Long before a certain French-Canadian pop diva had a movie mega-hit with a certain song about a big boat, there was Maureen McGovern and “The Morning After” back in 1972’s “The Poseidon Adventure.” Since topping the charts decades ago with a variety of hits from disaster movies, McGovern has kept active as a singer and as a performer in musicals, especially of the Rodgers and Hammerstein variety and was last heard here in the late 1990s as an impressive Anna in a touring production of “The King and I.” McGovern was the one thing that everybody liked in last year’s musical adaptation of “Little Women” and it is the chance to hear McGovern give her glorious pipes a workout that is sustaining the touring version after the Broadway production closed. Of course, setting a beloved Civil War novel that has been an icon of feminine juvenility for generations to music was asking for trouble, as central plot details have to be glossed over (Funny how few people cared with “Les Miz,” but then, how many people actually read Victor Hugo?) leaving the emotional core of Louisa May Alcott’s characters exposed through effective musical melodrama. It is rare to have the chance to see an elaborate Broadway musical with all of the trimmings—including an expanded orchestra, a rarity even on Broadway these days—with a first-rate cast, and those who love the form will not want to miss this unique opportunity. (Dennis Polkow)
Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph, (312)902-1400. Through Feb. 5.