This literary classic has a musical form

Cast of 10 to perform ‘Little Women the Broadway Musical’


Photo provided to the Clarion

Madison College Performing Arts’ production of “Little Women the Broadway Musical” will open on Nov. 22.

Andrea Velazquez, Staff Writer

Madison College Performing Arts’ production of “Little Women the Broadway Musical” will be held the weekend before Thanksgiving. Directed by instructor Robin Fanfara, the musical brings an American literature classic to life.

“Louisa May Alcott’s book is considered an American classic. If you are taking any kind of literature class, if you’re interested in feminism, if you’re interested in the Civil War, or in the movement to help abolish slavery – all of those things are covered in the book,” Fanfara said.

The book is widely known as being highly autobiographical, so it’s interesting to learn historical facts about that time and about families like Alcott’s. For example, her family was part of the underground railroad.

“Reading good literature and exposing yourself to good literature expands your awareness to social issues that we are still working on today,” Fanfara said.

The cast consists of 10 people. Fanfara recalls that nearly 30 auditioned for the production.

“There’s a lot of wonderful and talented students at Madison College,” she said. “The callback process is very difficult.”

The lead role of Jo March ultimately went to Mena Williams. Fanfara praised Williams endlessly: “Mena is an extremely talented vocalist and performer.”

It’s easy to note that Mena Williams is a person of color playing a historically white role. “We do color-blind, gender-blind casting,” Fanfara said.

“Little Women the Broadway Musical” has age-appropriate casting. An instructor plays one of the roles as well. It was important to Fanfara that people of any age or gender could see themselves onstage – not just someone who fits the paper description.

Fanfara emphasized the importance of not only going to see this production, but the importance of involvement in any production at Madison College.

“(It’s important for students to) support their classmates, and see the educational platform that the college is providing for them. We are a community…you become part of a community that supports you,” Fanfara said.

As for the new “Little Women” film that’s coming out a month after the play premiers?

“A happy coincidence,” Fanfara said. “We’ve been debating shows for a long time….it’s a big process to pick shows.”

She said the decision to perfrom “Little Women the Broadway Musical” was made before anyone knew about the new movie’s premier.

Given that Madison College’s musical premiers before the movie, the film should be considered as a cake topper to the “Little Women” productions of this year.

Though they both come from the same source material, the difference between the musical and the movies is vast. The movies are void of the singing element that people often love.

Madison College’s production was described as “intimate” numerous times because the audience is so close to the stage.

“It’s almost like you’re watching this story in your living room,” Fanfara said. The audience will see everything from the actors’ talented performances to the “beautiful fabrics on the gorgeous costumes.”

Fanfara also gushed about the “wonder of this musical.”

She said that despite the background of the play, “It is very funny… Jo March writes these crazy stories to entertain her family, and the family act out the plays…you’ll relax, you’ll laugh.”

Fanfara claimed that the musical touches on important themes.

“It’s about coming into adulthood and questioning society, the rules of society and where you fit into holds up a mirror to the many different ways we can experience love as a human being – with our parents, our siblings, neighbors, as an adolescent, to when you’re old enough to find a soulmate.”

Fanfara said, “It’s also about the idea that when you love someone, you are willing to sacrifice things for them.”

“Little Women the Broadway Musical” will premier on  Nov. 22 at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 23 at 2 p.m., and 7:30 p.m., and Nov. 24 at 2 p.m. in the Madison College Studio Theater.  Tickets are available at Tickets are free with a OneCard, but students must reserve at seat.