"Little Women: the Broadway Musical" - Allan Knee, Jason Howland & Mindi Dickstein - Hanover Theatre (Worcester, MA.) - REVIEW

(Cover Photo: The CAST of  "LITTLE WOMEN: THE BROADWAY MUSICAL" at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA. playing through March 24, 2024. Photo Courtesy Josh Murphy)

By Kevin T. Baldwin

METRMAG Reviewer

# 774-242-6724

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship." 

                                             - Louisa May Alcott

The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts

Presents the 'Astonishing'


Book by Allan Knee

Music by Jason Howland

Lyrics by Mindi Dickstein 

An adaptation of the book by Louisa May Alcott

Directed by Jeffrey B. Moss

Music Supervisor - Thomas Fosnocht 

Choreography by Diane Laurenson 

Executive Producer Daniel Sher

Cast Includes: Mychal Leverage as “Professor Bhaer,” Hannah Taylor as “Jo March,” Noa Harris as “Amy March,” Rachel Pantazis as “Meg March,” Camryn Hamm as “Beth March,” Aaron Bower as “Marmee March,” Chris Carsten as “Mr. Laurence,” Aathaven Tharmarajah as “Laurie Laurence,” Moriel Behar as “Aunt March/Mrs. Kirkas,” Aaron Robinson as “Mr. John Brooke,” In The Operatic Tragedies Emily Kate Decker as “Clarissa,” Tristan Caldwell as “Braxton,” Elijah Pearson-Martinez as “Rodrigo,” Sami Kennett as “Hag”(NOTE: Information obtained from tour website subject to change) 

Additional Creative Team:

Set Design - Randel Wright; Lighting Design - Charlie Morrison;  Co-Sound Design - Anthony Lopez & Chase Nichter; Wig Design - Matthew Armentrout; Costume Coordinator - Janine Loesch; Casting Director - Alison Franck, C.S.A.; Technical Supervisor - Paul Gould; Company Manager - Emma Miller; Stage Supervisor - Kevin Hansen; Production Supervisor - B.J. Forman; Associate Director - Diane Laurenson; Associate Lighting Designer - Jason Flamos; Associate Sound Designer - Jonah Verdon; Associate Sound Designer - Samantha Palumbo; Technical Consultant - James Book; Video Consultant - Jonathan Infante; Keyboard Programmer - Jim Harp; Assistant Company Manager and Assistant Stage Manager - Riley Gibson; Assistant Company Manager - Brynn Grambow; Assistant to the Choreographer - Bob Richard; Head Carpenter - Rodney Mann; Assistant Carpenter/Flyman - Matthew Lamers; Head Electrician - Kamryn Neffle; Assistant Electrician/Spot Op - Desmond Williams; Head Sound - Jonah Verdon; Assistant Sound - Meg Schelling; Head Props - Kevin Hansen; Assistant Props - David Thoms; Head Wardrobe/Wigs - Tsung-Ju Clark Yang; Costume Shop Manager - Liv Kurtz; Production Assistant - Andrew Winans; Tech Pianist - Jake Collins; Marketing Intern - Owen Parker; Fight Captain - Tristan Caldwell; Dance Captain - Emily Kate Decker (NOTE: Information obtained from tour website subject to change)  


March 22, 2024 through March 24, 2024  

(Contact Box Office for Exact Times)

Presented at the Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, 2 Southbridge St., Worcester. 


For Tickets and more information call # 877-571-SHOW (7469) or email info@thehanovertheatre.org



Contact Venue for Most Updated COVID-19 Safety Protocols and Information.

The Hanover Theatre has brought "LITTLE WOMEN: THE BROADWAY MUSICAL" to Worcester this weekend and it proves to be “The Most Amazing Thing.   

The musical adaptation of "LITTLE WOMEN," which features a memorable score by Jason Howland and Mindi Dickstein and a well-crafted book by Allan Knee, had far too short a run on Broadway back in 2005.

Thankfully, it has since been staged multiple times to many "Delighted" audiences all over the world. 

