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Nov. 3, 2023

Theatre Northwest to present adaptation of popular novel ‘Little Women’

By Kayla Holman, communication assistant

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Northwest Missouri State University’s Theatre Northwest will portray a holiday adaptation of the 19th-century novel “Little Women” Nov. 9-12.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9; Friday, Nov. 10 and Saturday, Nov. 11; with a final show at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12, in the Studio Theater at the Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $12 and may be purchased at

Directed by Katheryn Bilbo, an associate professor of theatre, “Little Women” follows four sisters as they move through time from one Christmas to another. 

“We wanted to present a popular, recognizable classic in straightforward prose instead of one in verse,” Bilbo said. “This stage version of the novel begins and ends with Christmas, which we felt was particularly appropriate for this time of year.”

Theatre Northwest will reimagine Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel with an adaptation by Erin Riley, a former artistic director at The Strand Theater Company in Baltimore. Alcott’s story becomes a love letter to individuality, perseverance and love in all forms, Bilbo noted.

The play also fulfills Theatre Northwest’s desire to diversify its season by showcasing works by women, Bilbo said.

“‘Little Women’ was the first novel to encourage women to be ambitious through individuality and normalized the idea that there was more to life than becoming a wife and taking care of the home,” Bilbo said. “Louisa May Alcott wasn't insinuating that domesticity was wrong or undesirable, but that it wasn’t necessarily for everyone.”

Unlike the novel, the stage version was intentionally written to begin and end with the holidays. Additionally, the play occurs during a shorter time frame than the novel and is narrated by Jo, the book’s protagonist.

Northwest’s 2023-2024 season continues with the annual Alpha Psi Omega children’s show on Dec. 10. The spring schedule features the second annual Theatre Northwest Playfest Jan. 22 through Feb. 3; “Miracle on South Division Street,” March 1-2; and “Radium Girls” April 11-14.

For more information about Theatre Northwest, call 660.562.1321 or email


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