Little Women the Musical

Recent Press


What people are saying about Little Women!


Marmee's Grammy!

The Boston Herald
The Boston Herald












Ft Lauderdale - South Florida Sun-Sentinel

March 17, 2006
By Jack Zink

The Broadway musical Little Women is carving a niche for itself on national tour. It is sprinkled throughout with affecting moments that please, sadden or tickle the heart. If it were a book, it might be called a good read.

Of course, it is a book as well. Novelist Louisa May Alcott's story is based on her own family of sisters growing up during and shortly after the American Civil War. Little Women is regarded as an American classic some 140 years after it was published. One could say that its transformation to musical theater by writer Allan Knee, composer Jason Howland and lyricist Mindi Dickstein is a success.


Tampa - St. Petersburg Times

March 8, 2006
By Marty Clear

TAMPA - Trying to adapt a well-known and almost universally beloved novel into a Broadway musical takes some courage. It's an endeavor that's much more likely to disappoint than to surpass or even equal expectations.

So even if Little Women were a failure you'd have to give some props to Allan Knee, who wrote the book for the musical, and to composer Jason Howland and lyricist Mindi Dickstein. If nothing else, they had the nerve to try to adapt Louisa May Alcott's gentle epic about sisters growing up in the years after the Civil War.

But when the first-ever tour of Little Women stopped at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center on Tuesday evening, the show revealed itself to be generally successful. It's no triumph of musical theater, but it's replete with pleasant and refreshingly melodic songs, excellent stagecraft and good performances.


St Louis - Post-Dispatch

February 23, 2006
By Judith Newmark

Thanks to their vivid personalities and their devotion to each other, readers could recognize Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March in any situation. If they were riding the range, or digging ditches or flying to the moon, we still would know them inside-out. The March girls themselves - not their homey adventures - make Alcott's story live.

Directed by Susan H. Schulman, a talented cast delivers each girl in all her familiar vivacity. Kate Fisher is terrific as Jo, high-spirited and ambitious; Gwen Hollander is full of charm as Amy, who longs for the pretty things that her family lacks. Renee Brna warms the stage as Meg, the eldest sister, and Autumn Hurlbert endows fragile Beth with enough strength to carve out a special niche in the family.

Maureen McGovern stars in this production as Mrs. March, known to her daughters as Marmee. But on opening night, she was ill. Her understudy, Neva Rae Powers, assayed Marmee with generous demeanor and lovely voice. The appealing sets and costumes, by Derek McLane and Catherine Zuber respectively, enhance the illusion that the "real" Marches stand before us.

The actresses bring such understanding to their roles, you can't help wondering if they, like countless American women, loved the book when they were girls. In the scene at the beach when Beth tells Jo that she knows she'll never get well, Hurlbert and Fisher could be dancers, so precisely do they capture the delicate sorrow that shades Alcott's best writing. (That chapter in the book, "Beth's Secret," could make a stone cry.)


Minneapolis - Star Tribune

February 16, 2006
By Rohan Preston

Singer Maureen McGovern gets above-the-title billing for the Broadway musical “Little Women,” adapted from Louisa May Alcott’s 19th-century novel by composer Jason Howland, book-writer Allan Knee and librettist Mindi Dickstein.

But if you were to judge only by felicitous talent, Kate Fisher is the real star of the show that opened Valentine’s Day at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis.

Fisher, who plays Jo, one of the March daughters coming of age in New England while their father is off in the Civil War, is a thoroughly beautiful performer. She carries her character, and this lightweight, pleasant-enough show, with skill and a lot of spirit.

While Jo is independent and pants-wearing, her sisters are pretty much of their period. They are concerned with marriage and children. Jo (Aunt March, who wants her to be more feminine, calls her Josephine) wants to live an adult life on her own terms -- achieving success as a writer in an era when people tell her to have more conventional goals.


Appleton - Post-Crescent

February 8, 2006
By Steven Hyden

Shows don’t get more old-fashioned than “Little Women,” the Broadway musical playing at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center through Sunday.

And, no, that is not a bad thing. In the case of this appealingly low-key charmer, it is quite good, actually.

Based on the classic novel by Louisa May Alcott, “Little Women” relies on rich characterization, witty dialogue and more than a little class to breathe new life into an oft-told story. If you like your musicals big, lavish and culled from oldies radio, “Little Women” will inevitably feel like an anachronism. But what’s wrong with an anachronism?

Rather than bowl you over with suspense or melodrama, “Little Women” rocks you into a sort of relaxed contentment as you take in the well-observed details of the world created on stage. The production’s modest tone and general good-naturedness can’t help but eventually win you over.

The most likable part of “Little Women” is Kate Fisher, who dominates the show as any actress playing the most outspoken March sister should. Fisher is first-rate as Jo, proving herself a skilled comedienne, a gifted singer and a gorgeous sparkplug of charisma. “Little Women” loses most of its spirit whenever she’s not on stage. Fortunately, those moments are few and far between.