The 2024 tour is executive produced by Daniel Sher, directed by Jeffrey B. Moss with choreography by Diane Laurenson.

No matter what adaptation you might prefer - and there have been plenty - the primary reason for the success of "LITTLE WOMEN" remains constant, always coming back to the narratives about which Alcott wrote. 

Like the characters in her stories, Alcott challenged preconceived societal notions about the roles of women, rejecting many prevailing social norms and, through her stories and her life's teachings, she imparted that forward-thinking wisdom upon young female readers. 

Her life and scripted legacy still impart that wisdom.

Since Alcott’s "LITTLE WOMEN" was first published back in the late 1860s (specifically 1868 & 69) there have been a plethora of plays and musicals adapted from her timeless story of the four “March Sisters” living in Civil War era Concord, Massachusetts.  

Like others, some possibly have an Alcott “enthusiast” - someone close to them who knows almost every facet to the "coming-of-age" Alcott novel. 

There might be some among those "Alcott enthusiasts," even loyalists, who will relentlessly find fault in the "alternate universe" created in this adaptation. 

They might observe, and correctly so, the various omissions and adjustments required from the source material. 

Yet, these changes were done in order to help make the musical better suited the Broadway stage and succeeded. 

In fact, many of these changes keep with the original spirit of the Alcott story, if not adhering to all of the actual plot points. 

Also, the saga's loyal "following" - especially those who may reside in Massachusetts - only seems to have increased since the musical adaptation became available to be produced. 

(Photo: The "March Sisters" share some of their "Finest Dreams" in a moment from "LITTLE WOMEN: THE BROADWAY MUSICAL" at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA. playing through March 24, 2024. Photo Courtesy Josh Murphy)

"LITTLE WOMEN" tells the story of four sisters — Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy — living in mid-19th century Concord, Massachusetts with their beloved mother, Marmee, while their father fights for the Union Army in the American Civil War

The show takes place over several years of their life as they grow into young women.

"LITTLE WOMEN" begins at a rooming house far from Concord where we meet the oldest March sister, Jo (Hannah Taylor), a struggling author seeking to be published. 

Taylor, as Jo, combines elements of humor, hardiness and resolve in Jo’s character in a performance that is as worthy as it is captivating. 

Belting out some of the musical’s most familiar songs (including "Our Finest Dreams," the show's signature belter, "Astonishing," to Jo's later "full circle moment" moment with, "The Fire Within Me"), Taylor completely dominates from the beginning of the show until the end. 

Jo recalls a pivotal time when she and her sisters face unexpected new roads and challenges, beginning with Christmas at home in Concord

Jo is completely fixated on writing her stories - many, of which, include her family as main characters. 

At the same time, she is attempting to preserve her wonderful home life with mother, Marmee (Aaron Bower), and Jo’s sisters: level-headed Meg (Rachel Pantazis), frail but benevolent Beth (Camryn Hamm) and annoying, immature Amy (Noa Harris). 

Along with Taylor, not only are the above actresses splendid together in unison, they each are given individual moments to shine separately as the story progresses. 

Troubles begin, as do life changes, as Jo cuts down the tree of crusty neighbor, Mr. Laurence (Chris Carsten), whose grandson is young Laurie (Aathaven Tharmarajah). 

The girls befriend Laurie, who develops an unrequited crush for Jo.

Tharmarajah is not only a fine vocalist as Laurie, he also showcases a complete evolution of his character between Laurie’s initial immaturity until his growth by the end of the story. 

Jo reads one of her more melodramatic stories to a friend, Professor Bhaer (Mychal Leverage) which comes to life before us on The Hanover Theatre stage in the form of "An Operatic Tragedy" and later as "The Weekly Volcano Press" featuring extremely clever and highly entertaining staging of the ensemble. 

The set literally makes us imagine that we are entering into the novel "LITTLE WOMEN" - and Leverage is given an added opening "prologue" to the show, which cleverly expands his role of the Professor as he also becomes our guide into that book. 

