Little Women is a musical with a book by Allan Knee, lyrics by Mindi Dickstein, and music by Jason Howland. Based on Louisa May Alcott’s 1868–69 semi-autobiographical two-volume novel, it focuses on the four March sisters. This story follows the traditional Meg, wild, aspiring writer Jo, timid Beth and romantic Amy and their beloved Marmee at home in Concord, Massachusetts, while their father is away serving as a Union Army chaplain during the Civil War. Intercut with the vignettes in which their lives unfold are several recreations of the melodramatic short stories Jo writes in her attic studio. After 55 previews, the Broadway production opened at the Virginia Theatre on January 23, 2005 and closed on May 22, 2005 after 137 performances. It was directed by Susan H. Schulman, with choreography by Michael Lichtefeld, set design by Derek McLane, costume design by Catherine Zuber, and lighting design by Kenneth Posner.
The Broadway cast featured Sutton Foster as Jo, Maureen McGovern as Marmee, The Hag, Janet Carroll as Aunt March/Mrs. Kirk, Jenny Powers as Meg/Clarissa, Megan McGinnis as Beth/Rodrigo II, Amy McAlexander as Amy/The Troll, Danny Gurwin as Laurie/Rodrigo, Robert Stattel as Mr. Lawrence/ The Knight, Jim Weitzer as Mr. Brooke/ Braxton, and John Hickok as Professor Bhaer.
Little Women has been a movie filmed 5 times, and there were 5 different TV series based on the book. There was even an opera of Little Women. This beloved story is a book which so many young girls have read, and since has been adapted into a musical. If you love the book and the movies, you will love the musical. One of the songs that will bring down the house is “Astonishing” sung by Ava Stovall.
Jo March is being played by Ava Stovall. Ava has a powerful voice and is an incredible actress. She makes the role of Jo March come alive. Ava has been a professional vocalist since she was 13 years old. She is a graduate of Washington Community High School and works as a piano and vocal teacher is the Peoria area. She is going to school to earn her B.F.A in musical theatre.
Meg March is being played by Sydney Johnson. Sydney has another incredible voice and graces the stage with a perfect performance as Meg March the oldest of the three sisters. Sydney has performed in many shows around the area. Sydney is currently attending ICC. She will be studying to be a vocal performer. Sydney graduated from Richwood High School.
Beth March is being played by Simmy Wood. Simmy comes to us from Bloomington. Simmy plays Beth as the sweet and sick sister with grace and has a beautiful voice. She and Ava sing the beautiful song “Some Things Are Meant To Be” with such passion that it will bring tears to your eyes. Simmy has done numerous productions between Bloomington and Peoria. Simmy graduated from Bloomington High School. She attended and graduated from University of Iowa in 2020 with a degree in Communications with a minor in Theatre.
Amy March is being played by Rachel Kocher. Rachel has also been in many performances around the Peoria area. Rachel has been performing since she was 8 years old. Amy March is a harder role to have to play a young girl at the beginning of the show and in the second act is married. Rachel does this transition with ease. Rachel graduated from Dunlap High School and is attending ICC.
Marmee March is being played by the incredibly talented Alison Meuth. Alison is a voice teacher and music director in the Peoria area. This is her first community theater role in 25 years. Alison worked for Opera Illinois for about 5 years then worked in Utah, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and DC for about 15 years. She brings her voice and personal experience to the role.
Other roles of our talented cast are Laurie played by Ryan Foulk, Aunt March played by Nicole Simkins, Mr. Lawrence is played by Thom Lacy, Professor Bhaer is played by Tobias Lansberry, Mr. Brooke is played by Clay Frankel. Other roles are Madison Boedecker plays Clarissa and Krista Nicely plays Mrs. Kirk. The talented ensemble are Mary Irby Moore, Neve Kelly, Lauren Frawley, Jonathan Enderle, Julia Tejeda. Dancers are Sophie Challacombe and Randee Blickenstaff
Claire Challacombe is the musical director and Sydney Abdnour is our choreographer. Sarah Blume has again brought the 1860’s alive with her costumes, hair and make-up by Erika Johnston-Poch and Rebecca Sierra, Greg and Grace Blume are the stage managers, our light design is by Wayne Carey with Riley Reynolds executing the lights during the performances, our production secretary is Erin Pantages, props by Theresa and Kristin Whitaker, and sound by Caleb Pearson. The set design and builders are Ken Hupp and Marc Lefebvre with Jakob and Jordan Thomas, who designed and painted the set.
Come see Little Women the Musical with family, sisters, mothers, daughters. If you haven’t seen this musical, it may become one of your favorites. Even if you have never read the book or have not seen any of the movies, come and enjoy the show anyway. It’s a great historical story with beautiful music that enhances the show – one which families can relate to.
Show performances are September 10-11 and 15-18 at 7:30 pm and September 12 and 19 at 2:00 pm. Tickets are on sale at peoriaplayers.org/tickets.