September 15, 2015

Little Women

 After celebrating its 100th anniversary last season, the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre kicked off its next century of performance with the Broadway musical “Little Women”. The show is based on the beloved book by Louisa May Alcott, but it doesn’t stick strictly to the text. It wisely begins with the lead character, Jo March, away from her family in New York. Early scenes with the sisters can feel a bit slow and beginning it later in the story gives the show a stronger opening. 

The musical incorporates some of Jo's stories into the performance. As she reads them aloud to her sisters or friends we see the adventures acted out on stage. The campy dramas provide laughs as her "blood and guts" tales come to life. 
Julia Bonnett plays Jo March and it’s her role that truly stands out in this production. Bonnett is fiery and ambitious as the young writer. Her enthusiasm and temper sometimes get the better of her and it’s the character’s flaws that make the audience love her as much as her strengths. Bonnett’s voice is beautiful and she proves to be the heart of the show with solo numbers like “Astonishing”. 

As a whole, I believe Little Women might have worked better as a play than a musical. The quiet moments the sisters share and the burgeoning romances felt interrupted when characters broke into song. The relationships between most of the main characters felt rushed. This particular production is still a fun one and the Civic Theatre handles the show well. It’s a good fit for a girls' night out or a family outing as it’s kid-friendly. 
Don't Miss the Show:

Performances: The show runs until Sept. 26. Performances begin at 7 p.m. Thursday through Friday, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre is located at 3 Center Green, Carmel, IN 46032 at the Center for the Performing Arts.

Tickets: Ticket prices range from $20 to $40 and can be purchased by calling (317) 843-3800 or visiting www.civictheatre.org. 
Up next is “The Game’s Afoot” in October.  

 Photos courtesy of the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre

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