By Jamie Bullins
The Stage Theater, Thursday, September 24, 2021, 7:30 pm.
Welcome back to the Theatre! I get super excited every time I hear that. It certainly carries with it some heavy meaning nowadays. What an exciting time for Artistic Director Robert Wamsley and The Stage Theater in Hickman. This is a return to Little Women, their premiere production back in 2013. And an apt one, considering it’s the last mainstage show in the space before they move into their new building next door with this holiday season’s The Sound of Music.
I’m sure that over the last 8 years they have developed a love/hate relationship with their current performance space. I personally enjoy repurposed spaces for theatre. It speaks volumes about the passion to create theatre shared by the people in the building. I have found the use of the space for each show that I have seen over the past 5 years (when I arrived in NE) at the Stage quite smartly done and I applaud them for it.
I don’t have to go on much longer before telling you to get your tickets. In fact, you could skip to the end of this and follow the link right away to reserve yours. Everything after this is basically fluff. It’s good. You will laugh, cry, all those things. In fact, it was super entertaining last night when I was in the house because an older gentleman sitting directly behind me had this amazing guffaw of a laugh that made me laugh along with him every time. He was having a blast. You will as well. And, if you’re not wiping tears from your eyes during “Some Things Are Meant to Be” in Act Two, you may be dead inside. It’s one of the most beautiful moments.
Following these sisters through their stories is nothing short of an adventure. You become immediately invested. Amelia Barrett has this incredible voice. ‘Nuff said. She (Jo), Lauren Hinton (Amy), Violet Spader (Meg), Claire Wilkinson (Beth), and Julie Enersen (Marmee) are a fantastic unit. They play off each other and make us believe they’re a family. They each bring a different spark to each of the women in this tight knit ensemble and tie it all together so well.
Michael J. Corner (Professor Bhaer) is a genuine spirit. Jacob Vanderford is playful romp personified, and a rather striking singing presence as well. He and Sandy Van Pelt are making their Stage Theater debut in Little Women, and she brings great panache to the stern Aunt March.
As I mentioned previously, this is all just fluff now. But to add to it, the clothes are quite on point and add a great flair to each character and the aesthetic environment is a great asset in bringing the text to life, including the scenic elements, props, and lighting.
They are so much closer to Lincoln than you think. And it’s worth the time and the drive. Thanks for having me, Stage Theater, keep telling your stories.
If you go: You can catch Little Women September 24-26 & 30 – October 3, 2021, with 7:30 pm curtain times Thursday – Saturday and 2:00 pm on Sundays. Reservations are encouraged and can be made online.
Jamie Bullins is a member of the faculty in the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film at UNL, since the fall of 2017. He is an Educator, Scenographer, Director, and Playwright and has been at it for over 25 years now.
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