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Actress to portray author of "Little Women"

Actress Leslie Goddard portrays author Louisa May Alcott.
Actress Leslie Goddard portrays author Louisa May Alcott.

SUGAR GROVE – The life of author Louisa May Alcott will be center stage at the Sugar Grove Public Library on Jan. 21.

The event, called “Louisa May Alcott Historical Portrayal,” will be performed by Leslie Goddard, a Darien resident, who is an actress and historian.

Some people Goddard has previously portrayed include Amelia Earhart, Jackie Kennedy and Bette Davis.

The upcoming one-woman show is designed to celebrate Alcott’s 150th birthday of the successful novel “Little Women;” the first volume of the story was published in 1868. The second half was published a year later.

The library is located at 125 S. Municipal Drive, Sugar Grove, and the event will be in meeting room C from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Goddard explained what makes her live portrayal worthy of checking out at the library.

“When you read a biography – and there have been a lot of biographies of Louisa May Alcott – you can certainly get a sense of what happened in this person’s life,” Goddard said. “You can get a sense of what they were like as a person. But there’s something about when you see something acted out, when you see a living history portrayal, that like any theatrical event, it draws you in emotionally.”

Attendees will learn about Alcott’s childhood, which involved living in poverty.

Goddard said that Alcott’s father never could hold a steady job.

“Her family really struggled down to the point that sometimes when they were so poor they didn’t even have enough to buy dinner,” Goddard said. “And her father would just say, “Oh, it’s OK. Providence will provide!’”

Alcott at a young age had jobs like laundress, seamstress and servant.

“Her sisters worked,” Goddard said. “Her mother worked. It was pretty grueling for all of them.”

As for creating “Little Women,” the audience will learn how that story came to be.

“She really wrote it as a way to make money,” Goddard said. “She said at one point … ‘You know, I’ve never really liked hanging out with girls’ she was always a tomboy as a kid – but she went ahead and wrote it when her publisher said, ‘I want you to write a girls' book.’”

And that “Little Women” story turned out to be loosely based on her own life with true events.

Audience members will learn about Alcott’s struggles to make it as a writer along with her success of “Little Women” in 1868. People will be able to ask questions at the end of the show.

Those interested in attending the event can register at

Genna Mickey, assistant director at the Sugar Grove Public Library, said the event is for adults, but interested teens are welcome to attend.

Mickey called Goddard talented and well-known in the library world.

“This is a really educational and lively program that you can experience with the rest of your Sugar Grove community on a nice Sunday afternoon at the library,” Mickey said. “And it’s a really fun program.”

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