Spotlight: Marion Bienvenu takes on Jo March in ‘Little Women’

Photo courtesy Jeff Laydon
Marion Bienvenu as Jo March with Thingamajig Theatre Company. “Little Women” is at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts until Jan. 20.

By Tess Wisher
Special to The PREVIEW
Marion Bienvenu has returned to the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts and Thingamajig Theatre Company for “Little Women: The Musical.”
Bienvenu is playing the lead role of Jo March. If you’d like to see Bienvenu in action, the show is playing now through Jan. 20 at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts.
Bienvenu grew up in Baton Rouge, La., and studied musical theater at Northwestern State University. Bienvenu has appeared on this particular Pagosa Springs stage many times, including starring as Tracy Turnblad in “Hairspray” and Enid in “Legally Blonde.”
We had the pleasure of sitting down with Bienvenu to talk about her journey as an actress through this fascinating and, dare I say, astonishing role.
What inspired you to go into acting?
“I have been singing and performing for my family since I could talk. I was a part of my elementary school drama club since the first grade, but didn’t really get bitten by the acting bug until my mother found a theater camp at my local community theater. One of my first school plays, I got into a fight with my best friend about who was going to play the cat. I got stuck with the role of the horse. After that, the rest is history!”
What is your dream role?
“I have fortunately had the opportunity to play many of my dream roles (Sally Bowles in ‘Cabaret,’ Lady of the Lake in ‘Spamalot,’ Tracy Turnblad in ‘Hairspray’), but one of my lifelong dream roles is Judas Iscariot in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar.’”
What is challenging about this role?
“Physically, it is very demanding. When we start the show, Jo is a young, energetic 15-year-old, bouncing around the stage and sword fighting with her sisters. Jo almost never leaves the stage, which also adds to the challenge. Then, we have the material the show deals with, which is emotionally and mentally exhausting all on own.”
How do you connect with your character?
“I put myself into every character, but sometimes other people from my life inspire me as well. I’ve grown up with so many strong female figures in my life, but my mother has always been the strongest. She is a writer at heart, just like Jo, and has worked hard alongside my father to give my brother and I the incredible lives we have now. We grew up with nothing but support from our parents and were told that anything in life is possible. My mother’s intellect, creativity and strength fuel Jo March. She is my inspiration for this character — my real life Wonder Woman.”
What have you learned from this character?
“This show has answered a lot of questions I’ve been struggling with as a working actor. The word ‘astonishing’ takes on many different meanings throughout the show and will also mean something different to each person who comes to see ‘Little Women.’ For me, ‘astonishing’ doesn’t necessarily mean fame and glory. At one time in my life it did, but now it’s more about the connections and relationships I’ve made and will make in the future. It is ‘astonishing’ to me how large my theater family has become. As long as I have theater in my life, I will have a loving theater family, and that, to me, is ‘astonishing.’”
What has this process been like?
“To be honest, it was a rough process. I am used to the repertory theater life, but this was a particularly large and emotional show to put up in a week and a half. Without the love and support of this super talented cast, I don’t know how I would have opened this show at all! I love my Thingamajig family!”
Why do you keep coming back to Thingamajig Theatre and Pagosa Springs?
“The people. Never have I experienced a contract with so many loving and caring individuals. On Christmas morning, the company of actors woke up to a house full of presents. Nowhere else will you feel this kind of love and support from your patrons.”
Marion Bienvenu is playing Jo March in “Little Women: The Musical” with Thingamajig Theatre Company at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts through Jan. 20. Come see Bienvenu take on this beautiful show and character alongside a talented cast of performers.
Tickets are available at pagosacenter.org or by calling 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 5, 2019.