Leverage provides a marvelous awkward quality instead of the stuffier approach normally taken in the approach of Bhaer. 

In his character's melancholier moments, Leverage also showcases the more sentimental side of the Professor, such as during the well-executed, "How I Am." 

Jo visits her wealthy Aunt March (Moriel Behar) who offers Jo the opportunity to travel abroad but ONLY IF Jo can prove herself as a cultured member of high society, i.e. a "proper" lady.  

As Aunt March, Behar, cast a bit younger than what would normally be expected for the role, issues a challenge to Jo in their 'frosty' duet, "Could You?" 

Behar gives possibly one of the best performances as disagreeable, intimidating Aunt March.

Jo wants to travel and broaden her horizon as a writer - but she does not wish to do so at the sacrifice of her own true self. 

(Photo: The "March Family" in a scene from  "LITTLE WOMEN: THE BROADWAY MUSICAL" at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA. playing through March 24, 2024. Photo Courtesy Josh Murphy)

Meanwhile, unlike Jo, the obnoxiously immature Amy is so jealous of Jo and the opportunities she is being offered, she lashes out at her older sister which causes a rift - no, a chasm - between the two.  

Similar to Tharmarajah as Laurie, Noa Harris, as Amy, shows a complete evolution of Amy, as we see her grow from a spoiled, self-absorbed little brat to a spoiled, self-absorbed, totally entitled young adult. 

Tharmarajah and Harris are a treat as they together sing the humorous, "The Most Amazing Thing." 

Hamm brings a fine “conciliatory” quality to March sister Beth, who serves as mediator to everyone she interacts with.

Beth finds good in everyone, even curmudgeonly Mr. Laurence (Chris Carsten), who shows his softer, even loftier, side sharing his love of piano with "dreadful" Beth in the song, "Massachusetts." 

Jo and Meg bump into Laurie again later at a dance where Meg meets and instantly falls for Laurie's tutor, John Brooke (Aaron Robinson). 

The couple later expresses their undying love in the duet, "More Than I Am" as John informs Meg that he is going off to fight in the war - yet still asks her to marry him. 

The vocal performances by Robinson and Pantazis in the duet are fine but the song itself, while needed to advance the plot, has never been a memorable inclusion to the score. 

Jo feels blindsided by the onslaught of life changes happening projected in her Act One closer, "Astonishing." 

However, her mother, Marmee, is watching as all her daughters become "little women,"  conveying her feelings in the moving song, "Here Alone" as a letter she is writing to the March family's absent husband and father. 

Bower was exceptional as "Marmee" but seemed to struggle slightly with her latter song, "Days of Plenty" coughing possibly due to some piped-in "smoke" on stage leftover from an earlier scene.

An Act Two number staged to tear-jerking perfection was the duet, "Some Things Are Meant To Be" sung by Beth and Jo. 

(Photo: "Five Forever" from "LITTLE WOMEN: THE BROADWAY MUSICAL" at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA. playing through March 24, 2024. Photo Courtesy Josh Murphy)

Costumes are perfectly suited to the era represented and the ensemble costumes for "Operatic Tragedy" are vibrant and colorful. 

Choreography for the show's two only real "dance numbers" - "Five Forever" and "Delighted" - are both cleverly staged and dedicatedly executed by the cast.

The tour production at the Hanover Theatre opening night was plagued by sporadic sound issues, particularly with dead zones (mostly center stage) and with Jo's microphone cutting in and out or "popping" incessantly.

While it was hoped this would have been resolved during intermission, it surprised many in the audience as it persisted throughout Act Two.

The set is gorgeous but there were some obvious transition issues with "uncooperative" drops and set pieces, combined with some obvious minor lighting issues. 

With the possible exception of Jo's microphone, though, none of the above should take away from the overall enjoyment experience one gets from this wonderfully staged production.

