Little Women, the Musical, expected to premiere in front of Boston audiences in September prior to a late-fall Broadway bow, will first be seen in New York City workshops April 6-8.
Nick Corley directs a cast of 10 for the award-winning tuner drawn from the classic coming-of-age novel by Louisa May Alcott. The reading company is expected to be the same company that appears in the fall: Robert Bartley, John Dossett, Jennifer Gambatese, Joe Machota, Lucy Martin, Jan Maxwell, Megan McGinnis, Kerry O'Malley, Robert Stattel and Becky Watson.
There have been rewrites and refinements in the work since 1998, when it won a Richard Rodgers Development Award, said producer Randall L. Wreghitt (The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Electra).
Wreghitt told Playbill On-Line that the script crossed his desk the same time he was embarking on his first Broadway producing venture, The Beauty Queen of Leenane. The timing wasn't right for him to address Little Women, but his interest lingered for two years.
He said he was struck by the humanity of the piece, by book writer Allan Knee, composer Kim Oler and lyricist Alison Hubbard. "I think it's real and so applicable to the real world to men and women," he said. "There are universal truths [in Little Women]."
The novel follows the four March sisters in New England during The Civil War. They spar, they grow, they have their first brushes with romance and one, famously, dies. Another, Jo, becomes a writer.
Wreghitt said the private workshop presentation is both a pre-production glimpse of the show and an opportunity to court producing partners. Following script circulation and a 1998 reading at the York Theatre Company, Little Women earned a reputation as a warm, rueful family show. Those who saw the York reading recall the plaintive lyric sung by the girls' mother, who compared her brood to a garden. She sings of losing one child to an early frost.
Wreghitt does not yet have a Broadway theatre engaged, but said he hopes to begin previews in November and open around holiday time.
Wreghitt is a producer of Off-Broadway's The Waverly Gallery and an associate producer of Broadway's The Real Thing.
Dani Davis and Jason Howland are producing partners of Little Women, the Musical.
The musical will play the 1,200-seat Wilbur Theatre in Boston Sept. 22 Oct. 8.
Musical staging for the workshop is by Jennifer Paulson Lee. Constantine Kitsopoulos musical directs.
-- By Kenneth Jones