by Emily Lukasik) takes centre stage: Jo is successfully built up as self-willed, self-driven, and large-hearted, and we believe her when she proclaims, “We don’t live for society, we live for what’s inside of us.” As she is repeatedly challenged by the family, men, and publishers in her life, the self-assured flair and profound empathy she is imbued with are crucial and well-executed.

As Jo and her sisters Meg (Kate Etienne), Beth (Alessia Lupiano), and Amy (Rachel Delduca) navigate their own wants and discover their own strengths, musical numbers propel their characters through lyrical moments that are often direct and accented with charming exchanges. Love and wooing abound in on-the-nose numbers from love interests Mr. Brooke (Jonathan Tan) in More Than I Am and Laurie (Bryden Rutherford) in Take a Chance on Me, while strong, declarative performances come from the sisters in Our Finest Dreams. As each sister grows into her own voice and carves her own distinct path through life, conflict and resolution serve to highlight the ways in which families accommodate one another and learn to grow.

(Andrew Kelly/The East)
(Andrew Kelly/The East)

Strong performances come from the matriarchal Marmee March (Julain Molnar) and the wealthy socialite Aunt March (Barbara Fulton). During the musical’s darkest hour, Marmee’s Days of Plenty offers a lifetime’s worth of wisdom that reaches beyond the surface of the action.

Though at times the pace of action and condensing of its source material can feel as though you’re getting the Coles Notes version of Alcott’s work, this is a fun and rewarding performance marked by memorable characters. It’s a musical that refuses to feel tragic, and you will leave the theatre feeling you know these sisters as though they’re family.

You can catch this show during the following dates:

Friday December 11, 2015 | 7:30pm @ The Playhouse, Fredericton, NB
Saturday December 12, 2015 | 2:00pm @ The Playhouse, Fredericton, NB
Saturday December 12, 2015 | 7:30pm @ The Playhouse, Fredericton, NB
Sunday December 13, 2015 | 7:30pm @ The Imperial Theatre, Saint John, NB
Tuesday December 15, 2015 | 7:30pm @ The Capitol Theatre, Moncton, NB

For more information or to reserve tickets, visit the TNB website.