Along with Fisher, the supporting cast is exceedingly amiable. Louisa Flaningam is a haughty hoot as Aunt March, and manages to steal almost every scene she is in. Andrew Varela almost walks off with the entire show in the last scene as the lovestruck Professor Bhaer, who, quite understandably, is romantically flustered by the alluring Jo.

‘Songs from the Neighborhood’ Wins Grammy Award

Star-Studded New CD Spotlights Rogers’ Prodigious Songwriting Talent;
A Portion of Proceeds Benefit Fred Rogers Fund

Los Angeles (February 8th, 2006; 3:00 pm Pacific Time)

Songs from the Neighborhood: The Music of Mister Rogers has won a Grammy Award, the first time Fred Rogers has been so honored for his songwriting. The starry musical tribute to the amazing songwriting talents of Mister Fred Rogers features an audio CD and “making of” music DVD featuring behind-the-scenes interviews with all of the artists. The Grammy win today is for Category 18: Best Musical Album for Children, announced at the pre-telecast awards ceremonies at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. All of the award-winners will be announced tonight at

Songs from the Neighborhood producer Dennis Scott was thrilled with the recognition from the Recording Academy. He says, “I’m so glad that Fred’s music is getting the recognition it deserves and that all of the effort that went into creating this tribute has been so rewarded. Even if we hadn’t been honored, it’s enough for me to know that the Rogers family and his non-profit organization are so supportive.” Scott’s six year old son promised his dad that he’d make a Grammy award for him even if he didn’t win. “Now, I guess he’ll have to sculpt an Oscar for me,” he quips.

Joanne Rogers, upon hearing about the award today, commented, “I love every song on this recording, and it’s heartwarming to me that those who worked so hard to present this tribute to Fred have been deservedly honored by their peers in the Grammy organization!” Rogers wrote all of the songs for his television show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

Twelve top artists - who together have earned more than 70 Grammy and Dove Awards – translated their love for Mister Rogers by recording all-new arrangements of Mister Rogers’ songs. The artists include Amy Grant, BJ Thomas, Bobby Caldwell, CeCe Winans, Crystal Gayle, Donna Summer, John Pizzarelli, Jon Secada, Maureen McGovern, Ricky Skaggs, Roberta Flack, and introducing, Toni Rose. Dennis Scott, himself a Grammy Award recipient, produced the album with styles ranging from pop rock to jazz and bluegrass. The entire ensemble joins together for the last track, “Thank You for Being You,” an original song by Dennis Scott.

A portion of proceeds from the sale of Songs from the Neighborhood will be donated to the non-profit Fred Rogers Fund, at Family Communications, Inc.

Two years after his passing, Fred Rogers remains an American icon. His pioneering television show, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” is still broadcast to millions of homes each day on most PBS-TV affiliates. The third most requested item by visitors at the Smithsonian Institution is Mister Rogers’ red sweater, hand-knitted by his mom. His show is still the longest-running program on PBS television. Children everywhere continue to smile when they hear Fred sing, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” Fred Rogers’ birthday is March 20th.

The national retail release features a dual disc digi-pak including an audio CD and DVD, which is available at retail for a suggested price of $17.98. Song lyrics, sound samples and artist information are available at

"I was so struck by the simplicity, honesty, sweet beauty and life-affirming messages of Fred Roger's songs", Maureen McGovern said when she heard of the honor. "In recording This Is Just The Day, I tried to capture that carefree, why-not-take-a-chance, joyful spirit that was at the heart of Fred himself.

"Audience members, who have come to see our Little Women Broadway National Tour (parents and grandparents alike) have told me they remember Fred very fondly from either their's or their children's childhoods and have purchased the CD to pass on the torch to the next generation in their families.

"Songs From The Neighborhood is the dreamchild of producer, Dennis Scott, who put together a collection of 13 songs recorded by caring artists who all share a love and respect for Fred Rogers and his music. I am proud to be one of them and thrilled that the project has been honored with a Grammy."

Click here if you would like to hear a sample!


The Chicago Sun-Times

Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy grow up charmingly
Theater Critic

Real people. Finely structured storytelling. A historical setting. Songs that reveal character but don't always spell everything out. No wonder "Little Women," which opened Tuesday night in a national touring production at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, will never have the kind of box-office receipts of that other Broadway-bred musical about girls, "Wicked."

True, the show is a good 20 minutes too long. And it can be overly insistent about the emotional price paid for being an artist and independent woman. But this musical version of Louisa May Alcott's quasi-autobiographical tale of a family of four New England sisters who come of age during the Civil War -- with an absent father (off serving as chaplain to the Union troops) and an overwhelmed, financially strapped mother left to handle them -- is a work of quality. And its book (by Allan Knee), music (by Jason Howland) and lyrics (by Mindi Dickstein) dare to put complex emotions and intimate relationships over inflated spectacle.

On one level this is the story of the genesis of Alcott's book: how the writer learned to take the stuff of her own life and shape it into art. But mostly it is about a group of siblings with very different personalities and values who are forced to make it through tough times, and who manage to keep the bond of family devotion alive. Along the way, their dreams are tempered, twisted and often realized in unexpected ways.

