Paul Bruce’s ‘Little Women – A Little Musical’ performs at Barefoot Productions – Daily Tribune

The musical composed by playwright and director Paul Bruce, “Little Woman – A Little Musical”, will be performed from June 3 to 12 at Barefoot Productions in Livonia.

Bruce said the show, which debuted with the Southgate Community Players in 1994, predates the Broadway version of the story by a decade.

“The small cast, seven in this treatment, and the choice to compose the book move it along quickly and economically, without compromising the complete and very rich text of the novel,” he said.

Bruce said his theater buddies Kirk and Valerie Haas approached him about doing the show at Barefoot, and the musical was originally slated to wrap up the theater’s 2019-20 season, but was canceled when COVID-19 shut down venues. theaters around the world. Now, two years later, the show will open in the same timeslot.

The cast, directed by Bruce, includes: Lincoln Park’s Leah Cooley as Marmee March; Westland’s Ashley Gatesy as Jo March; Southgate’s Ivy Hansen as Beth March; West Bloomfield’s Erin Phipps as Meg March; Maggie Comiskey from Livonia as Amy March; Wyandotte’s Nathan Vasquez as Laurie Laurence; and Southgate’s Donald Corbin as Father March, Grandfather Laurence and Aunt March.

He said part of Louisa May Alcott’s novel was originally serialized for a magazine.

“I think those who don’t care about the novel are often put off by the number of chapters that don’t seem to do much to move the March family story forward,” Bruce said. “Each of them has top-down action and ends cleanly, but not all adventures are as exciting or interesting as the others.”

He said he chose the best stories from the novel to create the two-hour musical.

Bruce said he hopes audiences will be moved by the music and lyrics brought to life by the performers and musicians.

He also said that this rendition had more costumes than the original production, with Cooley, who plays Marmee, designing the show’s costumes.

“What started out as a show that only needed 22 period costumes now uses 60,” he said.

Audiences will also experience musicians playing the score live, which Bruce says creates a unique acoustic sound.

“I hope they will be moved by the music, the lyrics and the unusual treatment of the book brought to life by this wonderfully gifted group of singers and musicians,” he said.

Cooley said that whenever she could work on a Paul Bruce show, she jumped at the chance.

She said she played the role of Marmee in the musical version popularized by the Broadway production, and Bruce’s version of the character allows her to further develop the role.

“Marmee is the paragon mother – strong, wise, smart and brave – but she makes mistakes and is all too human,” Cooley said. “I have tried to use my own experience as a mother and caregiver to shed light on Marmee’s journey as she grows into her own identity and her family gradually changes.”

She said that at its core, “Little Women” is about self-discovery and conviction of the spirit in the face of a war-ravaged world and changing social constructs.

“Who couldn’t relate to that?” Cooley said. “It’s a beautiful retelling of a classic tale, and we all need to remember that hardship and loss can be overcome and lead us to a brighter future.”

Corbin said the March family’s struggles and solutions are similar to the challenges people face today, and tells the story with beautiful music.

“The lyrics are precise and sometimes complex, but articulate the story very well,” he said. “The book, music and lyrics for the musical were all written by Paul. Come and watch a locally created musical and then meet its brilliant creator.

Phipps said the music is challenging and she worked hard to do justice to Bruce’s music.

“I want to make sure every note and every word is perfect and clear,” she said. “’Little Women – A Little Musical’ takes its audience on a journey as you follow the March family through the happiest and most tragic events of their lives. You’ll leave the show smiling and feeling like part of the March family.

Gatesy said his character Jo March has been one of his literary favorites for many years.

“I love her ambition and willingness to follow her heart and her dreams, even though it doesn’t meet society’s expectations of a woman at this time,” she said. “I think there’s something so raw and vulnerable about creating a character in front of other people, but everyone in the cast was so warm and accepting of each other. “

Hansen said she enjoyed bonding with the cast during the rehearsal process, as well as working with Bruce.

“It helped me put myself in my family’s shoes and get even closer to my character and my family on stage, who took care of me and helped me with the show,” he said. she declared.

Vasquez said that when there is no cast recording to base your interpretation on, it is up to each actor to learn and understand the score.

“While it was tough, learning all of these original songs and being able to put your own spin on them has definitely been fun,” he said. “You won’t see another show like this – it’s a truly unique and intimate theatrical experience.”

Vasquez said he loves the novel “Little Women,” which he says is an amazing work of American literature.

“We’ve all seen adaptations over the years, but Paul Bruce brings a sweetness to the story and a closeness to the characters that we can all relate to, something you won’t find in other versions,” said he declared. “It’s all about family, and despite their differences, the love they have as a family is stronger than any obstacles they face. I think it’s a great reminder of the importance what families can have.

The June 3 opening night show is sold out. Other shows are at 8 p.m. June 4, 10, and 11 and 2 p.m. June 5-12 at Barefoot Productions, 33735 Five Mile Road in Livonia.

Tickets are $19, with a $2 discount for seniors and students. To order, call the box office at 734-855-4922 or go to

Marjorie N. McClure