Many people enjoyed the opportunity to see “Little Women” on the big screen this year. And local theater-goers have yet another opportunity to see the March sisters in action at the Roxy Theatre in Morton.
“Little Women,” a dessert theatre production, opens Valentine’s Day at the Roxy. The show fairly closely follows the original book written by Louisa May Alcott following the lives of the March sisters: Meg (portrayed by Isabel Nixon Klein); Jo (portrayed by Scarlet Nixon Klein); Beth (portrayed by Kirsten Scogin); and Amy (portrayed by Talia Heath).
The story starts in the family home in Massachusetts during the Civil War. The March sisters’ father (portrayed by Brian Green) is off fighting in the war and their mother, affectionately called Marmee, (portrayed by Kendra Heath) must manage the household herself. They live in genteel poverty, assisted occasionally by the stern Aunt March, portrayed by Jessica Scogin. As the story unfolds, the sisters follow their different paths through life but also find ways to maintain the bonds as sisters they forged when they were young.
“I love the story of the sisters and how they stay together through everything,” Kirsten Scogin said. “I think that’s important.”
Director Vanessa Nixon Klein said she chose this particular staging of the story, written by Thomas Hischak, because it most closely followed the entire book of “Little Women” whereas many scripts only address the sisters’ childhoods. She also said she loved the fact that it made use of the character of an older Jo (portrayed by Elysa Ray) as a narrator for the entire story.
“You don’t have a lot of long, drawn-out scenes trying to explain everything,” Vanessa Nixon Klein said. “It’s fast paced. I really liked that it kept everything moving along.”
The show begins with the elder Jo, now called Josephine March, speaking to the Springfield Ladies Literary Society in 1889. Throughout the show, she gives important insights and background to the audience. Ray said she was particularly drawn to portray the character because this staged version of “Little Women” really emphasizes the connection between Louisa May Alcott’s fictional characters and her real life.
“Certainly, she was not a woman of her time. She was a woman ahead of her time,” Ray said.
“Little Women” is the Roxy’s annual dessert theatre production and is a collaboration between the OnStage Teen theatre program and the community theatre. Isabel Nixon Klein said many of the actors and actresses have worked together on this stage for many years and she enjoys the closeness of the cast, which she thinks shines through in the finished product.
“The Roxy is a fun place to do a show,” Isabel Nixon Klein said. “It’s a safe space to play around and try new things.”
Vanessa Nixon Klein said “Little Women” was chosen for this year’s dessert theatre production at least partially based on the success of last year’s staging of “Pride and Prejudice”. She explained that “Little Women” is of a similar genre and is a story that has characters of all ages as well as a literary appeal that transcends generations.
“It’s such a beloved story,” Vanessa Nixon Klein said. “It’s so well known and I think it was very fitting for this collaboration with the dinner theater and the teens. It really appeals to all age groups.”