Although former pop singer Maureen McGovern, who plays the girls' mother, Marmee, is the name above the marquee (and she displays the necessary vocal gravitas for the role), it is Kate Fisher -- as Alcott's alter ego, Jo March -- who drives the show with her galvanic energy and powerful voice. Jo (who is in nearly every scene) is the second oldest of the four sisters, and the rebel -- a young woman ahead of her time, hellbent on making a name for herself as a writer. Jo aches for the wider world, for recognition, for independence, and she shrinks at the thought of marriage. Though she is pursued by her preppy neighbor Laurie (Stephen Patterson), who is enthralled by her headstrong, vivacious spirit from the start, she must break his heart in order to be true to herself. Only much later does she forge a bond with the older, more constrained German scholar Professor Bhaer (Andrew Varela), who offers support and a more mature kind of love.

Jo's older sister Meg (Renee Brna) is the warm, conventional girl who marries the dashing and decent Mr. Brooke (Michael Minarik). Her soul mate, however, is Beth (Autumn Hurlbert) -- the kind, serene, musical girl with a profound sense of her own mortality, whose death shatters Jo.

As for the youngest sister, Amy (Gwen Hollander, who undergoes a deftly limned transformation), she is Jo's nemesis, the one most acutely aware of the family's lack of money and most attuned to snobbish upward mobility and fashion. She also is the sister who wins the favor of the Marches' well-to-do aunt (a near Dickensian turn by Louisa Flaningam) and is taken to Europe -- something Jo had dreamed of for years.

Only when the actors take their bows do you realize the show (sensitively directed by Susan S. Schulman, with many of the trademarks of her earlier hit "The Secret Garden") features just 12 performers. Yet they fill the heart. And Derek McLane's set -- from the vast wooden attic of the March home to a series of beautifully painted backdrops of the American landscape -- fills the eye.

Incidentally, while Mr. March remains a cipher in the show, you can turn to a fascinating recent novel, March (Penguin), by Geraldine Brooks to see just what he was doing in the war while his "little women" were growing up.


The Boston Herald

‘Little Women’ not to be overlooked
Theater Review

There have been three film versions of “Little Women,” and an opera; but, curiously, no musical until last season when this chamber version arrived on Broadway for a five-month run. In a season filled with more high-profile shows (“Spamalot,” “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”), this handsomely packaged, if earnest adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s autobiographical novel got lost in the shuffle.

But like its spunky heroine, the show refuses to be dismissed, as its national tour, which arrived at the Opera House last night, attests.

The endearing Kate Fisher plays Jo, the tomboyish writer who dreams of literary triumphs in 1860s Concord, where she comes of age with her three sisters. She has a supple belt put to excellent use in the show’s first-act finale, “Astonishing,” and nearly does the impossible task of holding the overlong show together. Her feisty characterization is not unlike that of Wynona Ryder (whom she resembles) in the 1994 film.

Top-billed Maureen McGovern is astonishing as the March family matriarch, delivering “Days of Plenty” with gorgeous precision. There are also appealing performances, most notably Autumn Hurlbert as the doomed Beth and Gwen Hollander as the ambitious Amy.



The Boston Herald

A big moment for ‘Little Women
By Inside Track
Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The cast of the Broadway in Boston musical, “Little Women” trekked out to Concord yesterday afternoon for a private tour of their production’s original set: Louisa May Alcott’s historic homestead.

“We’ve just been weeping all morning,” laughed Maureen McGovern, who takes on the role of the March family’s Marmee in the musical. “Being in these rooms you can feel the walls talking!”

“The Poseidon Adventure” songstress was accompanied by her cast daughters, Kate Fisher, who plays spitfire Jo March; Renée Brna, the eldest March sister, Meg; Gwen Hollander, who portrays Amy; and Autumn Hurlbert, who stars as the gentle Beth March. It was the gals’ first visit to Louisa May’s place.

“It’s just so great to be in such a historic place where so much is preserved,” gushed Arizona native, Hurlbert.

Added Fisher: “It’s just so overwhelming. I teared up over the prop box (in Alcott’s room) and over Louisa’s desk.”

Bubbling over with fresh ideas, the ladies agreed that the visit will benefit Boston theater-goers.

“It’s incredible to have this experience in the middle of tour,” chimed in Las Vegas native, Brna. “Because it actually brings something new. I wish we could do the whole show in the house!”

But for now, “Little Women,” which opens tonight will run through Jan. 22 at The Opera House.



'Little Women' casts delights
by Julie York Coppens
Thursday, January 5, 2006

Kate Fisher staggers us in the lead role, capturing every contradiction in Jo's personality and bringing extraordinary power to her songs. Whether lumbering down the stairs in a detested ball gown or reaching tentatively for the hand offered by Bhaer in the finale, Fisher makes Jo grow up, as woman and artist, before our eyes.

And astonishing is the only way to describe Maureen McGovern's voice. As the iron-willed, affectionate Marmee, the singer demonstrates that she's been working hard in the 30-plus years since "The Morning After." Anyone who doubts the commitment it takes to maintain a vocal instrument at this level should consider how many of McGovern's contemporaries are still out there doing it. The phenomenon almost justifies McGovern's top billing and star's curtain call -- but really, this is Fisher's show.



