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“Little Women” is a beloved coming of age book written by Louisa May Alcott about family, pain and new beginnings. It follows the March family in Civil War-era New England, and the adventures of sisters Beth, Jo, Amy and Meg, as they grow up. They endure hardships and ultimately a tragic loss, but their strong family ties never fail. Stage of Life Theatre Company (SoL) is adapting this novel into a short play performed by children ages 8-15.

“It is such a beautiful story, and was one of my favorite books as a child. I have wanted to do this show for a while and our ten-year anniversary season seemed the perfect timing,” says SoL Executive Director Jennifer Johnson.

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“When I saw that they [SoL] were doing ‘Little Women,’ I got so excited because it’s a great show with great characters and great messages. It just sounded like such a great opportunity to be able to perform this story,” says Isabella Mischke, age 15, who has been doing shows with SoL for about five or six years.

“Little Women” is indeed a beautiful story, but it also teaches powerful lessons. Although it’s an older book, it contains timeless messages — like the importance of love in the family, independence and equality; all of which still apply in our time. “Its message of female empowerment was beyond its time, and is especially relevant in the moment we are living through now,” states Johnson.

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She adds, “SoL believes in the transformative power of theater in kids’ lives, and our mission is building a healthy community and nurturing our youth to the greatest potential through the performing arts.” Adapting this book into a play for children gives SoL a chance to live up to that mission by teaching kids these important lessons and also encouraging creativity through acting.

“I really like the characters. I feel like I can relate to them; and the setting and the story is just so warm and cozy. It feels very close to my heart, I guess, and I feel like it’s just a powerful story,” Mischke says.

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SoL has licensed an adaptation from Heuer Publishing by Matt Buchanan. “It is the fourth adaptation I read and was the version that most closely followed the book by Louisa May Alcott, which was important to me,” Johnson says.

SoL has modified this adaptation to include the roles of a mother and two sisters who act as narrators throughout the play. This adaptation follows the book closely, but also allows for the audience to really see inside the characters’ heads and what they are thinking.

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Johnson received so many auditions that it took her two days longer than usual to cast the play. “We had a really wonderfully talented crop of students audition,” she states.

In regard to the audition process, Mischke adds her point of view, “You get to meet everybody and get to see who else you’re working with — it’s like your first introduction to what this show will actually look like. It’s similar for the director, who gets to see how everybody looks together and works together and it helps them cast the show.” Mischke was cast as John Brooke, Meg’s husband, and also as Laurie’s tutor.

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SoL was founded 10 years ago by Logan Carter and Jennifer Johnson, “in response to the need for affordable theater opportunities for kids in the Roaring Fork Valley,”  and has produced 35 mainstage productions, 13 production camps, nine radio shows, two radio films and four full-length film productions.

“Little Women” will be SoL’s first production in its ten-year anniversary season and its 36th mainstage production overall. They are a nonprofit and all of their funding comes from production tuition, grants, business sponsors and private donations. If you would like to get involved, you can contact Johnson at jennifer@soltheatrecompany.org or you can visit SoL’s website, www.soltheatrecompany.org

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The production will take place on March 11, 12 and 13 at the Third Street Center in Carbondale. Tickets are available on SoL’s website.

Tags: #Jennifer Johnson #Little Women #SoL Theatre #Sophie Koski #Stage of Life Theatre Company #Theatre
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