Go, Jo! Musical Little Women Will Play North Carolina and New Haven in 2004, Prior to Bway

News   Go, Jo! Musical Little Women Will Play North Carolina and New Haven in 2004, Prior to Bway
Little Women, a title so obvious in commercial appeal it's surprising that an American musical of it hasn't hit big, takes a first step toward Broadway with two out-of town engagements in 2004 — first in North Carolina, then in New Haven.

The March 12-21, 2004, run at the Shubert Theatre in New Haven was previously announced. That production (and the hoped-for Broadway one) will originate in Durham, NC, with a 3-1/2-week run in January-February 2004. Theatre Previews at Duke, in Durham, under the artistic directorship of Zannie Voss, presents that earlier staging after a five-week rehearsal process, according to Dani Davis, one of the producers.

Tony Award-nominee Susan H. Schulman (Sweeney Todd, The Secret Garden, The Sound of Music) directs, Michael Lichtefeld choreographs and Andrew Wilder is the musical director.

Casting for 15-member company (10 principals, five standbys) begins Sept. 3 in New York City.

The producers are looking to open on Broadway in the current season, in April 2004, Davis told Playbill On-Line. Capitalization is at $5.6 million. Producers are Randall Wreghitt, Dani Davis and Ken Gentry.

This version of the 1868 Louisa May Alcott novel of New England sisters in Civil War times has been in the works for the past five years. Allan Knee (Syncopation) penned the book, and the score is by Jason Howland (music) and Mindi Dickstein (lyrics). Industry folk recall that another songwriting team (Kim Oler and Allison Hubbard) was attached at the beginning. Their work on it was seen in at least one public reading in New York City. The producers of Little Women kept Knee as librettist, and invited Howland and Dickstein aboard. Oler and Hubbard are now working on a musical version of The Enchanted Cottage.

Little Women had a sold-out February 2001 workshop run at Theatre Previews at Duke. Kerry O'Malley, a Duke alumnus, played Jo in the NC mounting of the show. She, Robert Bartley (as John Brooke), Megan McGinnis (as Beth), Joe Machota (as Laurie) and Robert Stattel (as Mr. Laurence) all also participated in April 6-8, 2001, readings of the piece.

Schulman became attached as director in mid 2001.

Derek McLane will handle scenic design in 2004, Tony Meola is sound designer. Orchestrations are by Kim Scharnberg.

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