Little Women, with book by Allan Knee, lyrics by Mindi Dickstein and music by Jason Howland, is based on Louisa May Alcott's class novel of the same name. Believed to be semiautobiographical, it is considered one of the most widely read novels of all time. Howland was initially signed on as only a producer for the musical but, when the original songwriters were let go in workshops, he decided to step into the position as composer. The creators chose to fully stage excerpts of Jo's operatic tragedy, using them to start each act, to contrast the fantastical world of Jo's literary dreams with her much more grounded life in Concord.
Little Women opened at the Virginia Theatre on Broadway on January 23, 2005. It closed on May 22 of the same year after 137 performances. The original cast starred Sutton Foster, Maureen McGovern and Janet Carroll. Shortly after closing, a thirty-city U.S. national tour started, with McGovern continuing her role and Kate Fisher taking over for Sutton Foster. The tour began in August 2005 in San Diego, California, and concluded in July 2006 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
The musical received a pair of international premieres after closing in the United States. The Australian premiere of the musical ran at the Seymour Centre at the University of Sydney from November to December 2008, produced by Australian musical theatre star, Peter Cousens. It included performances from Trisha Noble, Judi Connelli and Stephen Mahy. A German production opened on June 12, 2010.
- The Broadway production of Little Women had one Tony Award nomination for Sutton Foster as Jo for Best Actress in a Musical. It also had one Outer Critics Circle nomination for Foster for Outstanding Actress in a Musical and three Drama Desk Award nominations (Sutton Foster for Outstanding Actress in a Musical, Maureen McGovern for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical and Outstanding Orchestrations).