by Bruce Strand
“Little Women,” the 1868 novel by Louisa May Alcott that has charmed readers and audiences for over 150 years, will be presented in musical form by ERHS beginning Saturday, April 30, in four performances including a Sunday matinee (see below).
“Knowing that we had many qualified ‘little women’ who could perform leading roles in an Elk River High School musical,” said director Phil Bologna, “I decided to look for a musical version of the Alcott classic.”
He added that the publishing company informed him that the version that chosen was the one that the Alcott family liked the most and was closest to the story line — and not a simple “cookie cutter” facsimile often found in second-level publishing houses.
“The music is complex and challenging. It is official; this year we will have done two complex musicals,” quipped Bologna. “Our musical director Hannah Christian has worked hard this year. One has only to remember ‘White Christmas’ (December) to understand that her quiet leadership as paid huge dividends.”
John Rosner, orchestra director, has also been challenged, to devote additional time in fitting the string-laden score into something that can be accomplished by reeds and flutes.
The cast is filled with veterans and new-comers alike.
Moriah Babneau heads the cast as Jo. Joining her in the March sorority is Kelsey Rausch as Meg, Cara Fromm as Beth and Madeline O’Connor and Emma Crane sharing the role of Amy in the first act.
They are supported by Rachel Wagenpfeil as the sensible Marmy, Rachel Shaheen as the old battle ax Aunt March and Grace Heyne as Amy in act two.
The little men in the show include Mike Anderson as Laurie, Jordan Grzybowski as Professor Bhaer, Adam Harbarnah in the role of Mr. Laurence, Jarret St. Jean as John and Alexander McCormick limping on as Father.
The director promises: “This is truly a family show. Bring them, share laughter, tears and witness how the genius of an American treasure.”
At Zabee Theatre, ERHS
Saturday, April 3o, 7 p.m.
Sunday, May 1, 2 p.m.
Friday, May 6, 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 7, 7 p.m.