The Secret Garden

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**NO SPOILERS** A musical adaption of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel. Music by Lucy Simon with book and lyrics by Marsha Norman. It is the story of Mary Lennox, who loses her family to Cholera and gets sent to live with her uncle, Archibald Craven, who’s wife died shortly after giving birth to their son. They must learn to live with each other, their grief, and what it means to move on.

Directed by Anthony Eversole, with technical direction by Chad Rogers, this show is amazing, powerful, gorgeous, emotional, and exactly the kind of theatre I ache to see. The staging is both restrained at times and then fluid and feels like the cast is floating. With scenic and lighting design by Don Naggiar, the set cleverly interchanges from scene to scene smoothly and truly sets the tone for each moment. The lighting is beautiful and supports the emotional journey of the actors. Costume design by DeMara Cabrera, the costumes are gorgeous from the 1911 time period. Every detail perfect for each character. The use of the red scarf is brilliant with its significance within the story. Music direction by Lauren Servais was subtle at times and powerful throughout. Such beautiful musical support for these actors, it was like being transported to the period. Musicians for this show include: Amber Mao playing the flute and piccolo; Elise Morgan playing the horn; Grayson Merickel playing bass; Ava Schnoll playing percussion; and Lauren Servais playing piano and synthesizer. Sound design by Anthony Eversole was so natural, I almost forgot to mention it here.

The cast has solid chemistry with each other and interacts with emotional intensity in every scene, whether it’s a time of joy, anger, sadness, or hope–you feel it, you believe it. The vocals in this show are astounding! Elliette Barlow plays Mary Lennox with innocence, salt & vinegar/sass, hopefulness, and heartbreak. An eighth grader with a HUGE life ahead of her if people keep giving her meaty roles like this. Dylan Lewis plays Archibald Craven with amazing vulnerability letting the audience feel his overwhelming sadness and inability to connect with the living. His scenes with Lily Craven, played by Lorna Baxter, are heartfelt and heartbreaking, knowing the circumstance. Lorna has a beautiful voice and conveys more than the words with the expressions on her face. Michael Eclevia plays Dr. Neville Craven, Archibald’s brother. His mission is to keep the house running and his brother in check which he does with the perfect balance of strength against Archibald’s despair. When they sing the song about Lily’s eyes, I almost lost it. I can barely write about it. Hannah Foshay plays Martha Souerby, a maid at the house who takes care of Mary. A wonderful comedic role giving light to the emotional intensity of the show. Jacob Hungerford plays Dickon Souerby, Martha’s brother who seems to wander the grounds at just the right time befriending Mary, giving her hope for the future. He is another bright spot balancing the material and boy can he whistle! Natalie Harris plays Colin (and Mrs. Shelley), the son of Archibald and Lily, who has been kept in a room his whole life (10 years) due to illness. The scenes with Colin and Mary are magic and they must have been fun to dig in to. Steven Evans-Renteria plays Ben, the gardener, with lightness and that grandpa level of wisdom for Mary. Anthony Eversole plays Captain Lennox, just like you’d imagine a captain from that period, strong, powerful, and with fatherly kindness. Atari Gauthier plays Mrs. Medlock, the Matron of the house, with just the right amount of judgement 🙂 Leah Kahn plays Rose Lennox, Lily’s sister and Mary’s mother. She has great chemistry with Lily Craven and does quite well in her role. The ensemble is rounded out with: Tanya Bihari, as Ayah and Mrs. Winthrop; Easton Fisher as Lt. Wright and Major Shelly; Ash Gilbert as Alice and Jane; Cameron Macdonald as Major Holmes; Jordan Satterfield as Mrs. Holmes; Ellie Smith as Fakir; and Tyson Zagelow as Lt. Shaw. They were solid with amazing vocal range and fluidity when onstage. They kept the spirit of the show grounded and were wonderful to watch.

Overall, this show was powerful on many levels and I was blown away by the performance, dedication, and commitment to this story. The cast, crew, and everyone involved should feel proud of their hard work. I am eternally grateful for the experience of watching this show!

One last performance today at 2 pm. Click HERE for tickets! Don’t miss it!

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