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Barn becomes home of ‘Little Women’

  • The March girls, played by Talia Suskauer (left to right), Francesca Mancuso, Sam Pearson and Monica Owen, listen to their mother (Neva Rae Powers) read a letter.

  • Talia Suskauer (as Jo March) rehearses a scene from “Little Women,” the musical currently being staged at the New London Barn Playhouse.

  • Elliott Cunningham (Professor Bhaer) rehearses a scene from “Little Women” at the New London Barn Playhouse. Elizabeth Frantz / Monitor staff

  • Neva Rae Powers (as Marmee March) rehearses a scene from "Little Women," the musical, at the New London Barn Playhouse in New London on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Talia Suskauer (as Jo March) sits at her writing desk in the March home attic during rehearsal of a scene from "Little Women," the musical, at the New London Barn Playhouse in New London on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Talia Suskauer (as Jo March) and Andrew Nelin (as Laurie Laurence) rehearse a scene from "Little Women," the musical, at the New London Barn Playhouse in New London on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Actors rehearse scenes from "Little Women," the musical, at the New London Barn Playhouse in New London on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Sam Pearson (as Beth March) and Craig MacDonald (as Mr. Laurence) rehearse a scene at the piano from "Little Women," the musical, at the New London Barn Playhouse in New London on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Elliott Cunningham (as Professor Bhaer) and Talia Suskauer (as Jo March) rehearse a scene from "Little Women," the musical, at the New London Barn Playhouse in New London on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Actors rehearse scenes from "Little Women," the musical, at the New London Barn Playhouse in New London on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Monica Owen (as Meg March), Francesca Mancuso (as Amy March), Talia Suskauer (as Jo March) and Sam Pearson (as Beth March) rehearse a scene from "Little Women," the musical, at the New London Barn Playhouse in New London on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Actors rehearse scenes from "Little Women," the musical, at the New London Barn Playhouse in New London on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Graham Hancock (as John Brooke) lifts Monica Owen (as Meg March) in a scene during a "Little Women," the musical, rehearsal at the New London Barn Playhouse in New London on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Actors rehearse scenes from "Little Women," the musical, at the New London Barn Playhouse in New London on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Wednesday, June 27, 2018

With the stage curtains removed and the back wall exposed, audiences well acquainted with the New London Barn Playhouse might find themselves second guessing their location for a moment as they sit down to watch Little Women.

“We’re taking out all the curtains and all of the masking and really revealing the entire barn and then turning that into Jo’s attic. So we’re building in these shadow boxes and these cubbies and shelves and such so that we can populate the stage with all of the furniture and props – everything that Jo needs to tell her story and then to use those important artifacts of her life to create what we now know as Little Women,” said director Chad Larabee, who wanted the Barn to become a character in the play and credits scenic designer Erik Diaz with that execution.

Set pieces blend in effortlessly with the exposed structure of the barn, as if the Orchard House attic from the story has always been hidden behind the scenes at the Barn.

Talia Suskauer, back at the Playhouse for her fourth summer to play Jo March, sees this production as a natural fit.

“I’ve always been wondering when they were going to do Little Women because it really is kind of the perfect, quintessential show to do at the Barn,” she said Friday. “It’s such an intimate story that I think it really is better served in a smaller theater – which the Barn is – and it’s also a New England story.”

The plot of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel is well know, but the Broadway musical production based on that story will be a new experience for many.

“The creators of the musical really captured this spirit of this American classic, and it’s so filled with laughter and these heart-warming moments, trilling sorrows. It’s really a musical adventure. We get to experience Jo facing the challenges of a young women during the Civil War and blazing this trail that I don’t think we’ve really seen in American literature before this story,” said director Chad Larabee.

The musical features Suskauer, 21, who living in New York City was happy to return to New London for the role. “Out of all the parts that I’ve played this one is the closest to my heart and to who I am, so I feel very, very fortunate and blessed to be able to play this role here.”

The play also features Neva Rae Powers as Marmee March, Craig MacDonald as Mr. Laurence, Amy Agostino as Aunt March and Elliott Cunningham as Professor Bhaer, in addition to the acting intern company. The musical runs until July 8 with performances at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday matinees at 2 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 5 p.m. Ticket prices range from $24 to $40. For more information, visit nlbarn.org or call the box office at 526-6710.