Little Women on stage at Stratford Festival
Stratford, ON… Jordi Mand’s new adaptation of the classic children’s story Little Women comes to vibrant life in a production directed by Esther Jun at the Stratford Festival’s Avon Theatre beginning on June 11.
With Brefny Caribou as Beth, Allison Edwards-Crewe as Jo, Verónica Hortigüela as Meg, and Lindsay Wu as Amy, Little Women tells the story of four sisters as they navigate the road to adulthood. Struggling to reconcile societal expectations with their own hopes and dreams, the girls are held together by bonds of loyalty and love.
The production features Marion Adler as Aunt March, Stephen Jackman-Torkoff as John Brooke, John Koensgen as James Laurence, Richard Lam as Laurie Laurence, Irene Poole as Marmee and Rylan Wilkie as Professor Bhaer.
Mand based the play on Louisa May Alcott’s books Little Women and Good Wives, taking the story through to the girls’ young adulthood. Jun’s interpretation will appeal to young and old, those familiar with the story and those new to it. It features an innovative combination of the traditional and the contemporary with set design by Teresa Przybylski, costume design by A.W. Nadine Grant, lighting design by Kaileigh Krysztofiak and sound design by Emily C. Porter.
“I never read Little Women growing up and I never really wanted to,” says Jun. “I thought it was a ‘girlie’ book and I wasn’t interested. I was living in a man’s world and I was going to be one of the boys. Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy seemed cute and unserious – I wanted nothing to do with them. Cut to 30 plus years later and I regret all the years that I deprived myself of this glorious book and its rich, varied characters. The March Family has changed me. Like so many generations before I have fallen deeply in love with their compassion and infallible support of each other. I want to bring this story to a new generation and to anyone who, like me, thought this wasn’t a story for them because of the title, because they didn’t have sisters or a solid family structure. Or perhaps they couldn’t see themselves in a period piece about a white family.”
Jun sees Little Women as depicting the struggle for joy even in the bleakest times.
“The characters are made to surmount devastating challenges,” Jun says, “but they do so by being good to one another even when it’s wrenchingly difficult. I feel this is so uniquely what we need today, a healing balm for our fragile selves having had to endure what feels like unceasing geopolitical disasters on top of a never-ending global pandemic. The characters in the play come together lovingly to make a more just future.”
Little Women is on stage until October 29 and has its gala opening on July 7.
Production support is generously provided by The Schulich Foundation.
Support for the creation of Little Women is generously provided by The Foerster Bernstein New Play Development Program.
The 2022 season runs until October 30, featuring Hamlet, Chicago, The Miser, Little Women, Richard III, All’s Well That Ends Well, Death and the King’s Horseman, Every Little Nookie, Hamlet-911 and 1939. For tickets and information visit www.stratfordfestival.ca or call 1,800.567.1600.
CAST (in alphabetical order)
Marion Adler Aunt March, Mrs. Kirke, Party Guest
Brefny Caribou Beth March, Sallie Gardiner
Allison Edwards-Crewe Jo March
Verónica Hortigüela Meg March, Parrot
Stephen Jackman-Torkoff John Brooke, Frank, Young Man
Robert King Understudy
John Koensgen James Laurence, Mr. Dashwood, Dr. Bangs, Party Guest
Richard Lam Laurie Laurence, Edward
Jonathan Mason Understudy
Irene Poole Marmee, Party Guest
Khadijah Roberts-Abdullah Understudy
Jane Spidell Understudy
Rose Tuong Understudy
Rylan Wilkie Professor Bhaer, Mr. March, Party Guest
Lindsay Wu Amy March, Annie Moffatt
Director Esther Jun
Set Designer Teresa Przybylski
Costume Designer A.W. Nadine Grant
Lighting Designer Kaileigh Krysztofiak
Sound Designer Emily C. Porter
Dramaturge Bob White
Supervising Fight Director Geoff Scovell
Movement Director Alyssa Martin
Producer David Auster
Casting Director Beth Russell
Creative Planning Director Jason Miller
Assistant Director Zoë Marsland
Assistant Set Designer Kadi Badiou
Assistant Costume Designers Mary-Jo Carter Dodd, Des’ree Gray
Assistant Lighting Designer Scarlett Larry
Assistant Sound Designer Michael Wanless
Assistant Fight Director Jennifer Dzialoszynski
Fight Captain Rylan Wilkie
Movement Captain Verónica Hortigüela
Stage Manager Kim Lott
Assistant Stage Managers Katherine Arcus, Madison Kalbhenn, Melissa Rood
Apprentice Stage Manager Angela Mae Bago
Production Assistant Carolyn Bayley
Production Stage Managers Bona Duncan, Bruno Gonsalves, Cynthia Toushan
Technical Director Eleanor Creelman
Assistant Technical Director Zach Fedora