“I think my natural ambition is for the lurid style.” – Louisa May Alcott
That may seem a strange quote coming from the woman who wrote Little Women, a homey story of four sisters growing up in Concord, Massachusetts. But before her iconic novel brought her fame and fortune, Louisa May Alcott wrote sensational stories of mayhem and mystery under a pseudonym. It was only once she became well known that those early stories went by the wayside, making way for novels more suitable to the young fans who were now her bread and butter.
Beginning April 28, that novel will come to life onstage at 51 Walden in the form of the 2005 Broadway musical of the same name, courtesy of The Concord Players.
Alcott created Jo March, the main character in Little Women, from the stuff of her own life. She made changes to fit the conventions of her day, yet Jo’s personality matched that of her creator, “born with a boy’s spirit under my bib and tucker.”
The March family represents the soul of the Alcott family, from their generosity in the face of poverty to their unbridled delight in homemade theatricals.
Those homemade theatricals were the launchpad for Louisa and her sister Anna to help found the Concord Dramatic Union in 1857, a theater group that eventually morphed into The Concord Players in 1919. That origin story is the reason behind the strong connection between Alcott , her famous novel and Concord’s community theater.
The Concord Players cemented that connection for the first time in 1932, honoring the 100th anniversary of Alcott’s birthday by performing a play based on Little Women. In that production, two members of the cast were direct descendants of the Alcotts — Louisa Alcott Kussin and Bronson Alcott Pratt, Anna’s (Meg’s) grandchildren and Louisa’s grandniece and grandnephew. The production was heralded far and wide, and a tradition was begun. Every 10 years, with the exception of 1942 due to World War II, the Players have staged a production of the famous author’s famous novel. And Alcott descendants have been in the cast for a number of these.
The Players are proud to bring this decade’s rendition to the stage this spring. And while they appreciate the happiness that writing lurid stories brought her, they are grateful she ultimately gave Little Women to the world, too.
Performances take place April 28, May 4, 5, 11 and 12 at 8 p.m., April 29 and May 6 at 7 p.m., April 30 and May 7 at 2 p.m., and May 13 at 4 p.m. Tickets are $28 with reserved seating.
For tickets and more information: concordplayers.org or call 978-369-2990