There’s still time to see a seasonal favorite at Quintessence Theatre Group

Little Women

If you haven’t yet caught Quintessence Theatre Group’s “Little Women: The Broadway Musical,” you still have until the New Year to reserve a spot.

Running until Jan. 2, “Little Women” is based on the beloved and acclaimed novel by Louisa May Alcott, and follows sisters Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy on their journey of self-discovery.

Inspired by the real-life escapades of Alcott, the timeless coming-of-age story has been made into movies and a television show, but for the stage production, the tale has been refocused with song and movement with a book by Allan Knee, lyrics by Mindi Dickstein and music by Jason Howland.

The description reads: “Jo, nineteen and attempting to launch a writing career, weaves magical scenes with her stories, full of twists and turns, heroes and villains. After being rejected by yet another publisher, she is challenged to write about her own life experiences, and memories of playing pretend with her sisters at Christmas come alive. Audiences follow the March sisters as they grow from girls into young women, each determined to live life on her own terms but always bonded by family. In revisiting their moments of love, loss, and strength in the face of want, Jo discovers what her story was all along.”

The show opened earlier this year at the Delaware Valley theater, but some changes have been made mid-run: Jordan Dobson, who was cast as Laurie, departed the production after a few weeks of performances due to being called into a Broadway production, and South Philadelphia-based actor Will Stephan Connell replaced him earlier this month.

Following a quick rehearsal process he steps into this role after previously playing Laurie in the Eagle Theater’s production of “Little Women” in 2018, according to a release. Connell had auditioned for Quintessence’s production and was recommended for the role by Dobson, who announced his departure to the company earlier this month.

“While the entire company of Little Women is sad to see Jordan go, Broadway calls, and we are excited to cheer him on and watch as this next chapter of his career unfolds. It is our good fortune to have someone as talented and ideal for the role of Laurie as Will Stephen Connell to step in. Will had wowed director Hassan Al Rawas when he originally auditioned for the production, and we were grateful that he was able and willing to join us with such short notice. With his soaring voice and puckish charm, Will Stephan Connell’s Laurie is a joy to behold,” read an statement.

Will Stephan ConnellProvided

Joining Connell onstage are Marielle Issa as Jo, Caitlin Ort as Meg, Cara DiPietro as Amy and Paola Morales as Beth. Donnie Hammond (King Lear) returns to Quintessence to play Marmee, with Eleni Delopoulos (Oliver!) as Aunt March and Wilma HotHouse ensemble member Jered McLenigan (The Wizard of Oz, One Man Two Guvnors) as Professor Bhaer.

The cast is rounded out with Philadelphia legend Frank X (Waiting for Godot, The Seven Deadly Sins) as Mr. Laurence and Quintessence favorite Lee Cortopassi (The Skin of Our Teeth, King Lear, Awake and Sing!, Frankenstein, My Fair Lady, Love’s Labor’s Love) as Mr. Brooke. The musical is directed by Hassan Al Rawas, with musical direction by Chris Ertelt.

“It’s been an absolute whirlwind and joy jumping into Little Women,” said Connell in a statement. “I love singing this score and playing this role, it feels shockingly similar to my own personality… so it’s definitely a thrill diving into Quintessence’s wonderful production – Even with two days’ rehearsal! In my opinion, Hassan and the rest of the team have made this show exactly what it should be: intimate, emotional, heartwarming, and charming.”

“The natural and smart staging has made it as easy as possible to return to the role, much of which has somehow managed to survive in the recesses of my freakishly retentive memory,” he continued. “And this cast and crew are as kind as they are talented, which is really saying something. They have shown such genuine support and encouragement from the first moment I stepped into the room.”

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