‘Little Women: the Musical’: A heartwarming tale of sisterhood for the whole family

Photo courtesy Jeff Laydon

By Tess Wisher
Special to The PREVIEW
Thingamajig Theatre Company’s production of “Little Women: the Musical” is playing at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts through Jan. 20.
This heartwarming musical, based on the beloved book by Louisa May Alcott, tells the story of the four March sisters: Jo, Beth, Amy and Meg. We follow these four sisters as they grow into womanhood through love, loss and swashbuckling stories.
Directed by Dennis Elkins, “Little Women” is a story of a military service family while they fulfill their duty to their country and supporting their ambitions. You catch a glimpse into Marmie’s struggles raising four little women by herself while her husband is serving in the Civil War. You see Jo’s desperation to be a part of something bigger than herself while honoring her commitment to her family.
Like in the book, Jo March, played by Marion Bienvenu, is a strong-willed, independent aspiring young writer clawing for her chance at literary success. Through Bienvenu’s performance, you see the effect of her familial bonds in every action. She strives to support her family while her father is serving in every way she can. She illegally chops down a Christmas tree. She sells her hair. She writes constantly. In each of these actions and more, Bienvenu highlights Jo’s undying duty to her family with superb acting and a powerful voice that will have you breathless.
The entire cast of “Little Women” is filled with phenomenal performances, especially by the three March sisters who are portrayed by Grace Olson-Davidson (Meg), Alicia Osborn (Beth) and Pagosa Springs native Johannah Laverty (Amy). Each of these women brings their special brand of familial love to the table.
The scenic elements, designed by Matthew D. McCarren, create a beautiful playground that easily transforms from the March living room to a deep dark forest in Jo’s story. But no matter what, the living room and attic where Jo writes her stories are always present. No matter where the story transports us, the March home is forever ingrained in our view of that space, because it is the ever-guiding force for the four sisters.
“Little Women” is the story of four sisters as they grow into adulthood and discover their places in the world. The musical is filled with moments of Jo desperately searching for passion and excitement, but ultimately finding that her greatest adventure story is with her sisters. Her family is what gives her strength. Her family is what she needs to succeed in a world that is all too happy to remind her she is not following the rules. But, by not following those rules, she is supporting her family while the country is at war.
If you want to see a musical with strong women who sing about meaningful life events, beautiful music that captivates universal struggles and joys of growing up, and a sword fight or two, this is the show for you. “Little Women: The Musical” is more than that novel you read in 10th grade with some music thrown on top. It’s a new way to see this strong and inspiring family. It’s captivating and powerful, full of life and youthful ambition. It’s truly a must see story.
“Little Women: the Musical” will be playing through Jan. 20 at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts. To get your 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 January 11, 2019.