(Photo: "An Operatic Tragedy" from "LITTLE WOMEN: THE BROADWAY MUSICAL" at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA. playing through March 24, 2024. Photo Courtesy Josh Murphy)

Alcott’s very name, and her stories, are virtually synonymous with the town of her resting place, Concord (where, at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Alcott "keeps good company" with the likes of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Daniel Chester French and Nathaniel Hawthorne) - while the stories themselves have come to have a far more widespread or universal appeal. 

In the original Broadway production, a majority of the cast “doubled up” on roles in order to portray several characters featured in the story written by Jo (the show was written to be performed by a cast of 10 actors who played 18 individual roles). 

In the touring production currently playing in Worcester, the decision was made, instead, to use a full ensemble in those scenes and to also use them to supplement, or vocally augment, several other scenes. 

While some may prefer the original use of cast doubling, feeling it widened the diversity of the respective supporting performances, this touring production, under director Jeffrey B. Moss, utilized the ensemble creatively and extremely well. 

Technical issues aside from the opening night performance, all of the principal cast performances in "LITTLE WOMEN: THE BROADWAY MUSICAL" are exceptional.

Hearing the orchestral accompaniment from the full orchestra augment the vocal ensemble all under the capable guidance of Music Supervisor and Director Thomas Fosnocht greatly enhances the overall production, as evidenced by the rousing conclusion to "Weekly Volcano Press." 

"LITTLE WOMEN: THE BROADWAY MUSICAL" continues at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA. through March 24th, 2024 and watching this production should leave you, quite simply, "Delighted." 

Coming up next in the Hanover Broadway series, beginning April 5th, 2024 will be the musical "JAGGED LITTLE PILL" by Alanis Morissette, Glen Ballard and Diablo Cody.

Also announced at the opening night performance were five of the six 2024-2025 Broadway Series shows which include:


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Nominated for 12 Tony Awards® and the winner of the 2019 Tony Award® for Best Choreography, this electrifying smash-hit Broadway musical follows THE TEMPTATIONS' extraordinary journey from the streets of Detroit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame


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Declared “one of the most remarkable shows in musical theater history, "DEAR EVAN HANSEN" is a Tony and Grammy-winning Best Musical sensation and the first contemporary musical about connection in the digital age.


Performances: February 14-16, 2025

Superstars come and go. CHER is forever. "THE CHER SHOW" is the Tony Award®-winning musical of her story, and it’s packed with so much CHER that it takes three women to play her: the kid starting out, the glam pop star and the icon.

"MYSTERY SHOW" (literally) TBA 

Performances: April 4-6, 2025

Based on the 1980’s film, this delightful blend of comedy, mystery and a touch of nostalgic charm is sure to keep you guessing to the very end. Announcing May 6, 2024.


Performances: April 11-13, 2025

On 9/11, the world stopped. On 9/12, their stories moved us all. Celebrate the best of humankind and the best in all of us at "COME FROM AWAY".

For more information, contact the Hanover Theatre at # 877-571-SHOW (7469) or via email at info@thehanovertheatre.org  


Approximately two hours, 30 minutes with one intermission

Kevin T. Baldwin is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) 




Based on Louisa May Alcott’s life, "LITTLE WOMEN: THE BROADWAY MUSICAL" follows the adventures of sisters, Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy March. 

Jo is trying to sell her stories for publication, but the publishers are not interested. 

Her friend, Professor Bhaer, tells her that she has to do better and write more from herself. 

Begrudgingly taking this advice, Jo weaves the story of herself and her sisters and their experience growing up in Civil War America.

"LITTLE WOMEN: THE BROADWAY MUSICAL" embodies the complete theatrical experience, guaranteeing a night filled with laughter, tears and a lifting of the spirit. 

The powerful score soars with the sounds of personal discovery, heartache and hope – the sounds of a young America finding its voice.  

Please contact the box office at 877-571-SHOW (7469) for more information.


Worcester Center for Performing Arts is a registered not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, which owns and operates The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for the Performing Arts. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.


2 Southbridge Street

Worcester, MA. 01608

877-571-SHOW (7469)