Murray’s ‘Little Women’ features powerful female performances
Aug 01, 2019 09:44AM
By Shaun Delliskave
Kylee Robinson as Jo March and Ally McCune as Beth March star in Murray Park Amphitheater’s “Little Women.” (Photo courtesy Jim Smith)
By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]
A tale of love, laughter and loss that spans several years and continents will wrap up Murray Park Amphitheater’s musical theater season, as it presents “Little Women,” Aug. 9-10, 12 and 15-17. “Little Women” is based on the Louisa May Alcott book about four sisters growing up during and after the Civil War.
“‘Little Women’ is a timeless classic. The story revolves around four girls who are always there to comfort each other and offer support for each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Jo is fearless and does whatever she can to make those around her happy and comfortable,” director Jim Smith said. “All the March girls are fierce in their own way, showing strength regardless of the hardships that come their way. The music is uplifting and exciting, with songs you will want to listen to over and over again.”
The show begins with the girls preparing for Christmas without their father and with very little money. The play introduces each of the girl’s personalities as well as their mother, Marmee, who is trying to raise the girls alone. Their neighbor Theodore “Laurie” Lawrence joins them in their adventures and becomes the brother they never had. As the girls grow, they part ways, moving to different cities, getting married, and one passing away; each of the girls finds love and happiness.
While Alcott’s book was published in 1868, the musical play opened on Broadway as recently as 2005. Critics warmly received the play, with actress Sutton Foster receiving a Tony nomination for best leading actress in a musical for her portrayal of Jo.
Jim Smith directs this production, marking over 20 years of productions with Murray Arts in the Park. He’s credited with directing “Oklahoma,” “Camelot,” and “West Side Story,” among others. According to Smith, a drama teacher at Lone Peak High School, his favorite shows produced for Murray are “Urinetown” (2015) and “Little Women” (2013).
Kylee Robinson, currently a student at Utah Valley University pursuing a bachelor’s in musical theatre, takes the lead as Jo. She has performed in many productions throughout the valley, most recently as Audrey in “Little Shop of Horrors” at the Off-Broadway Theater. Filling in the other lead roles are Ally McCune (Beth), Amy Peterson (Meg) and Camden Barrett (Amy).
McCune attends the Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts (SLSPA). In the past few years, she has appeared in productions with the SLSPA, Draper Historic Theater, Draper Arts Council and Empress Theatre.
Last year, Peterson played Rose Lennox in Murray Art Council’s production of “The Secret Garden.” Peterson may find her role easy, as her character’s love interest, John Brooke, will be played by David Peterson, her husband. Barrett (Amy) attends Lone Peak High School and has performed with the Center Stage Youth Performers and, most recently, in Lone Peak High School’s “Drowsy Chaperone” as Kitty.
Supporting Smith with the baton is Music Director Alyse Shattuck, currently the theater teacher at Paradigm High School in South Jordan. A private voice and piano teacher, she has been involved in many productions for Murray Arts Council, most recently “Urinetown.” Choreographer Judy Binns is returning to her Murray roots; she graduated from Murray High and performed on the Murray Amphitheater stage. She has been a choreographer for the past 10 years for various theaters in the valley. “Little Women” will be Stage Manager Betsy Christianson’s fifth production with Murray Arts Council, her second as a member of the production staff.
Though the story of “Little Women” is based in the 19th century, Smith believes that this play will resonate with today’s audiences. “This is a period piece that has a very contemporary feel. Going into the musical, perception is that it is just another night in the park. However, the story will draw you in with excitement, thrilling storytelling, and songs you want to dance to.”
Ticket information for “Little Women” can be found online at www.mcreg.com.