‘Little Women’ to open Friday

Photo courtesy Jeff Laydon
Marion Bienvenu plays Jo March, a young writer striving to get her work published. Catch Bienvenu in action in “LIttle Women: the Musical” at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts through Jan. 20.

By Tess Wisher
Special to The PREVIEW
For the second of two openings at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts this month, Thingamajig Theatre Company is opening “Little Women: the Musical.”
This classic tale, originally written by Louisa May Alcott, tells the story of Jo March and her three sisters — Beth, Meg and Amy — as they grow up amidst the American Civil War.
Originally published in 1869, the novel was met with great success, despite the fact that Alcott begrudgingly wrote the novel at the request of her publisher. The characters in “Little Women” are openly based on people in Alcott’s life. Her three sisters take the stage as Beth, Meg and Amy, while Alcott portrayed herself as Jo. The connection was so prominent, readers at the time would often refer to Alcott as “Miss March” or “Jo” and Alcott would not correct them.
The production, directed by Dennis Elkins, distills the sisters’ story down to its essence, accompanied by a beautiful score and a long string of wonderful ballads that give a glimpse into the thought processes of these characters.
Unlike other musicals, like “Legally Blonde” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “Little Women” is a push for naturalism where you live with characters in their, albeit slightly romanticized, lives without the glitz and glam of showstopping chorus numbers. But that does not mean this musical is any less showstopping. What makes this musical worth seeing is the touching connection the music makes with the lives of these young women.
Marion Bienvenu plays Jo March, a young writer striving to get her work published. Bienvenu’s beautifully strong voice soars as she takes on some of the most powerful musical pieces in the show: “Astonishing” and “The Fire Within Me.”
This is not the first time Bienvenu has taken on the Thingamajig stage with such fire and drive. Bienvenu also starred in “Hairspray” as Tracy Turnblad, but the role of Jo gives Bienvenu the chance to show depth of character not often highlighted in shows like “Hairspray.” All of the sisters have these very real struggles with trials of life in 19th century New England.
“Little Women” is a beautiful story of a family that has something for everyone. You will fall in love with the March family as they play and grow throughout this adventure story.
If you’d like to see “Little Women” at Thingamajig Theatre, the show will be playing through the Jan. 20. For tickets, visit pagosacenter.org or call 731-SHOW (7469).
Thingamajig Theatre is a professional nonprofit 501(c)(3) theater in residence within the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts producing musicals, comedies and dramas year-round.

This story was posted on December 21, 2018.