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REVIEW: ‘Little Women’ adapts the classic tale of sisterhood to the MPAC stage

With powerful songs driving a compelling story, Belmont Musical Theatre’s rendition of “Little Women” gracefully adapted Louisa May Alcott’s timeless tale to the stage.

Based on the Broadway musical adaptation of Alcott’s 1869 novel, students brought the story of the March sisters to life at the Massey Performing Arts Center Thursday night.

Sisters Jo, Amy, Meg and Beth are all different, but they have one thing in common — their love for one another. The most eccentric of the sisters, Jo, wishes to be a published writer, but realizes that the greatest story she could ever tell is the story of her sisters.

Through war, marriage and sickness, the March sisters are tested but rediscover their connection in the end. Alcott’s classic coming-of-age story works just as well as it did when it was first published, showing what freedom, liberation and family mean to this group of young women.

But it’s the musical’s soundtrack that stood out the most. The songs ranged from whimsical to gut-wrenching to playfully romantic, all effectively and gracefully telling the March sisters’ story.

Emily Urbanski stood out in her performance as Jo, with her numbers “Astonishing” and “The Fire Within Me” bringing the crowd to roaring applause. Urbanski’s number with Beth March, — played by Emma Oesch — “Some Things Are Meant to Be,” was one of the most emotional moments of the show as Jo and Beth spent their last moments together in Cape Cod. Additionally, Mitch Beard’s performance as Professor Bhaer made the closing number “Small Umbrella in the Rain” lighthearted and incredibly endearing.

The musical was filled with virtuosic singing, with each song showcasing the sheer vocal prowess of the entire cast. The elegant choreography by Anna Perry complemented the singing, with the cast dancing around the intricately decorated stage during numbers like “The Weekly Volcano Press” and “An Operatic Tragedy.”

“Little Women” will continue its run on the MPAC stage through Sunday, and tickets are free for all Belmont students.

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