‘Little Women’ has big heart at POS

Published 7:03 pm Friday, July 11, 2008

The stage is set for the big opening of “Little Women” tonight at Picayune On Stage.

Director Tara Poolson leads an all-star cast of POS regulars and newcomers in this familiar, timeless classic. During the final dress rehearsals this week, the cast and crew worked to polish off some of the rougher edges to get ready for the weekend.

Credit to Poolson who has worked tirelessly this summer with her very young cast to create beautiful stage pictures helping bring this classic tale to life in the intimate POS theater. Each scene has a beautiful dance-like quality as the hooped dresses became characters unto themselves. The well-choreographed scenes help the actors keep their spatial relationships while being able to relate to each other.

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Poolson also deserves praise for her great casting abilities. Each actor wears their character as a second skin. Type casting — perhaps!

The cast worked really well together and off of each other. They even had a few actors missing from Tuesday night’s dress rehearsal but everyone knew exactly where the missing body was supposed to be. The situation was handled with the precision and professionalism of seasoned pros.

Spotlighting several noteworthy performances, extra ovations go to Kourtney Scheel, Caitlyn Byrnes, Nick Chatelain and Josh Chatelain.

Scheel, a POS favorite, is strong and graceful as Marmee — the family matriarch. Each relationship she has uncovered for each of her “daughters” is unique, understated and truly believable. It is her guiding hand that helps bring these lovable characters from most everyone’s school day memories back to life.

Byrnes, of the Pearl River Central High School Blue Maskers, breathes a whole new life into the character of Meg. She has found the coy and provocative colors in the role that give a woman her dimensions.

Nick Chatelain, last seen in POS’ “Over The River,” turns a stellar John Brooks. He is dashing and handsome in his attempt to win over Meg. Surely the audience will enjoy the journey as much as Meg.

Josh Chatelain does as a commendable job as Professor Bhaer. He handles the burden of having an accent with ease.

Others in this well-cast cast include: Felicia Stockstill, Beth; Patricia Chastaine, Amy; Rebecca Highnote, Aunt March; Bethany Chavers, Jo; Austin Williams, Laurie; and Ben Poolson, Papa.

Adapted for the stage by John Ravold, Louisa May Alcott’s beloved “Little Women” stars are brought to life on the POS stage. The show opens tonight and runs for three consecutive weekends. Show dates are July 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, and 27. Friday and Saturday curtain times are 8 p.m. while the Sunday matinees start at 2 p.m.

Due to limited seating capacity, reservations must be made in advance. Reservations and information can be obtained 24 hours at the Picayune On Stage website, www.picayuneonstage.com, or call 601-749-5551.