Closed 2h 0m
Little Women
West Village
73

Little Women NYC Reviews and Tickets

73%
(139 Reviews)
Positive
68%
Mixed
25%
Negative
7%
Members say
Great acting, Disappointing, Entertaining, Slow, Intelligent

About the Show

Primary Stages welcomes back Kate Hamill, playwright and star of their production of "Pride and Prejudice," with her fresh new take on Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel of love and duty, "Little Women."

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Member Reviews (139)

63
Interpretive, Interesting, Uneven, Good acting, Disappointing

See it if you want to see an adaptation of the classic 19th Century novel seen through a 21st Century lens; you appreciate Hamill's work.

Don't see it if you are an Alcott purist or unwilling to accept a modern, progressive interpretation (albeit still set in its original period) of the novel. Read more

85
Thought-provoking, Resonant, Entertaining, Clever

See it if Great to see a writer perform. Color blind casting works Nice revision. . Kristolyn Lloyd on her way to super-stardom.

Don't see it if You need "without alterations". You want to wait for the musical version next season. At our viewing the new performer was still on book.

Critic Reviews (16)

June 4th, 2019

“Lloyd makes a charming and entirely sympathetic Jo...There’s a peculiar lack of warmth to Lapine’s production as a whole...These Marches don’t feel much like a unit, and the first act, performed with too-manic energy, is hobbled by our not knowing most of them in any depth...The play is more frolicsome and complex on the page than in this production, which seems undecided whether to aim itself at school-age audiences, grown-ups or — ideally — both.”
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June 4th, 2019

"Reimagines Alcott's beloved 19th-century coming-of-age tale through a modern lens...During the play’s first fabulous act, director Sarna Lapine keeps the episodic tale moving swiftly and smoothly as the cast leans into the humor without sacrificing the heart. Act II, by comparison, seems rushed and disjointed—and, perhaps, a little too woke...Yet the talented women associated with this production, both on stage and off, sustain its magic for so long that it seems ungrateful to belittle them."
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June 5th, 2019

“Hamill’s ‘Little Women’ is trying to make the old feel new...and, frustratingly, it’s trying both way too hard and not hard enough...Its characters reduced either to one-dimensional conveyors...or to mouthpieces for modern indignation...The constant hammering home of the play’s big — and relatively facile — ideas, along with the production’s winky, overplayed lightheartedness, puts the show in territory that veers dangerously close to children’s theater.”
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June 12th, 2019

"If you're going to do 'Little Women,' you've got to come up with something fresh to say about it, something this production doesn't really do...The playwright's approach hammers the characters into two-dimensional figures...This is an aimless entertainment that dutifully makes its points without much force or warmth or any sense of fun."
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June 6th, 2019

"A sublime example of how to make 19th century works relevant to modern audiences...A color-conscious cast highlights elements of the characters that have remained unseen in other adaptations...This Jo commands the stage with equal measures of fire and kindness, and seeing a black woman in the part can't help but remind us of how much our society expects from women of color."
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June 4th, 2019

“Hamill’s now gone hog-wild-radical with Alcott’s ‘Little Women’...If you’re fond of that authorized version...you may have a difficult time with Hamill’s loosey-goosey alteration...Hamill gives it a contemporary spin for these LGBTA/LGBTQ days...Classics are classics because they so universal in myriad ways that they stay cogent no matter when they’re encountered. They hardly require upstart ideas on nudging them into renewed life."
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June 4th, 2019

"Director Sarna Lapine’s austere approach to the visuals, which includes modest approximations of Victorian dress that the characters do not change as several years go by, becomes Hamill’s uncluttered retelling of the story. Lapine paces the actors at a fairly brisk clip...Hamill’s adaptation of 'Little Women'—for all of its contemporary attitudes and talk—is a relatively straightforward interpretation of the novel."
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June 18th, 2019

"Hamill's adaptation of the Alcott novel is entertaining and engrossing though the modern sensibility is likely to bother devotees of the novel. The amiable and energetic cast keeps the story moving swiftly along. However, there is little sense of period which might disturb some: is it likely Jo would wear men's clothing in 1861 New England, away from the Bohemian centers that someone like novelist George Sand frequented? And all the talk of 'gender roles' seems excessively 21st century."
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June 5th, 2019

“Retrofitted to within an inch of its life to be relevant for today. The thing is, it was already relevant...The lack of dramatic arc prevents these fine actors from shining. There is little or no inventive direction...Every time Harvey appears, the stage brightens considerably. The singular scene that crackles is the one in which Crane plays a parrot. He is brilliant...In this production, the ties that bind are loose. Just as this play is loosely based on the novel."
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June 23rd, 2019

"She’s taken a quintessential American novel, beloved by many and read by more, and formulated something kind and accepting in the want and desire of a role outside the expected and predetermined...Jo’s journey isn’t given enough misdirection or uncertain leeway to grow and develop in this retelling, but the passion and determination is clear and focused...Hamill and company fly forward through this difficult and complicated landscape and plot."
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June 5th, 2019

"Hamill’s adaptation...strangely holds onto the hoary, sentimental aspects of the novel and then tries to hybridize them with an incoherent, contemporary vision of Jo...The play is forced to reduce complex women to simplistic, flat renderings...The cast are stiff and awkward here. They wear their characterizations unnaturally...The fast-paced production is stilted and awkward and never quite finds a tone that suits its modern thinking or its traditional setting."
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June 4th, 2019

“Hamill gives her characters unique and authentic conflicts which the actors successfully employ to develop their characters with believability and develop the plot. Themes and conflicts counterpoint one another and the comparison and contrast of these provide enough dramatic progression. However, these are Alcott’s themes really and Kate Hamill has not seduced them into the present with enough relevance and energy to make this ‘Little Women’ anything new or compelling.”
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June 8th, 2019

“Portrayed by a first-rate, racially/ethnically diverse cast, Hamill’s four March sisters may be in one way 21st century women, facing issues like postpartum depression and sexual harassment, or waving a flag for gender fluidity. But they are also very much recognizable as the distinctive characters from the novel...If Sarna Lapine’s direction doesn’t always put a priority on clarity or pacing, the cast provides enough humor and warmth to keep us engaged most of the time.”
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June 10th, 2019

"Hamill's rather shallow characters hew roughly to what Alcott provided in multiple dimensions; none can be taken as a literal version of their originals. Hamill specifically dismisses the idea of creating museum replicas…This allows her to interject overtly contemporary commentary and business that stick out like sore thumbs…The spirited tone and pace means a loss of pathos in those scenes when it should be paramount…Fails to justify the effort required for its new dramatization."
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June 4th, 2019

“Hamill’s version is almost bipolar, with a first act that is basically faithful to Alcott but a second act that is more Hamill than Alcott. She significantly alters the character and fate of Jo, omits a key character, manages to make Amy completely unsympathetic and drops an interesting thread relating to Laurie’s sexuality...It is wildly uneven, with scenes ranging from touching to leaden. I doubt there were many dry eyes in the house when the March family is reunited at Christmas.”
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June 4th, 2019

“Hamill’s new adaptation...shows a flair for turning a doorstop of a novel into a relatively fleet theatrical entertainment. But...you can feel the lightweightness of the material, which is further emphasized by the broadness of Lapine’s direction..Purists will be surprised by other departures in plot and characterization from Alcott’s original text...There are moments of pure theatrical delight...At its best (and worst), ‘Little Women’ plays like children’s theater for the NPR crowd.”
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