ESCONDIDO – As part of its Plays in the Park series, Escondido’s Patio Playhouse Youth Community Theatre is playing “Little Women” —a musical based on the semi-autobiographical book of the same name by Louisa May Alcott. The show will run Aug. 16 to Aug. 18, Aug. 22 to Aug. 25, and Aug. 29 to Aug. 31 at 8 p.m. at the Kit Carson Amphitheatre, in what promises to be a lyrical production.
The musical’s story chronicles the lives of the four March sisters: Jo (Kylee Ogzewallas), Meg (Tori Bleher), Beth (Olivia Torrest) and Amy (Lilian Broschart). Jo is an unsuccessful, aspiring writer, who crafts a tale centering around how she and her sisters grew up during the midst of the American Civil War. This story will be set to Jason Howland’s original score with full orchestral accompaniment.
David Guthrie, who serves as the show’s director, has nothing but respect for the original author and what her work represents. “(Alcott) was a pioneer for women’s rights and for feminism in how through this work she really wanted to convey and communicate to women and young girls that these standards exist now, but they’re not necessarily going to exist all the time,” he said.
“And if you want to make a difference for your family and for your life, and you want to choose who you love and how to live, you need to be the one who starts making those decisions to make that happen, because no one is going to do it for you.”
To bring this story to life, as well as deliver on its message regarding the meaning of family, Guthrie wanted to focus on exploring the crucial, dynamic relationships between the March sisters in an accurate fashion.
“There’s, like, this matrix of a dynamic between how all the sisters act towards each other based on a number of different things,” he said, noting their birth order and the respective expectations that fall upon them as examples. To make sure this dynamic would come across in the performances, he brought in a dramaturge — someone intimately familiar with the source material — to consult on the production.
This adaptation of “Little Women” also features a collaboration between Patio Playhouse and Words Alive, a San Diego-based organization dedicated to inspiring a love of reading in young people. “One of the things that we feel is really important is using our stage as a vehicle for good. And the way that we do that is by partnering with a nonprofit,” said Cassiopeia Guthrie, David’s wife.
Words Alive’s mission to serve the youth falls in line with Patio Playhouse’s own objective to enrich young lives, by giving children the opportunity to perform and serve in crews, in the hopes of inspiring a love of theatre in them.
Tickets for “Little Women” are $25 for general admission, $18 for youths 16 and under, and $22 for the elderly, students and active members of the military. For more information on ticketing and the show, or to make a reservation, visit patioplayhouse.com or call (760) 746-6669.
Photo Caption: The March sisters, art of the cast of “Little Women,” are from left, Kylee Ogzewalla (Jo), Tori Bleher (Meg), Olivia Torres (Beth) and Lillian Broschart (Amy). Photo courtesy Cassiopeia Guthrie