'Little Women' passes test as a musical
Friday, December 09, 2005
By Kathleen Kirby
Contributing Writer

DETROIT - Louisa May Alcott wrote "Little Women" in 1869, and it has since become a film, a play and even an animation. Perhaps then it was inevitable that this venerable story of four sisters would finally become a musical. Now playing at the Fisher Theatre, it is a surprisingly innovative and fresh version of this endearing tale.

Headliner Maureen McGovern is lovely as Marmee, mother to the March sisters. Her vocals are vibrant and powerful, of course, but her calm strength of character and maternal warmth is equally impressive.

Kate Fisher anchors this production as irrepressible Jo March. Generally accepted as a representation of Alcott, Jo was considered rebellious and even improper in her day. Fisher handles the character's arrogance, pride and independent spirit with a fierce energy that is wonderful to watch.

So how does it all play out as a musical? Quite well, actually. Jason Howland's music and Mindi Dickstein's lyrics blend the story nicely. Often a song begins so unobtrusively it isn't noticed at first, but then it seems natural as it evolves into an expression of thought or emotion.

Allan Knee's script maintains the integrity of the story with its nuance and subplots. Sisters Meg (Renee Brna), Beth (Autumn Hurlbert) and Amy (Gwen Hollander) share their love and exasperation with Jo. At one point, they all became performers in Jo's "Operatic Tragedy," much to the audience delight.

"Little Women" runs the gamut of emotion. There is the fun of watching Jo buck the system time after time, the smitten neighbor Laurie (Stephen Patterson) and pompous Aunt March (Louisa Flaningam). But there is also the grief attending the death of Beth.

The sisters' "Five Forever" and Fisher's "Astonishing" are among our favorite musical moments, along with McGovern's "Days of Plenty," sung by Marmee after the death of her daughter.

This "Little Women" is a winner. It retains this wonderful story but adds lots of music and a dance or two - just enough to enchant yet another, more sophisticated generation.

©2005 Flint Journal



By Michael Grossberg

The post-Broadway tour of the modest musical, which ran in New York earlier this year, offers a chance for the whole family to enjoy a classic together.

Allan Knee has faithfully adapted the story about a stoic mother and four daughters struggling to live while the man of the house is away fighting the Civil War, but the condensation shifts the focus more to Jo, Alcott’s tomboyish alter ego.

Jason Howland’s tuneful music and Mindi Dickstein’s simple lyrics serve the story and characters while evoking a homespun 19th-century atmosphere that is echoed by Michael Lichtefeld’s folksy choreography.

Maureen McGovern, a 1970s pop singer turned Broadway regular, delivers Days of Plenty with a soaring dignity and strength that resonates with the song’s theme of resilience and hope in the face of tragedy.



Columbus, OH
Highland students entertain cast of musical
Thursday, December 8, 2005

ThisWeek Staff Writer

Singer Maureen McGovern and other cast members from the Broadway musical “Little Women” visited Highland Elementary School last week. But -- in a reversal of the usual roles -- students at the West Side School entertained them.

McGovern and the others wiped away sentimental tears as the third-grade class, led by teacher Mira Cremeans, sang lyrics from a children's book that McGovern had adapted to a song he wrote: “ ... Born in the heart of every child is the power to change the world. ...”

The tears had not fully dried during the standing ovation that followed.

“ ... It was incredibly moving,” McGovern said afterward.

“This (Highland) is the embodiment of what happens if you give kids love and respect in the school environment. ... The feeling is joy and eagerness to learn,” she said.

“Little Women” was performed at the Palace Theater last week as part of the “Broadway in Columbus” series. McGovern, who plays Marmee, and some of the cast ended up at Highland because she and the marketing director of Broadway in Columbus are friends with a Highland mentor, Judy Shafer.

One conversation led to another, and the troupe said yes to their visit last Thursday to the school.

It helped that students there have been reading and studying the novel by Louisa May Alcott, upon which the musical is based.

Fourth- and fifth-graders came to the school's music room last Thursday ready with questions. Some asked about acting, wondering about being nervous on stage and preparation for a role.

“I get really nervous right before we start,” said Louisa Flaningam, who plays Aunt March.

McGovern, too, admitted to some butterflies that lead to little mistakes.

“We aren't always saying the lines exactly right, I confess,” she said.

She said that learning more about the Alcott family helped her better understand the book and the musical.

“I have a journal that I have put together,” said McGovern. “It's an exercise I do that makes me closer to the family.”

Opening up the book, she pointed out pictures of Alcott, her sisters, her father and mother, and the men the sisters eventually married. All were inspiration for the characters in the book, she said, although the names and some of the background information changed for the fictional March family.

“The father did not go to war, for example,” said McGovern. “But Louisa herself was a nurse there.”

The actors also talked about the play and the roles.

“When I read the script, I saw that it had something very special to say about people and families,” said Flaningam. “I wanted to be part of it.”

