Little Women carried by standout acting

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Little Women, New Trier’s Winter Play, sets the bar high with it’s acting prowess and beautiful set.
Like most of New Trier’s plays (not musicals) Little Women, adapted from the book written by Louisa May Alcott, was held in the McGee Theater and transformed by an impressive set built almost entirely from scratch.
The play is in two acts and starts with the four girls, played by Alyson Weber, Dee Browning, Sophie Lieberman, and Kate Wainwright, all showing how they got Christmas gifts for their mother, who they call Marmee, (played by Hannah Higgins).
The first act continues to introduce more characters, including Theodore ‘Laurie’ Laurence, (Michael Olszowka), Old Lady Laurence (Leah Sherin), Mr. Brooke (Ryan Cason), and a small ensemble of other characters to round out the cast of fifteen characters.
The second act is where the plot really kicks in and the conflict starts. Marmee finds out that her husband has been injured on the war front; one of the girls gets Scarlet Fever; Meg and Mr. Brooke fall in love, and so on. However, this whole two-act play, with a more than two-hour run-time, only covers the first half of the book.
This play isn’t particularly different from any other winter plays in the past few years, but I’ve never seen the actors do a better job. It’s a realistic play, it had a small cast of characters, and the set was very ornate and well built.
It was funny and quirky, just like Almost Maine (2012) and You Can’t Take it With You (2013). Each play makes you feel pretty good at the end, and it’s not hard to empathize with some of their trials and tribulations.
New Trier Stage Crew is well known for building amazing stages. On one side of the stage, they had a loom. They had a living area, a bench, a lounge chair, a fireplace, and a piano. They also had an attic area, which was set on the edge of the stage, high up, and was very partitioned from the rest of the scenery.
The piano on set wasn’t just there for looks. It was consistently played by a few of the characters and acted as the main musical outlet for the whole play. The music was composed by Olszowka and Lieberman and played throughout both acts.
The most interesting and hilarious part of this play for me was the play within a play. Early on, it is revealed that one of the girls has written a Christmas play to perform for their mother.
It’s that standard play within a play format: heavily dramatized, looks like it isn’t well rehearsed, and it gives a few good laughs. It was something that just happened to stand out from the rest of the play, and definitely had me in for more than just a few laughs.
This play is a standard New Trier Winter Play, but with every year that passes the performance sets the bar at a new high. You’ll really like it if you’re a fan of traditional American literature. You’ll like it even more if you know people in the play or can appreciate some of the inside jokes that the cast and crew throw in there to satisfy students and teachers.
You’ll also love it if you appreciate the aesthetics and hard work put into the entire production process.
However, it may not be for you if you have trouble sitting through a longer production, or if you have trouble with older, dryer humor.
This is definitely a niche audience production, but I guarantee you will be surprised at how much you like it.

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