Published : Wednesday, September 4, 2019 | 12:00 PM
World Premiere stage adaptation of the beloved classic “Little Women” premieres at Sierra Madre Playhouse on October 17. Adapted and directed by Christian Lebano. A co-production of Sierra Madre Playhouse and California School of the Arts – San Gabriel Valley. Based on the novel by Louisa May Alcott.
Christian Lebano has written his own stage adaptation of Little Women specifically for this production. It combines a cast of established professionals in the adult roles, with emerging young performing artists from California School of the Arts – San Gabriel Valley in the roles of the March Sisters.
The “Little Women” of the title are spirited, loving, and artistically or intellectually gifted. Jo writes and gets stories published. Meg, the eldest, is the best actress. Amy draws. Beth has musical talents. Set during the Civil War, this production will focus on the first part of the novel, beginning in 1863 and ending at Christmastime in 1864.
Little Women was first published as a novel in 1868 and became a literary sensation. The author, Louisa May Alcott, based the March sisters on herself and her siblings. In the ensuing 151 years since its debut, it has never ceased to have a loving readership, and it has been the basis for seven feature film adaptations. In the last few decades, Jo March, the independent author who won’t compromise her dreams, has become a feminist icon.
Adapter-director Christian Lebano has been the Artistic Director of Sierra Madre Playhouse since 2014. He has produced, directed or acted in over 35 shows since becoming associated with SMP in 2011. He has built SMP into one of the leading Intimate Theaters in Los Angeles. Under his leadership it has earned 2 Ovation Awards out of 8 nominations for 6 different shows; its first LATimes Critic’s Choice listing; and many Broadway World and Stage Scene LA awards and nominations. He initiated SMP’s TYA series of plays for schools six years ago which has drawn participation from 11 school districts and played for over 10,000 students and teachers. He started the “Off the Page” Play Reading Series which has performed over 35 readings so far – three of which have moved to full productions. And he has recently launched the “Off the Screen” Movie Series of relevant films as a companion to each production. At SMP he directed The Gin Game (Ovation Recommended, Broadway World Nominated); A Christmas Story 2018 & 2017; Deathtrap (Ovation Award – Best Set Design); The Glass Menagerie (Ovation Recommended & Nominated); Driving Miss Daisy (Ovation Recommended, CBS Top 5 Directors LA); Woman in Mind (LATimes Critic’s Choice, Broadway World Nominated Best Director); A Wrinkle in Time; Battledrum; 4000 Miles (Broadway World Nominated Best Director). He currently has a remounted production of The Gin Game performing at the Theatricum Botanicum through September 29.
The professional adult cast of Little Women includes Andrea Stradling, Alison Kalmus, Roxanne Barker and Dan Hazel. The teen roles are portrayed by CSArts-SGV students and are double-cast. These performers include Aaliyah Braithwaite, Marylou Martinez, Annika Bolton, Jilleah Channels, Simone Link, Juliana Riley, Samantha Lebedev, Sasha Stula, Sullivan Braun, Jacob McNulty, Luca Nicoletti and Ana Tomar.
Set design: Nicholas Acciani. Costume design: Shon LeBlanc. Lighting design: Derek Jones. Sound design: Barry Schwam. Properties: Pomaikaikealoha Nakoa. Lobby curator: Christa Backstrom. The production of Little Women is part of a continuing artistic relationship between Sierra Madre Playhouse and California School of the Arts – San Gabriel Valley.
This new adaptation of Little Women is suitable for general audiences. It will please fans of the original story. For those new to the story of the March Sisters, the stage presentation will send young audience members in particular to seek out the classic novel.
Little Women opens Thursday, October 17 at 8:00 p.m. and on Friday, October 18, 2019 at 8:00 p.m. (There will be two opening nights as most roles are double-cast.) Runs through Sunday, November 3. Show times: Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. (Dark on Halloween, October 31).; Fridays at 8:00 p.m.; Saturdays at 2:30 p.m.; Saturday evenings at 8:00 p.m.; Sundays at 2:30 p.m.
Tickets are $30. Seniors (65+) $25; Youth (17 and under) $15. For reservations contact (626) 355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.
Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre. This is just east of Pasadena. Parking is available on the street and in free lots behind the Playhouse ans across the street.