Although she plays the mother, McGovern said she identifies most with Jo, the character based on Alcott herself.

“She had a dream, and despite all obstacles, she never gave up,” she said.

McGovern, a Youngstown native who is best known as a singer (“The Morning After” from the 1972 movie “The Poseidon Adventure” was her breakout song), said she knew from the age of three that she would make that her career.

She did, following that song with a number of other hits. But more lately, she has starred in a number of stage productions, including “The Pirates of Penzance.” All the actors, including McGovern, said that acting is hard work, but a dream to them.

“It's worth the hard work,” she said. “Finding something you love and then doing it the rest of your life ... well, it's wonderful,” she said.



'Little Women' musical is a charming show for children and adults
For The Tennessean
Thursday, 11/17/05

There's sweetness to Little Women — The Broadway Musical that can't, and shouldn't, be denied.

It offers a strong female role model in Jo March, whose independence and aspirations have inspired generations of women since Louisa May Alcott's novel was published in 1868.

And this national tour also has a captivating performance by award-winning singer and actress Maureen McGovern.

Is it filled with old-fashioned sentiment like musicals of another era? Yes, though that's appropriate for the story and its 1860s setting. Does it cut out much of the novel's narrative? Yes, but the show would go far beyond its 2-hour run time if those cuts weren't made.

In paring the story while retaining its heart, Allan Knee, Mindi Dickstein and Jason Howland have crafted a charming piece with appealing elements for children and adults.

For children, the growing pains of the March girls and the vivid storytelling that Jo (Kate Fisher) creates will resonate; for adults, the nurturing hand of March matriarch Marmee (McGovern) and the love that blossoms between the extroverted Jo and the introverted Professor Bhaer (Andrew Varela) are among the touch points.

Fisher's Jo has the spirit of Katherine Hepburn and the spunk of June Allyson. She also has a powerful, versatile singing voice. Varela's acting and singing are superb, and Louisa Flaningam's portrayal of the traditionally minded Aunt March is strong. The rest of the experienced ensemble is no less enjoyable.

McGovern leaves the greatest impression, though. Her comforting presence is felt throughout the show, and her voice in such numbers as the ballad Days of Plenty retains all the richness and warmth it had when she propelled The Morning After to No. 1 on the Billboard charts and an Oscar for Best Song from The Poseidon Adventure more than 30 years ago.

Director Susan H. Schulman has paced the show so Little Women's four-year timespan doesn't slow to a crawl or speed by in a hurry. Douglas Coates' musical direction is sure-handed and energetic, while Michael Lichtefeld's choreography reminds us of the joyous movement found in Michael Kidd's work on stage and screen.

Catherine Zuber's costumes are carefully detailed to fit period and character. Derek McLaane's combination of wooden platforms and set pieces provide easy, well-framed scene shifts.

But it's sentiment that ultimately drives Little Women — The Broadway Musical. Perhaps in these often cynical times, such sweet-natured entertainment is timelier than it might initially appear.


Seattle Times

by Misha Berson

Seattle, WA

With her hearty singing voice and rambunctious panache, Fisher is a fine embodiment of the tomboyish dreamer who is a surrogate for Alcott's own adolescent self. This Jo can take a pratfall, sulk with flair, be aggressively rude in one minute and a charismatic charmer the next — just like the Jo March many of us know and love from the book.



Lilting, lovely 'Little Women' soars
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Strong cast delivers the touring show's beautiful score
by Ivan M. Lincoln

Heading into "Little Women" I remembered a non-musical version of Louisa May Alcott's beloved story several years ago — a rather tedious production that seemed to drag on forever.

This all new musical — despite the 20-minute delay on opening night — is everything that show was not. Packed with incredible talent, a fine script by Allan Knee and an effervescent score by composer Jason Howland and lyricist Mindi Dickstein, this one soars.

The music — from lovely ballads to lilting waltzes to energetic, upbeat tunes — always seems to fit neatly in the period (from 1863 to 1867). And the songs are performed by a cast that is as strong musically as the timbers in the March family's sturdy Concord house.

It's a wonderful house, too, a home filled with love (OK, and some sibling contention) between four close-knit sisters and their loving mother, with occasional visits from a humorously cantankerous aunt.

Maureen McGovern is perfectly cast as Marmee, who holds her struggling family together while father is away serving as a chaplain during the Civil War. She has some of the show's most touching ballads and duets — quietly writing a letter to her husband while she is "Here Alone" and longing for "Days of Plenty."

While McGovern is the "name" star (and she certainly holds her own) this is really an ensemble piece with plenty of great songs to go around.

One young actress who is on stage and in the thick of things 90 percent of the time is Kate Fisher as Jo, constantly stirring up those old-fashioned, strait-laced manners with her own brand of feistiness. She's determined to succeed as a writer — and Fisher gets some rousing, show-stopping numbers in the bargain.

Stephen Patterson is the rambunctious Laurie (actually Theodore Laurence II), impetuous grandson of the angry old gentleman next door. When he starts singing you wonder how that giant tenor voice comes out of that less-than-towering body. And Jo and Laurie, with their friendly sparring, lend plenty of energy to the production.

