The Agnes Irwin School in Rosemont recently brought to life a beloved American classic with a musical twist, Louisa May Alcott's
, with a book by Allan Knee, music by Jason Howland and lyrics by Mindi Dickstein.
A warm tale of family, friendship and coming of age, the story takes place during the Civil War, and revolves around the March family: "Marmee," the strong and loving matriarch, and her four close-knit daughters. The family faces the trials of growing up and moving forward while their father is gone at war.
The events and memories within the story are seen through the eyes of the second-eldest sister, Jo, who was played by Ginna LeVine. LeVine sparkled in this challenging role, and exhibited a great understanding of the character.
She expertly portrayed Jo's wide range of emotions, from her fierce independence to her boyish playfulness, to her tenderhearted sadness, and took on Jo's many vocal pieces with talent and gusto.
The other three March girls - Meg, Beth and Amy - had a lovely sisterly chemistry, and helped to make the Marches a very endearing family. Mallory Zakeosian played the oldest sister, Meg, with grace and understanding.
Grace McCarty, as Beth, took a sweet and winsome character and brought it to life. Victoria Doyle portrayed the patient and sacrificing Marmee with great warmth and sincerity, playing a very convincing mother.
Emily Nagel, as the prim and proper Aunt March, played the role with great poise and a little comedy, and Gordon Shoemaker, as the imposing but softhearted neighbor, Mr. Laurence, brought humor, talent and height to the role.
The complex six-flat set fit cleverly together like a puzzle, becoming several unique locations within the story. Props and costumes were well fitted to the time period, and used effectively.
The cast tackled the musical's frequent and challenging songs with talent and energy, and brought emotion and sincerity to every piece. Although some characters seemed to lack confidence at first, they grew stronger.
Some minor technical difficulties with the set made for a few rocky transitions, but overall, the many set pieces and frequent scene changes were handled very well.