The Broadway musical adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women is tuneful and heartwarming. Centerpoint Legacy Theatre's production of the show is quite satisfying, and even "Astonishing" in many ways.
Little Women (music by Jason Howland, lyrics by Mindi Dicke, book by Allan Knee) tells the story of the four March sisters and their mother in Civil War-era Massachusetts. The focal point is Jo March, a tomboy who yearns to travel and write great books.
As Jo, Maddie Tarbox (double cast with Megan Winegar) is charismatic and full of life. She is reminiscent of "How I Met Your Mother"'s Cobie Smulders and even, in occasional comedic moments, Lucille Ball. Her singing style isn't precisely perfect for the music as originally conceived, but her voice is so strong and she embodies the character so well that this can be overlooked.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of this production is Jo's chemistry with her mother, Marmee, played by Ms. Tarbox's real-life mother, Maurie Tarbox (double cast with Wanda Copier). They clearly have a history and bond that colors their scenes with authenticity and deep affection.
Maurie Tarbox is a force to be reckoned with, inhabiting her role with authority, sensitivity, and motherly warmth. Her singing voice is rich, piercing, and powerful; her rendition of Marmee's 11 o'clock number "Days of Plenty" rivals any version of the song performed on a professional stage.
The acting is especially strong among the lead actors of the show, which is somewhat unusual in a community theatre production. This includes the remainder of the March sisters: Summer Sloan as Beth (double cast with Caitlin Bird), Jillian Tirado as Meg (double cast with Karina Gillette), and Megan Smyth as Amy (double cast with Summer Sloan).
As usual at Centerpoint Legacy Theatre, the set (designed by Scott Van Dyke), lighting (designed by Austin Hull), costumes (designed by Melonie Fitch and Kierstin Gibbs), and makeup (designed by Yancey J. Quick) are all top-notch.
Little Women is a beautiful musical that everyone should experience at some point in their lives, and this production is a wonderful opportunity to do so.
The show will be performed through September 22. For tickets or more information, call the box office at 801-298-1302 or visit www.centerpointtheatre.org.
Photo Credit: L-R Maddie Tarbox as Jo, Summer Sloan as Beth, Maurie Tarbox as Marmee, Jillian Tirado as Meg, Megan Smyth as Amy