Close as Pages in a Book: Little Women, the Musical, Begins Pre-Broadway Tryout in North Carolina Oct. 13

News   Close as Pages in a Book: Little Women, the Musical, Begins Pre-Broadway Tryout in North Carolina Oct. 13
 
Little Women, the Broadway-bound new American musical based on the classic novel, opens its pages in a North Carolina tryout Oct. 13, presented by Theatre Previews at Duke University in Durham.

Sutton Foster plays Jo March, one of four New England sisters yearning and coming of age under the wing of their mother, Marmee, played by Maureen McGovern.

In North Carolina, collaborators Allan Knee (book), Mindi Dickstein (lyrics) and Jason Howland (music) will see and hear their work in full production with a fresh audience for the first time. As is the case with most pre-Broadway runs, refinements will be made in tryout (to Oct. 31) and after (toward a first Broadway preview of Dec. 7 at the Virginia Theatre).

The Broadway opening is scheduled for Jan. 23, 2005.

The musical is based on Louisa May Alcott's 1868 novel for young people, a slice of Victorian family life that includes hardscrabble days, budding romance, Christmas joys and painful loss.

Sutton Foster won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for Thoroughly Modern Millie, and has, in recent public appearances, sung Little Women's big anthem, "Astonishing." McGovern is the actress and recording artist known for everything from "The Morning After" to studio recordings of Let 'Em Eat Cake and Of Thee I Sing, as well as appearances in Broadway shows (The Pirates of Penzance, 3 Penny Opera). The cast also features Janet Carroll as Aunt March, Danny Gurwin as Laurie (the boy next door), John Hickok as Prof. Bhaer, Amy McAlexander as sister Amy, Megan McGinnis as sister Beth, Jenny Powers as sister Meg, Robert Stattel as Mr. Laurence, Jim Weitzer as John Brooke and Anne Kanengeiser (the standby for Marmee and Aunt March). Joining them on Broadway will be Julie Foldesi, Christopher Gunn, Larissa Shukis and Andrew Varella. The production is directed by Susan H. Schulman (The Secret Garden, The Sound of Music).

Little Women is an American literary title so obvious that it's a surprise that a musical version hasn't hit big on Broadway yet. A search of the internet reveals a number of musical versions of the 1868 property, which is in the public domain and therefore ripe for free picking by playwrights and songwriters. Alcott drew on her own family experiences for the book and its sequels, "Little Men" and "Jo's Boys."

Knee's libretto is based on the play originally commissioned and produced by TheatreWorks/USA.

Michael Lichtefeld is choreographer, Andrew Wilder is musical director, orchestrations are by Kim Scharnberg. Vocal arrangements are by Lance Horne. Designers are Derek McLane (set), Catherine Zuber (costume), Kenneth Posner (lighting) and Peter Hylenski (sound).

The producers are Randall Wreghitt, Dani Davis, Ken Gentry, Chase Mishkin, Ruben Brache , in association with Lisa Vioni and Theatre Previews at Duke, Zannie Voss, Producing Director.

The Virginia Theatre box office (245 W. 52nd Street) opens Oct. 25. Tickets are now on sale via Tele-charge.com (212) 239-6200.

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The North Carolina Performances play Reynolds Theater, Bryan Center, Duke University. Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings at 7:30 PM; Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 PM, with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 PM.

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<i>Little Women</i> stars Amy McAlexander (left), Sutton Foster, Maureen McGovern, Jenny Powers, and Megan McGinnis
Little Women stars Amy McAlexander (left), Sutton Foster, Maureen McGovern, Jenny Powers, and Megan McGinnis Photo by Aubrey Reuben
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