News Column

Viterbo's 'Little Women' gets inspiration from Broadway

October 6, 2013

YellowBrix

Oct. 06--Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy March have dazzled readers with their courage and spunk since the late 1800s. But now, scholars will have a different way of enjoying Louisa May Alcott's characters and the beloved story of the March sisters -- live.

Viterbo University students will present "Little Women: The Broadway Musical" next weekend at the Fine Arts Center.

Shane Rhoades, director and choreographer of the production, said the musical is a "great adaptation of the book" and includes the same general plot with a bit of a twist on the timeline.

The musical will intertwine the girls' two realities -- one that is both honest and true, and the other that can be described as "fantastical." The play is centered on the theme of dreams and the sisters' journeys discovering themselves.

"The script touches you on so many levels," Rhoades said. "It's dramatically intense."

The cast began rehearsals the first day of school and have since met for three hours each day five days a week to practice.

The actors, Rhoades said, had all of their lines memorized from the very first day and have performed with "fantastic scene work and strong actions" from start.

The entire cast is very serious and professional, he said.

"They're paying a lot of money to be here, and they want to get the most out of this experience," he said. "They're singing their faces off."

Rhoades is this year's visiting artist in residence at Viterbo and has been involved in a number of productions throughout his career, including "the Boy from Oz," "West Side Story," "Chicago" and "Cats."

Nancy Allen, associate professor at Viterbo and music director of "Little Women," said the students have received wonderful training because Rhoades has been dedicated to the production since the very fist practice.

"Shane is so organized and prepared that it has been a really smooth rehearsal process," she said. "He has done an outstanding job."

Allen was especially excited to work with Rhoades during this production because she was his high school music teacher.

"It is so much fun for me to remember him in seventh grade," she said. "And watch him now produce a beautiful show at Viterbo."

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(c)2013 the La Crosse Tribune (La Crosse, Wis.)

Visit the La Crosse Tribune (La Crosse, Wis.) at www.lacrossetribune.com

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