Melissa Gilberts decade-long run in the Little House TV series made her a star and also exposed millions of new fans to the warmth and homespun charm of Laura Ingalls Wilders famous novels about determined family life on the 19th-century Midwestern frontier. Gilbert is all grown up now, of course, and so she shifts gears in this musical adaptation, taking on the role of Ma Ingalls. The show, directed by Francesca Zambello, with music by Rachel Portman, lyrics by Donna di Novelli and a book by Rachel Sheinkin, first debuted in the summer of 2008 at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Now it is just embarking on its big national tour, and Nashville is one of the earliest cities in the schedule. Preliminary scuttlebutt hints at a sincerely rendered revival of the traits that made the television program so populari.e., an earnest wholesomeness with a bit of misty-eyed cornplus evocative sets and a score that attempts the Big Sky grandeur of Aaron Copland. The production also stars Steve Blanchard as Pa Ingalls and Kara Lindsay as Laura.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Oct. 27. Continues through Nov. 1, 2009