Other standouts are Renée Brna as Meg, who falls in love with handsome Mr. Brooke (Michael Minarik); Gwen Hollander as Amy, who hates being the baby in the family; Autumn Hurlbert as Beth, Andrew Varela as Professor Bhaer, Robert Stattel as Mr. Laurence and Louisa Flaningam as Mrs. Kirk (the show's comic-relief character).

"Little Women" has arrived in Salt Lake City at the perfect time. While the menfolk are out stomping about the mountains in search of deer, their wives and daughters can enjoy 2 1/2 hours in the Capitol Theatre, relishing the musical version of the classic novel they've all probably read from cover to cover.

The 11-member pit orchestra, under the baton of Douglas Coates, provides just the right musical underscoring, along with Catherine Zuber's splendid gowns and Derek McLane's excellent scenery (props and set pieces glide effortlessly on and off with nary a hitch).


San Francisco Chronicle

by Robert Hurwitt

San Jose, CA

McGovern is fine in the role, warm, matronly, modestly wise and glowing with equal parts relish and concern for the four daughters she's raising while her husband is off in the Civil War. She sings beautifully, as does the entire cast, expressing a lyrical, lonely longing as she writes him a letter in "Here Alone," one of composer Jason Howland's more appealing songs. Her voice is full and resonant in her other big number, "Days of Plenty,"

Many of Howland's songs are genuinely sweet and pleasant, and all are expertly handled by the strong cast and orchestra under Douglas Coates' musical direction.

The production looks great in Susan H. Schulman's reliably fluid and inventive stagings.

Fisher is an attractive Jo, bright, buoyant, bursting with energy and deeply committed to both her creative pursuits and her bond with her sisters. A classic Victorian tomboy, in Catherine Zuber's luxuriant array of period costumes, she strides the stage, throws herself about and plants her feet as if she were half-channeling Katharine Hepburn and half-auditioning for the next revival of "Peter Pan."

Renée Brna is a lovely, composed Meg, the oldest sister, delightfully abashed about setting off for her first dance party and sweetly empathetic with Jo. She and Michael Minarik are particularly appealing in the "More Than I Am" duet, one of Howland and Dickstein's two engagingly awkward marriage-proposal songs. Fisher and Andrew Varela are winningly fumbling-formal and honey-toned on the other one, "Small Umbrella in the Rain."

Gwen Hollander is fetchingly uppity, petulant and, finally, blossoming as the youngest sister Amy. Autumn Hurlbert is convincingly angelic as the super-good Beth, the one who dies young, warbling a sweet "Off to Massachusetts" parlor song with Robert Stattel, repeating his Broadway role as the curmudgeonly neighbor she reforms.



'Little Women' is no small pleasure
y Jim Carnes, Bee Staff Writer
September 30, 2005)

Family joys and family sorrows are at the heart of "Little Women - The Broadway Musical," about the coming of age of aspiring writer Jo March, her sisters and beloved mother, Marmee. It's hard to imagine that this affecting tale could be better told than it is in the new Broadway Series production, which opened Wednesday at the Community Center Theater.

Kate Fisher stars as Jo, the would-be writer who charms her siblings (and apparently most of the town of Concord, Mass., where they live) with her blood-and-guts romances, written in her attic and often performed by her and her sisters, Beth (Autumn Hurlbert), Meg (Renée Brna) and Amy (Gwen Hollander). Jo hopes one day to travel, to meet interesting and important people and to become a famous author. She will, in fact, move to New York to pursue her career, but only after promising her sisters that they will be "four together forever."

Alas, life isn't always accommodating. Sometimes, love steps in to expand - and test - the bonds; sometimes, death is the test.

Stephen Patterson is delightfully comic and inherently interesting as Laurie, who arrives as a friend, grows into a potential love interest for Jo but ultimately is paired with another sister. Patterson sings very well, particularly on the sweet "Take a Chance on Me."

This musical (book by Allan Knee, music by Jason Howland and lyrics by Mindi Dickstein) is based on the famous novel by Louisa May Alcott, published in 1868. The play is not Alcott's "Little Women," but it beats with the same heart.

Episodes of Jo's life are played out in a series of scenes and vignettes on a constantly changing stage (beautifully and efficiently designed by Derek McLane) and against some artfully painted backdrops that reflect the change of seasons from winter, when the play begins at Christmas 1863, through the spring of 1867.

There's a war going on in America at the time of this play, but it goes unmentioned except as the reason the girls' father is absent and to draw away Meg's fiancé (Michael Minarik) in one of the play's finest songs, the lovely duet "More Than I Am."

It's somewhat surprising that the songs from "Little Women" are not better-known, because some of them are exquisite.

If you wonder why this production is promoted as "starring Maureen McGovern" when it's clearly Jo's story (and Fisher is perfect in the lead role), it's not just because McGovern has the more recognizable name. Her character adds a dependable center to the story, just as Marmee centered the girls' lives - and McGovern gets to sing two of the play's best songs, "Here Alone" and "Days of Plenty."

