A Look at Lee Street’s ‘Little Women’ and its director
An interview with the director of Little Women: The Musical
Up next on Lee Street theatre’s stage is Little Women: The Musical, a toe-tapping adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel. The show is in collaboration with the Catawba College Theatre Arts department as the CataLST Internship production. Copywriting intern Claire Raimist got together with director Craig Kolkebeck to talk about the show, the process, and what audiences can expect from this beloved story.
How long have you been directing?
Professionally, for 33 years.
You’ve worked professionally all around the globe–what brought you to Salisbury?
I was living in LA and really got sick of the “rat race.” I wanted a change that involved being closer to my parents in the final years of their lives and my wife graciously agreed.
This is the second CataLST production. What excites you about this internship program?
I enjoy applying the things I teach in class to the rehearsal process. My tendency is to work in very fine detail and focus on the living moments that drive characters through their journeys. I think it’s so valuable to do this in combination with our community of actors that it becomes an educational experience for all involved. It’s like one big classroom experience.
CataLST is an educational internship. What changes from directing a professional show to directing a learning experience with students?
I probably have to remind students of the analysis process more than I do with professionals because analysis is typically engrained in the individual processes of professionals, whereas it’s still “under construction” for students.
What went into the decision to change the production from “Heathers” to “Little Women”?
During the summer, I read an article in the paper that Paramount had shut down production on the “Heathers” television series. This sounded an alarm that really made me rethink the decision. Too many hotbed or sensitive issues that I didn’t think our community would welcome. Ultimately, I have to look at what our community is going to accept and, of course, how that will translate into ticket sales.
What do you think the musical adaptation brings to this already well-loved story?
The music is just so moving and thrilling that all it can do is enhance rather than detract.
What did you look for when casting both CataLST Interns and community members?
Of course strength in performance, but a professional etiquette and demeanor as well and the ability to embrace our community members
Do you have a favorite moment in the show?
Yes, I have two. I adore Laurie’s acceptance as a brother and the song “5 Forever” which follows. Shannon Harris’s choreography really captures the love and joy of the sisters. I also am moved every time by “Some Things Are Meant to Be.”
As a director, what is your favorite part of a rehearsal process?
Working specific living moments within the scenes. It’s what really takes any production to a higher level. This includes the songs as well and is one of the reasons I love working with John Stafford. We truly “work” the music and sometimes squeeze it to get out every drop of meaning and emotion.
What do you hope the audience takes with them when they leave the theater?
The passion of Jo and the love of the family against all odds.
The cast of Little Women: The Musical includes CataLST Interns Emily Owens as Jo, Taylor Kroop as Jo’s Alternate, Savannah Shaver as Beth, Claire Raimist as Meg, and Shannon Harris as Amy. Community members round out the cast, including Caroline Stephenson as Marmee, Wendy Weant as Aunt March and Ms. Kirk, Tim Campbell as Professor Bhaer, Tim Bishop as John Brooke, Nick Culp as Laurie, and Marty Walker as Mr. Laurence. It is directed by Craig Kolkebeck with Music Direction by John Stafford.
Performances will be held at Lee Street theatre, 329 N Lee St. Performances will run Nov 1-3 & 8-10 at 7:30pm. General tickets are $22.90 and Student Tickets are $10. Tickets are available at www.leestreet.org or 704.310.5507.