ShowBizRadio

Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Elden Street Players Theatre for Young Audiences Little Women

By • Dec 13th, 2010 • Category: Reviews
Little Women
Elden Street Players Theatre for Young Audiences
Industrial Strength Theater, Herndon, VA
Through December 19th
1:40 with one intermission
$10/$7 Children 10/under
Reviewed December 10th, 2010

This adaptation of the classic novel tells just the beginning of the story, making it both the ideal length for young audiences and minimizing some of the more tragic elements of the novel. Like the book, we meet the four March sisters while their father is off to war and see them through until his return. Overall, the production was decent.

All of the performances were decent. They were a little artificial, came across more like caricatures than characters, and were a little big for the small space. Since this was across the board, it may well have been a directorial decision rather than one made universally by the actors. It worked ok for the audience of children, but it would have been a stronger and more emotionally gripping piece, while still engrossing young audiences, if the performances had been more realistic and nuanced. Still, they were good caricatures, and there were no weak links in the cast. The strongest performances and scene was the Christmas play. In this instance, the over-the-top acting was perfect. That, in combination with strong, comical staging, made for a perfect scene. Other than that, no one really stood out as being stronger or weaker than the rest of the cast.

The set was beautiful. Mike Smith did an excellent job of set dressing. Every little item was period, detailed, and in place with the décor. The room felt homey. It really made you feel like you had been invited into the March’s living room. The costume design by Judy Whelihan was equally excellent in representing the period, as well as the unique personalities of the different characters. The lighting and sound were decent; as in, they mostly went unnoticed. There was no specific moment in which either stood out as being exceptionally good or bad.

Basically, it was a very middle-of-the-road production. However, it is important to mention that the box office and ushers were extremely friendly; there were child-friendly refreshments; and the entire cast stayed on stage afterwards to sign programs and were wonderful in taking their time to interact with their young audience members and make them feel special. It was those above-and-beyond measures to make the experience child-centered that make this into a trip worth taking with school-aged children.

Cast:

  • Meg March: Susanna Todd
  • Amy March: Caroline Peterson
  • Beth March: Allie Backer
  • Jo March: Bethany Goodell
  • Marmee: Leslie Peterson
  • Aunt March: Barbara D. Carpenter
  • Hannah: Janet Devine Smith
  • Laurie: Asher Miller
  • Mr. March: Richard Durkin
  • Sallie Gardner: Katie Rees
  • Rose: Caitlyn Sullivan
  • Annie Moffat: Annie Durkin
  • Carolyn: Amanda Holsinger
  • Emily Jane: Danielle Holsinger

Production Team:

  • Executive Producer: Mary Ann Hall
  • Producers: Theresa Bender & Mary Ann Hall
  • Director: Kat Brais
  • Stage Manager: Mary Ann Hall
  • Assistant Stage Managers: Laura Baughman & Gina Gabay
  • Lighting Design: Al Fetske
  • Sound Design: Stan Harris
  • Costume Design: Judy Whelihan
  • Property Design: Lillian Colquitt
  • Set Dressing: Mike Smith
  • Set Construction: Marty Sullivan
  • Master Electrician: Micheal J. O’Connor
  • Set Painter: Sabrina Begley
  • Assisted by: Cathy Rieder, Catherine Messerly
  • Sound Board: Beth Atkins
  • Light Board: Sallie Hall, Sue Klein
  • Box Office: Sandy Sullivan
  • House Management: Dave Sinclair
  • Playbill: Ginger Kohles
  • Graphic Design: Michael Sherman
  • Photographer: Traci J. Brooks
    • Disclaimer: Elden Street Players Theatre for Young Audiences provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

Tagged as: ,

This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/5988.

has been involved in theatre in the state of Maryland and DC for most of her life. She has acted, directed, choreographed, stage managed, and held a million other odd jobs. She has a B.S. in English from Towson University, and is currently pursuing her Master's Degree to become a Reading Specialist. She is a Maryland State Certified English, Theatre, Elementary, and Mathematics Educator. After teaching English and Drama for many years, she now teaches 6th grade Language Arts at Magnolia Middle School in Harford County, Maryland. She wrote the curriculum currently used in Prince George’s County Public Schools for Drama I and Drama II. She now writes and directs plays and musical for use in church.

2 Responses »

  1. I saw the play with a friend on Sunday. We loved it! All of the characters were so lively and their personalities, were vibrant and extremely fun to watch. Between my friend and I, we are particular fan favorites of Aunt March and Jo March. There were many moving scenes and in many of them there were plenty of tears, both of joy and sadness. I would DEFINITELY recommend this play for both children and adults this holiday season. It shows the power of family, friendship and the the gift of giving. If there were stars for this play, definitely 5/5.

  2. Jennifer,
    Thank you for coming out to see our production. We at ESPTFYA know our audiences and what they like and don’t like. We know the kind of performances they are expecting from our casts and crew and we are always delighted to give them more than they expected. If we can encourage families to do something together or a get a kid to think about becoming involved in the arts in ANY capacity, then we have done our job. As one of the few theaters in the entire area that carries a full Theater for Young Audiences season, we take pride in our work, our commitment to the community and our ability to continually produce high quality, affordable, family-friendly shows. Our success shows itself not in “decent” reviews, but in our return patrons, who bring their kids to show after show after show. We have watched their kids grow and have had them audition for and act in shows because of what we do (two of our girls in this show have been with us from the cradle). Sometimes, we even get their parents involved. So, if “decent” and “caricaturish” is how you see our show, then I’ll take that as a compliment. My actors and staff have made me very proud.