Composer Oler and lyricist Hubbard's Little Women (with a book by Allan Knee) won the 1998 Richard Rodgers Award and was optioned for Broadway. The songwriters had a parting of ways with the producers, and with Knee, and a new team's tunes were eventually heard in a 2004-05 Broadway run that spawned a cast album and the current national tour starring Maureen McGovern (which ends this summer).
Oler and Hubbard shelved their score, they said, until the right match came along to write the libretto. Hartley, a colleague from The BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, took a crack at the book of the Civil War-era tale. Developmental readings (and an amateur production in Maine) led to the current script and score being seen in the new Connecticut production.
Spirit of Broadway (an ironic title for this never-was Broadway score) is a 74-seat black box theatre that operates under a Special Appearance Agreement with Actors' Equity on a show by show basis.
Performances began June 28 toward a July 8 opening. Performances continue to July 30.
Sean Hartley is also a songwriter. He's the lyricist of Cupid & Psyche, seen in an Off-Broadway run and in regional theatres (including Spirit of Broadway in 2001). Oler and Hubbard have also written the musical The Enchanted Cottage and Buddy's Tavern, based on a 2000 motion picture called "Two Family House."
The Spirit of Broadway production of Little Women features Victoria Huston-Elem as Jo, Daniel Scott as Laurie, Rachel Postivoit as Meg, Lisa Crowley as Amy, Amy Vickery as Beth, Tyler Menard as John Brooks, Jean Barrett as Aunt March, John Basinight as Father, Frank Calamaro as Fritz. Musical direction is by Eddie Guttman, special orchestrations are by Raymond Kingston, lighting design is by Glenn Michaud. The production is directed and designed by Brett A. Bernardini, Spirit of Broadway's founding artistic director and CEO.
For more information, call the box office at (860) 886-2378 or visit www.spiritofbroadway.org.