By Rachel G. Kolias —image4

After having the script on hand for more than ten years, the Menomonie Theater Guild is excited to present the heartwarming story of “Little Women” at the historic Mabel Tainter Theater.

Based off the timeless and enduring classic by Louisa May Alcott, the production is about the March sisters’ journey from childhood to maturity during the American Civil War. The script is written by Roger Wheeler and produced by special arrangement with Baker’s Plays. The play is being directed by Katie Shay.

Shay has been involved with the Menomonie Theater Guild for more than 10 years. Her first theatrical role was as a Sugar Plum Fairy in her kindergarten’s production of “The Nutcracker.” Since then, she has landed roles in over a dozen Menomonie Theater Guild productions including Gwendolen in “The Importance of Being Earnest,” Mary Bailey in “It’s A Wonderful Life” and Snow White in “Into the Woods.”

“I’ve done everything from comedy to drama to Shakespeare,” said Shay.

This is the fourth production she has directed for the Menomonie Theater Guild. She directed two Shakespeare in the Parks including “Romeo and Juliet” and “As You Like It.” The last production she directed was “A Christmas Story” in 2013.

Shay’s involvement in the Menomonie Theater Guild started out as a hobby but grew into a love for theater and a passion for working in the non-profit sector. Shay studied technical communications at University of Wisconsin–Stout. She currently works at the Mabel Tainter Center for Arts as a Patron Services Coordinator and the Menomonie Public Library as a Circulation Clerk.

Shay, who knows the story of “Little Women” well, has always hoped to direct the play.

“I’ve always loved these books and the movies,” said Shay. “The 1994 movie with Christian Bale and Winona Ryder is very, very dear to my heart.”

The Menomonie Theater Guild has had the “Little Women” script for more than a decade but had never done it before.

“It is something I thought would be really great at the Mabel Tainter and for this community,” said Shay.

Since the Mabel Tainter is celebrating its 125th year, the Victorian details and historic legacy serve as an appropriate setting for the production, as the novel was published in 1868.

“We are using a lot of the furniture for our set and the play is almost the same era,” said Shay.

The small cast of 12 people resembles the closeness of the four sisters and their mother in the story of “Little Women.”

Anna Lucas, who plays Jo, the aspiring writer and tomboy, said, “We are such a tight-knit group, and the cast has really, really jived well.”

The cast hopes audiences of all generations will enjoy the coming-of-age stories of the March family as they experience good and bad times and as they share the joys and pains of growing up.

“There are a lot of emotions in this play, you are kind of all over the board,” said Lucas. “There are funny lines and touching and sad things that happen too.”

Shay hopes the heartwarming story leaves the audience feeling “warm, toasty and fuzzy.”

The production will be on May 8, 9, 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. and May 10 and 17 at 2 p.m. at The Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts, 205 Main Street East. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and students and are available at the Menomonie Theater Guild Studio Box Office, 502 W 2nd Street, and online at


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