By Fran Syverson
They’re back! “Little Women,” beloved by many generations of girls and women, springs to life once again at the Sierra Madre Playhouse. Nostalgia reigns as we reacquaint ourselves with Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy.
Despite often thought of collectively as the four March sisters, each evolves into her own person with unique personality and talents—writing, acting, drawing, music. They do so on a stage lifted right out of the mid-1800s. Designed by Nicholas Acciani, the living room has patterned wallpaper, a tall grandfather’s clock, a fireplace opposite Beth’s treasured piano, antique wall-hung portraits, and foot stools. Also evoking the era are the gorgeous, voluminous gowns worn by the women, and designed by Shon LeBlanc.
Even though the drama runs two hours, it could not span the entire storyline of the book upon which it is based, Louisa Mae Alcott’s “Little Women.” So Artistic Director Christian Lebano has chosen to focus on a sort of elongated moment in the 1864-65 lives of the March family. His adaptation captures many watershed moments of the story—Beth’s scarlet fever, Aunt March’s imperious demeanor, the family’s concern for their father away in the war, Marmee’s tender compassion…
The production is a collaboration of the Playhouse and the California School of the Arts-San Gabriel Valley. Students from CSArts are double-cast. In the Orchard Cast are Aaliyah Brathwaite, Jilleah Channels, Julianna Riley, Samantha Lebedev, Sullivan Braun, and Aria Tomar. In the Hillside Cast are Marylou Martinez, Annika Bolton, Simone Link, Sasha Stula, Jacob David McNulty, and Luca Nicoletti. Adult professional actors are Andrea Stradling as Marmee, Alison Kalmus as Aunt March, Rosanne Barker as Hannah, and Dan Hazel as John Brook.
Admission is $30 for adults, seniors 65-and-older pay $25, and youth 17-and-younger pay $15. “Little Women” runs most weekends, Thursday-Sunday, through Nov. 3. For tickets or information, call (626) 355-4318 or visit sierramadreplayhouse.org.