For aficionados of Alcott’s novel for whom several film and television adaptations, Marian De Forest’s stage version, and an opera are not enough, Little Women — The Broadway Musical is probably required viewing. With the possible exception of the demise of the title character in Charlotte’s Web, is there heartbreak in youth literature that trumps Beth’s deathbed scene (here rendered as intimations of mortality while kite-flying on Cape Cod)? But you will have to bring the sentimental depth of Little Women with you. The characters in the new musical (with book by Allan Knee, music by Jason Howland, and lyrics by Mindi Dickstein) are broad, their transitions are abrupt, and Howland’s music is so generic that the cast, under the direction of Susan H. Schulman, has to work to sell it. Only the jingly “Off to Massachusetts” has any period feel. McGovern has the best song, the hope-dipped anthem of mourning, “Days of Plenty,” and sell it she does. You can also buy all manner of memorabilia in the lobby.
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