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Little Women

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Jo March is a brat in Allan Knee, Jason Howland, and Mindi Dickstein's musical based on Louisa May Alcott's novel. But in this touring version of the Broadway show, Kate Fisher's arresting physicality and supple voice render the potentially irritating protagonist charismatic--especially in the first act's closing number, "Astonishing," when she embodies ambition without context or direction. The book can be dutiful, but the songs have a satisfying unity, constantly returning to the theme of change, which the adventurous Jo somehow has trouble negotiating. Derek McLane's spacious sets are quintessentially American, and Maureen McGovern as Marmee provides the resonant low, dark notes. Who knew that the March sisters and their mother could come back to such agreeable life after so many years? Through 2/5: see www.chicagoreader.com for complete schedule. Through 1/29: Thu 7:30 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 2 and 8 PM, Sun 2 and 7:30 PM, Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph, 312-902-1400, $18-$80.

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