Little Women on stage at Stratford Festival

Stratford, ONJordi 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

 

ARTISTIC CREDITS

 

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

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