I feel so lucky to call the Jungle my neighborhood theater. Artistic Director Sarah Rasmussen has a way of picking shows that are timely and then bringing together the right team in order to make magic on stage. This is true with Little Women, the new adaptation by Kate Hamill, commissioned by the Jungle Theater is a beautiful and fresh new take on Louisa May Alcott’s classic. This is high praise, and the show deserves it, but I also expected nothing less. I knew of Kate Hamill’s talent for adapting classics into something fresh and relatable. And the Jungle Theater has yet to let me down, consistently producing shows of top notch quality.
The adaptation at the Jungle is not quite the Little Women that I remember, and it doesn’t go all the way to the end of the book. But it is the adaptation of Little Women that we need today. A show that is full of heart, about sisters trying to get along as they grow up. A show about people who find themselves wanting to be something other than what society wants them to be. And who instead of battling through life alone find allies and friends for their life’s journey.
The cast on stage brought all beloved characters of the classic to life beautifully. C. Michael Menge’s Jo had a passion and energy that was palpable. Michael Hanna’s Laurie perfectly matched Jo’s youthful energy. Isabella Star LeBlanc’s Beth was the conscience of the show, she played the most soft-spoken character, but made every word that she said matter. And Christine Weber as Meg gave the best monologue in a jam smeared apron I have ever seen, wonderfully expressing the part of growing up where you realize you have become an adult.
This is a show to be enjoyed by anyone, but enjoyed more perhaps if you go with friends or family. I went to this play with my little sister Amy and I loved talking with her about it afterwards. We talked about how we saw ourselves and our relationships in the characters on stage. And isn’t that what theater is supposed to do? Make you smile and think about your own life and experiences and bring you closer to the ones that you love.
Little Women is playing until October 21st at the Jungle Theater.
Click here for more information about the show and how to get tickets.
*Photo Credit to Rich Ryan