BY JENNIFFER WARDELL
Clipper Staff Writer
CENTERVILLE — There’s magic in hearing a good story, the passion of the teller adding a color and richness that simply reading the words can’t provide.
Watching CenterPoint Legacy Theatre’s “Little Women,” running now through Sept. 22, is like hearing a team of such wonderfully passionate storytellers. Every performance is strong, no matter how big or small the role, and together they do a fantastic job of making Louisa May Alcott’s classic story live again.
The storyline is similar to the book, with four sisters finding love and suffering hardship during the Civil War. This version, which hit Broadway in 2005, shifts the timeline a little to let the audience spend more time with one of the characters. Fans of the book will notice several other tweaks done in the name of streamlining the story, but they mostly end up strengthening the story. The songs are fantastic, always adding to the story rather than interrupting it.
There wasn’t a weak spot in the entire cast. Megan Winegar, who played the role of Jo in the Monday opening night cast, gave the character a passion that matched her powerhouse voice. In the role of Marmee March, Wanda Copier sang with a depth of feeling that beautifully communicated strength, sadness and love in equal measure.
As the other March sisters, Karina Gillette, Caitlin Bird and Summer Sloan turned out well-rounded performances that fleshed out their more lightly sketched characters.
Steve Evans has a grave dignity as Mr. Laurence, while Chris Brown is delightfully plummy as Aunt March. As Laurie Laurence, the neighbor boy who becomes lifelong friends with the March sisters, Tom Nelson has the charm of an eager puppy and a beautiful voice that made me wish the character had more songs. His duet with Sloan in the play’s second act was a particularly unexpected delight.
The show has one wonderful stage trick that I won’t spoil, but the people on the prop team deserve their own round of applause for pulling it off.
For tickets and more information, call 801-298-1302 or visit centerpointtheatre.org.