Little Women: New Life on a New Stage


Celeste Briggs as Jo March in Glenn’s Little Women


Near the end of Little Women, Beth March (Charlotte Beasley) lies on her sister Jo’s (Celeste Briggs) lap, as Jo caresses her hair and tells her a story. The only ones on stage, they are submerged in a frame of white light. A single moment devoid of the loud fights and adventures the sisters have, this intimate conversation perfectly encompasses what Kate Hamill’s production is all about- the characters.

Charlotte Beasley as Beth March.

Every single decision the set designers, lighting coordinators, costumers, and especially the performers made were in service of the characters and their stories. That’s what makes this staging so special.

Based on the classic novel written by Louisa May Alcott, this play centers on four young sisters; Jo, Amy, Beth, and Meg March, as they deal with issues of poverty, ambition, and coming of age in their world of gender and racial inequality.
As great as the source material holds up, it can’t be the only thing holding the play afloat. Thankfully, the cast does a beautiful job of bringing their roles to life.

The standouts here are Celeste Briggs (Jo), Lexi Lambrecht (Amy), and Gage Blackerby (Laurie). Being the three most important pieces of the ensemble, they have a lot to carry on their shoulders. Each one brings so much to their character, being subtle when need be, and getting emotional when the script demands it. The chemistry between them is also flawless. The sisterly rivalry between Amy and Jo feels humorous but biting, while the bond between Jo and Laurie feels genuine and heartfelt.

Left, Celeste Briggs as Jo March. Right, Lexi Lambrecht as Amy March.

That’s not to say that the rest of the cast doesn’t complement this perfectly, because they do, through the depth in their performing. Charlotte Beasley, who plays Beth, brings the four of them together with her hopeful, calm personality. Kennedy Young, who plays both the March family maid and Aunt March, is the polar opposite of Beth, showing the sometimes harsh realities and expectations women had.

Even performers with much smaller roles make their marks, like Brandon Watkins, who gives a surprising level of kindness to Mr. Brooks, an otherwise stoic character. Others like Sarah Hughes, who plays the March family father, are able to give their characters emotion and expression without any lines.

Left, Brandon Watkins as Mr. Brooks. Right, Kaylee Winkley as Meg March.

The cast isn’t the only shining piece of the puzzle, though. The minimal set design gives just enough space for the actors to breathe, and yet feel as though they are in the world of their characters. A piano, four chairs, an arch all add to the experience of putting the audience in the shoes of the March family.

The lighting coordination is also beautiful, as it always finds ways to frame the characters in subtle but meaningful ways. Serene, floral patterns light the stage as the sisters play in large-scale scenes, while other, smaller moments with less characters are reflected through softer, lighter frames of light.

Left, Kaylee Winkley as Meg March. Right, Celeste Briggs as Jo March.

Overall, the cast, production team, and director of Little Women breathe new life into this classic story. Through their devotion to character, they make the audience laugh, gasp, and maybe even cry.

Go see Kate Hamill’s production of Little Women before it ends, through Saturday the 25th! This week’s cast is different from the first, although many of the original members return in different capacities. Tickets are $10, with performances on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:00. It’ll be a night to remember.