Astonishing, Again! Tour of Little Women-The Musical Launches Sept. 2; Maureen McGovern Stars

News   Astonishing, Again! Tour of Little Women-The Musical Launches Sept. 2; Maureen McGovern Stars An Aug. 18 stage fire at The Civic Theatre in San Diego was nothing compared to the fire inside literary heroine Jo March, of Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women."
Little Women star Maureen McGovern
Little Women star Maureen McGovern Photo by Joan Marcus

The passion of Jo ignites anew Sept. 2 with the launch of the national tour of the Broadway musical, Little Women. The debut, which features Kate Fisher as Jo, was delayed by three days in San Diego due to the fire (performances were scheduled to start Aug. 30). Some scenic elements were lost, and will be restored, but the show goes on — to more than 30 cities after the San Diego run ends Sept. 4.

Kate Fisher and Stephen Brian Patterson, both seen in Broadway's Les Misérables, will play Jo March and the boy next door, Laurie, respectively, in the tour.

Maureen McGovern headlines the tour, reprising her Broadway role of New England matriarch Marmee. She was nominated for the Drama Desk Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her steely yet warm performance as a mother raising daughters in a time of uncertainty.

The Civil War-era sisters of feisty heroine Jo March will be Renee Brna as Meg; Autumn Hurlbert as Beth; and Gwen Hollander as Amy.

Michael Minarik will be romantic suitor John Brooke; Andrew Varela, a Little Women Broadway understudy, will graduate to the role of Prof. Bhaer; and Robert Stattel will repeat his Broadway role of gruff neighbor Mr. Laurence. Aunt March will be played by Louisa Flaningam.

Cities on the tour route include San Jose, Columbus, Chicago, Atlanta, Birmingham, Ft. Lauderdale and at Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center, among others.

"We are thrilled that the show is going on tour so soon after its Broadway premiere," producer Ken Gentry said in a statement. "We think the positive audience response the show generates and the well-known and recognizable title make this a must-see on the road."

The tour is produced by Ken Gentry in partnership with Randall L. Wreghitt and Dani Davis.

Little Women-The Musical opened on Broadway Jan. 23 following previews from Dec. 7, 2004. It closed May 22, 2005. Sutton Foster was nominated for a Best Actress (Musical) Tony Award for her work as Jo in the show inspired by the novel by Louisa May Alcott.

The show had a fall 2004 test run at Theatre Previews at Duke in North Carolina.

Stage, concert and recording star McGovern has starred on Broadway in The Pirates of Penzance, Nine and 3 Penny Opera , and in the Broadway national tour of The King and I . Her regional work includes Elegies, Dear World, Letters From 'Nam, The Lion in Winter, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Of Thee I Sing, Let 'Em Eat Cake!, The Sound of Music, South Pacific, Guys and Dolls and I Do, I Do.

Susan H. Schulman directs the musical, which has a book by Allan Knee, score by Jason Howland and lyrics by Mindi Dickstein. Michael Lichtefeld choreographs.

A cast album on the Ghostlight label is in stores now.

Visit www.maureenmcgovern.com or www.littlewomenonbroadway.com.

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"Hundreds of people worked behind the scenes to restore the Civic Theatre and Little Women to 'performance readiness'," said Joe Kobryner, Broadway/San Diego general manager, in a statement. "They worked diligently around-the-clock to try and meet the original Aug. 30 opening, but ran out of time. It was important to the producers of the show, and to us, that our patrons see this beautifully realized national tour production, rather than a compromised version."

Visit www.broadwaysd.com for further information.

"I can't express my appreciation enough to all of the people who made a tremendous effort so that our audiences would still have the first opportunity to see this splendidly staged musical version of the Louisa May Alcott classic," Kobryner said. "I hope our patrons affected by this delayed opening will take the opportunity to attend one of the weekend performances, and understand the extraordinary circumstances that have allowed this to happen."

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