Nothing against Knoxville but, for a minute there, I thought I was in New York. I’m not talking about those Broadway touring companies with a cast of classically trained singers who are going to sing classically even if it has zero connection to their character, and by the time they get to your town they just mark the blocking like robots. No, this was just a rehearsal and everyone was spot on, as if they had been doing this all their lives, and at the same time worked hard to get here. I technically write musicals, but this was the real thing, and these folks had me in the palm of their hands. The timing, the nuance, the clear tones collaborating with the characters’ emotion; It was … astonishing.

Let me explain. The WordPlayers are doing Little Women. I’ve come to expect great choices for our mainstage shows from Terry and Jeni, but what was somewhat alarming was how incredibly well cast this production is. I’m super picky. I complain to myself about what a critic I can’t help being at times, but this was good stuff, and I was looking at it on a taped up floor under florescent lights in a church basement. How in the world am I impressed by this? Well, because it is excellent work.

This is a blog. Which means I get to be honest about my opinion, and write about things that are meaningful to me. It is not a poster, not a commercial. I don’t get riled up very easily. But I’m so excited about how great this production is going to be, that my personal opinion is that anyone in Knoxville who doesn’t come to The Bijou to see Little Women, July 14-16, is at a loss. Just seeing little pieces of this production behind the scenes has made me proud of our town. The heart and talent being raised up in Knoxville city limits is impressive. Please, do yourself a favor and come see the show. If you can look me in the eye and tell me it wasn’t better than the average “Broadway Tour” that comes through here, I’ll buy you a donut. With sprinkles.

Talk to me.

Ethan Norman
Artistic Associate, The WordPlayers