Mark A. Philbrick, Hale Center Theater, Orem
Amy (Emily Dabczynski, left), Meg (Courtney Pew), Marmee (Diane Dabczynski), Jo (Hailey Smith) and Beth (Alexis Wardle).

LITTLE WOMEN, Hale Center Theater, Orem, through July 26 (801-226-8600); running time: 2 hours 35 minutes (one intermission)

OREM — From the beginning, when the cast comes out of an old attic chest, the Hale Center Theater production of "Little Women" promises to be a charming example of community musical theater.

And while the acting is wonderful and the costuming outstanding, the vocals, for the most part, are weak, at least coming from the Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday cast.

An exception, of course, is Diane Dabczynski as Marmee, the mother of the quartet of young women in the March household, who with her years of professional experience pulls it off very well.

Rhett F. Richins, in his debut performance at the Hale as Laurie, also puts on an engaging performance. Playing dual roles as Aunt March and Mrs. Kirk, Tracy Ann Evans adds humor and interest to the play.

Alexis Wardle, as Beth, gives a touching performance in her final duet of the play with Hailey Smith as her rambunctious sister, Jo.

The popular Louisa May Alcott novel was transformed into a Broadway play by Jason Howland and Mindi Dickstein, and it draws heavily on Alcott's years growing up with her sisters in Massachusetts during the Civil War. The novel was published in 1868 and was an immediate hit.

Much of the production takes place in the March home and attic. Chris Clark directed with Korianne Orton-Johnson handling choreography and musical directing.

The Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday cast also includes Courtney M. Pew as Meg, Emily Dabczynski as the spoiled Amy, Kacey Spadafora as Professor Bhaer, Jeff Pew as Mr. Brooke and Jim Murphy as Mr. Laurence.

The Monday-Wednesday-Friday performances cast Lauren Noll as Jo, Tracy Whitlock as Marmee, Laurel Lowe as Meg, Jenny Latimer as Beth and Kaylie Bell as Amy. H.K. Baird plays Mr. Lawrence and Steve Plowman plays Mr. Brooke.


E-mail: rodger@desnews.com