First Folio Theater continues its final season with Louisa May Alcott’s LITTLE WOMEN, a world premiere adaptation by artistic collaborator Heather Chrisler.
The production is directed by artistic collaborator Melanie Kelle and is a wonderful and heartwarming Christmas show for the family. Four young women, gathered in an attic, bring to life the beloved story of the March sisters, with all the trials, tribulations and triumphs that result from helping to open new horizons for women in the 19th century open. The production runs from December 14 to January 15, 2023.
Production was originally scheduled for Spring 2020 but was canceled the week before opening due to the pandemic. The adaptation was written for a cast of four, with each actor playing one of the sisters (Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy) and three of them also being one of the love interests (Laurie, Professor Bhaer and John Brooke). Executive Director David Rice ensured this production would be included in its final season, saying, “This is the strongest adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s work I have seen and I was determined to give our people a chance to bring them on stage.”
Art collaborator Heather Chrisler wrote this adaptation specifically for First Folio and worked on it three years before the original planned production. After this postponement, Heather continued to work on the show across the country and put the finishing touches on the script. Heather has appeared in several productions on First Folio stages as well as in theaters such as the Goodman, Writers’, Victory Gardens, A Red Orchid and many others. Later this season she will make her directorial debut in First Folio’s production of And Neither Have I Nor Wings to Fly.
The cast of LITTLE WOMEN includes four newcomers to the First Folio stage. Shelby Lynn Bias will play the wayward Jo, based on Alcott himself. Stephanie Fongheiser takes on the role of eldest sister, the calm and loving Meg, and plays Professor Bhaer. The young sisters are played by Jamie Herb (dually playing Beth/Laurie) and Esther Fishbein (as both youngest sister Amy and John Brooke).
The production is directed by First Folio Artistic Associate Melanie Keller, who previously directed Silent Sky, Mary’s Wedding and All Childish Things at First Folio, as well as productions for Montana Shakespeare, the Signal Ensemble, the Irish Theater of Chicago and Wildclaw has led . Leslie Ann Sheppard will join the production as assistant director.
Two-time Jeff Award winner Angela Weber Miller will design the sets, while Jeff Award-winning props designer Cassy Schillo returns to work with her on the look of the show. The rest of the design team includes Sarah Riffle (lighting), Uriel Gomez (costumes), Barry Funderburg (sound and original music), Sheryl Williams (intimacy and movement), and Forrest Hejkal (technical lead). Alan Ball is the stage manager with Nicholas Carlstrom as assistant stage manager.
LITTLE WOMEN previews December 14-16, opens December 17 and runs through January 15, 2023. There will be matinee performances on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, offering a wonderful way for families to celebrate the holidays together in one Celebrate celebration of family love.
First Folio would like to remind viewers that proof of vaccination (2 shots Moderna/Pfizer/Novavax or 1 shot J&J) is required for entry. Spectators must also wear masks inside the building at all times.
All performances take place at the Mayslake Peabody Estate, located at 1717 31st St., off Rt. 83, in Eichenbach. First Folio is easily accessible via the East-West Tollway (I-88) or the Stevenson Expressway (I-55). Free parking is available on site. Preview tickets are $29. Regular price tickets are $49 (seniors $44) Wednesdays and Thursdays and $59 (seniors $54) Fridays through Sundays. First Folio will continue to offer a special $20 student ticket for all performances. Subscriptions for three shows are still available for $75-$145. Seasonal subscriptions and single tickets are available now and can be purchased by calling the box office at 630.986.8067 or online at www.firstfolio.org