The musical version of Little House on the Prairie makes its world premiere at the Guthrie, directed by Francesca Zambello, and featuring Melissa Gilbert.
"If people only know the TV show, they'll still find all the characters they love," assures director Francesca Zambello, currently also represented on stage by Broadway's The Little Mermaid. "And while I didn't read the books until I was an adult, I was enthralled by the writing, the storytelling, and the sense of the American pioneer spirit. What makes it worthy material for a musical is that you have in Laura a strong protagonist, surrounded by a family of fascinating and rich characters."
The show stars Steve Blanchard as Pa, Kara Lindsay as Laura, Jenn Gambatese as Mary, Sara Jean Ford as Nellie, Kevin Massey as Almanzo, and Maeve Moynihan as Carrie; but fans of the television show will get a particular thrill out of seeing Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura on the series, in the role of Caroline "Ma" Ingalls. "She brings a unique perspective," says Zambello. "But from the beginning, she's completely reapproached the material. There's a good story that Melissa told when she came to rehearsal. She went to read the books, and discovered that all the parts about Laura were underlined, so she had to buy a whole new set so she could study things from Ma's perspective."