These are very good songs, and several members of the audience were sniffling and wiping away tears at the conclusion of "Days of Plenty" on opening night. That's a song that deserves to be performed more.

Like life, "Little Women" sometimes rockets between great happiness and abject sorrow. In one particularly effective scene, an ecstatic Jo returns to the New York boardinghouse she's staying in with the news that she has sold her first story to a publisher. Her budding relationship (which she, at the time, seems oblivious to) with Professor Bhaer (the charming Andrew Varela) sparkles as she delivers her good news. But the mood is quickly dashed when a telegram reveals that sister Beth is quite ill. Just when her career is getting launched, Jo must return home to be with her sister.

Fisher is excellent in scenes such as this, torn between shifting emotions but never losing her footing. Each of the sisters, likewise, has moments to shine - some comic, some romantic, all really fine. The scene on the beach at Cape Cod with Jo and Beth is especially touching. Their song, "Some Things Are Meant To Be," is another tearjerker, but it's wonderfully performed.

"Little Women" opened on Broadway in January and closed on May 22. It received only one Tony Award nomination - for the actress who played Jo. Although it is based upon one of the most famous novels in American literature, the musical is hardly known. Perhaps this national tour, which began in September and will hit 30 cities, will expose it to a larger audience that will appreciate its many charms.


Arizona Daily Star

by Kathleen Allen

Tucson, AZ

There's much to admire about this road show of the Broadway production. Particularly Maureen McGovern, who plays the matriarch of the March family, Marmee. McGovern has a serene presence, and a voice like very fine crystal. The whole company, in fact, was in very fine voice. Director Susan H. Schulman has directed an uncluttered, fast-moving show.


LA Times

by Daryl H. Miller

Costa Mesa, CA

Script and score work together nicely, to distinguish this umpteenth version of "Little Women" as a lovely ode to the creative process. As aspiring writer Jo (Kate Fisher) makes her journey through privation, loss, solidarity and romance, she experiences everything keenly. The cumulative effect: a quiet thrill, and possibly even a catch in the throat, when she finally realizes that the greatest truth she can commit to paper is the story of life among her sisters – romantic Meg (Renée Brna), selfless Beth (Autumn Hurlbert) and willful Amy (Gwen Hollander).

Maureen McGovern, one of the Broadway production's headliners, is a nurturing presence as the mother, or Marmee, as the girls call her. When the '70s pop diva turns her rich contralto – a voice like dark honey – to her two big ballads, the show hits emotional highs.

Fisher is still more compelling. Looking a bit like Winona Ryder and sounding a lot like New York star Sutton Foster, she has fire in her voice and electricity in her bearing.

The unfussy stagecraft — painterly landscapes, floating curtains, gliding furniture — is understated yet artful, proving that modesty is indeed a virtue.




by Joel Hirschhorn

McGovern (2005 Drama Desk nominee for her Marmee) keeps a warmly affecting grip on an all-wise, supermom character, infusing the part with grit and impressive strength.

When she sings "Here Alone," while writing a letter to her husband, a soldier in the Civil War, she powerfully shapes the big notes and caresses the softer ones. Her other solo, "Days of Plenty," expressing maternal grief at the loss of her daughter Beth, is also deeply felt, and Marmee seems a large, vital character, much more than the way the role is written.


North County Times

by Pam Kragen
San Diego, CA

The singers are top-notch, the costumes and sets are gorgeous, the big, 13-member orchestra plays beautifully, there are a lot of laughs, and Allan Knee's book is mostly faithful to Louisa May Alcott's story of the four March sisters in 1860s New England.

The cast give it their all in the well-sung production directed by Susan H. Schulman and choreographed by Michael Lichtefeld. McGovern, who created the role of Marmee on Broadway, gets top billing (and final bows) in the touring production. And though she's only onstage for a few scenes, she makes a memorable impression

But "Little Women" is focused on the character of Alcott's literary alter-ego, Jo, who dreams of becoming a writer and vows never to marry. She's portrayed here by plucky, energetic Kate Fisher, who seems to channel actress Winona Ryder (who portrayed Jo on film in 1994). She's got a strong, high-ranging soprano voice that's best heard in the first-act closer "Astonishing."

Tenor Stephen Patterson is a standout as Jo's neighbor and best friend, Laurie. He's got a terrific singing voice and a buoyant stage presence that lifts every scene he's in, and his bubbly solo "Take a Chance on Me" is a delight.

The musical version of "Little Women" is worthy of applause. It's an earnest, well-staged and well-cast adaptation of a classic novel that deserves a hearing and good audiences.



McGovern unfazed by prospect of ‘Little Women’ tour that lasts a year

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


NEW YORK — Maureen McGovern finds herself happily homeless. The Grammy-nominated singer — best-known for the song The Morning After — has placed her Los Angeles home on the market, given up her New York apartment and put all her possessions in storage.

For the next year, she is hitting the road.

