humor, sadness mark Little Women musical
The March family is no ordinary family, and Little Women is no ordinary musical.
Based on the book-turned-movie, The Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild will be putting on its own production of the Broadway musical this month. Little Women follows the lives of the four March sisters as they grow up during the Civil War era and learn about life, love, and loss.
As the actors move off the books and into the final weeks of practice, director Michele Langhough said she couldn’t be more proud of the cast and crew. “The show’s going to be really good and that really has nothing to do with me,” she said. “They’re just a really talented group of people.”
“It’s going to allow the audience to become immersed in the actual environment of the show.” – cast member Meghan Bauer, on the small cast and intimate nature of Little Women
While there is definitely still a lot to do to prepare for the show, Langhough said that is pretty typical for around this time in a performance, and she is confident they will be prepared.
Langhough, who has directed two shows including Little Women and has been assistant director for several others, said one of her favorite things about this particular group of actors is how easy everyone is to work with. “The cast is great,” she said. “There are no divas, they’re all so easy to work with and willing to do whatever they have to.”
As for the show itself, Langhough said it is one all family members and people of all ages can enjoy. There is humor, but there is also sadness, and the songs the actors perform are challenging as well as beautiful.
Meghan Bauer, who plays Jo March, the second-oldest daughter, has done 12 performances with the CVTG but said this role is one of the largest she’s had in terms of the amount of dialogue and number of songs she’s had to memorize. “I do think that the music is actually quite challenging,” she said. “It’s wonderfully written, but I think when they wrote it … there’s a lot of key changes, there’s a lot of tempo changes. I think in one song there’s like six key changes in a span of 35 measures.”
However, she said all of the music is beautiful and, unlike other shows that can have hit-or-miss songs, she really enjoys every song in the musical.
The cast itself is relatively small, with around 10 actors. Bauer said this created a good opportunity for her to get to know everyone on a more intimate level and will also allow the audience to share in the intimacy. “It’s going to allow the audience to become immersed in the actual environment of the show,” she said. “They’ll feel more a part of what’s going on as the actors are performing it.”
Bauer, who didn’t know much about the book or movie before auditioning, said she encourages everyone, whether they are familiar with the story or not, to come out and see the show because it is a very relatable piece.
“It’s just filled with so much more humor than I expected, which is good because those light-hearted moments really offset the emotional moments in the show,” she said. “But that’s why it’s so good.”
Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild production of Little Women • March 12-14 and 19-21, 7:30pm; March 15 and 22, 1:30pm • The Grand Theatre, 102 W. Grand Ave., Eau Claire • (715) 832-PLAY (7529) • www.cvtg.org