‘‘It’s kind of exciting," said McGovern, 56. "I’m free as a bird." Until next August, she will play Marmee in the touring production of Little Women — taking the musical in which she starred on Broadway through more than 30 cities, including Columbus (Nov. 29 to Dec. 4).

‘‘The hardest part is what to leave behind," said the self-described pack rat, who has amassed various collections — including antique bells — through the years.

‘‘It’s time to let go."

As daunting as a year on the road might sound, McGovern seems unfazed — a quality that Susan H. Schulman, the director of Little Women and a friend since 1981, admires.

‘‘You know, a lot of people just can’t do it," Schulman said. "They get out there and go: ‘Ooh, wait a second. I have to pack now?’

"I couldn’t do it. I see a suitcase and have a nervous breakdown; she doesn’t. She just packs up her stuff, and she goes."

McGovern goes for one good reason: Pretty much since she was discovered — singing in a Ramada Inn lounge outside Cleveland — the road has been her friend.

"My whole life’s been a tour," she said with a laugh.

The native of Youngstown came out of the gate hard: At 23, she was tapped to sing The Morning After for the disaster flick The Poseidon Adventure.

The soundtrack promptly went gold; the song won the Academy Award in 1972 and earned her a Grammy Award nomination for best new artist.

"I’ll always be remembered for The Morning After. It’s a great song. . . . I still get letters from people. They respond to the hopefulness of the song."

Yet the inspirational lyrics belied her chaotic life: Her mother was dying of colon cancer; she was going through a divorce, suing her manager and struggling with debt.

McGovern soon became a movie-soundtrack darling, singing another Oscar-winning song — We May Never Love Like This Again from The Towering Inferno (1974) — and the nominated Nice To Be Around from Cinderella Liberty (1973) and Wherever Love Takes Me from Gold (1974).

She also crooned Can You Read My Mind for the original Superman movie (1978).

The next year, her Different Worlds became the theme for the TV sitcom Angie.

Although her successes were impressive on paper, McGovern thought she lacked control over her career.

She never got to pick her songs or how they were sung. Producers were muddling gems with bizarre orchestrations. Managers were stealing from her. And she was booked to sing in front of bored businessmen.

By the late 1970s, she dropped out.

"I wasn’t going to record again until I could sing something really from the heart," she said. "That was a scary time in the ’70s. I wouldn’t go back there for anything."

McGovern even created an alter ego — Glenda Schwartz, the name she used when she gave up the business to work as a secretary in a public-relations company, fielding calls and making coffee.

"I’d go to the south of France; I’d go to the Philippines, to South America, and be treated like royalty," she said. "And I’d come back and be Glenda Schwartz with a typewriter."

Eventually, McGovern returned on her terms.

She made her Broadway debut in 1981, replacing Linda Ronstadt in The Pirates of Penzance and quickly followed opposite Raul Julia in Nine and with Sting in Threepenny Opera.

Her recordings include a range, from Amen! A Gospel Celebration in 1993 to a luscious collection of love songs in the 1998 Grammy-nominated The Pleasure of His Company. She also lent her voice to the 1995 Winnie the Pooh album, Take My Hand.

Now she’s back on the road, having packed her two dogs, grabbed a few favorite DVDs and readied herself to become the matriarch of a new bunch of singers.

"I think in life you have to have an overabundance of hope. And you have to laugh," she said. "I can think of a gazillion things that were devastating to me over the years, but when you look at the world, you have to laugh, you have to move forward, and you have to give back."




Ken Gentry, Randall Wreghitt and Dani Davis, producers of Little Women-The Musical, announced today that recording, concert and theatre star Maureen McGovern, currently starring in the Broadway production, is set to reprise her role as Marmee in the show’s upcoming national tour. The 30-city tour debuts at the Civic Theatre in San Diego, August 30th through September 4th, 2005 and continues with stops in San Jose, Columbus, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale and Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center among other cities.

Little Women-The Musical opened on Broadway on January 23rd at the Virginia Theatre.

“We are thrilled that the show is going on tour so soon after its Broadway premiere. We think the positive audience response the show generates and the well-known and recognizable title make this a must-see on the road. When Maureen expressed interest in touring and was available for the 2005-2006 season, it sealed the deal!” said Gentry.

Little Women-The Musical is adapted from the Louisa May Alcott classic novel about the four remarkable March sisters who come of age during the Civil War era. This timeless tale about the power of family, friendship and romance is capturing the hearts of a new generation and captivating audiences of all ages.

Even the critics have taken notice. “The show is packing in the tweens and telling them in a way that only a musical can to juts be true to yourself and don’t let anyone stifle your dream,” said The New York Times. Time Magazine said “Little Women has been turned into a musical that even grownups will like!” And, the New York Sun raved “It’s a Broadway musical designed for the whole family!”


The Tour | The Production | Who's Who | News and Multimedia | Blog | FAQ | Links | Gift Shop | Contact Us | Home


Little Women Tour
Little Women Production
Little Women Who's who
Little Women News and Multimedia
The Little Women Show Blog
Little Women Store
Little Women FAQ
Little Women Contacts
Little Women Home