This year, the musical The Secret Garden came back to Broadway for a limited run. Now you can see this enchanting show in your own backyard very soon!
The Civic Theater in Allentown has scheduled twelve performances, starting October 6th. You’ll find the rest of the dates on the right under Upcoming Events. I hope you will come and see me play in the pit. Please bring some family and friends. This is a magical show for everyone!
Based on the 1911 novel The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, the book and lyrics are by Marsha Norman, with music by Lucy Simon. In 1993 the story was turned into a movie directed by Acgnieszka Holland. When it came out, the great movie critic Roger Ebert wrote:
“Like all great stories for children, The Secret Garden contains powerful truths just beneath the surface. There is always a level at which the story is telling children about more than just events; it is telling them about the nature of life.”
If you haven’t read the book, that’s okay. Here’s a summary of the story:
Orphaned while living in India, 10-year-old Mary Lennox returns to Yorkshire, England to live with her embittered, reclusive Uncle Archibald, whom she has never met. There, the ill-tempered and lonely Mary meets Martha, a chambermaid, who tells her of a secret garden which belonged to her aunt Lily before she died.
Mary’s search for the garden introduces her to a slew of other characters, and a spirited robin that seems to be trying to talk to her. I won’t reveal a whole lot more, but I can tell you that the voice of the robin sounds remarkably like one of my flutes!
At this point you may think: “But didn’t you just do a production of The Secret Garden?” The answer is YES! In October 2016, this musical was the very first production in the brand new Weiss Theater on the Williams Arts Campus in Easton (see picture above). At that time, Kristine Y. Todaro of Lafayette College wrote:
“One of the most exciting aspects of this production of The Secret Garden is that it has allowed us to bring our vision of these new spaces as a gateway to the community in Easton and in the Greater Lehigh Valley to fruition. We’ve been so pleased to welcome community members into our production, including the four children who share the demanding roles of Mary and Colin, as well as Easton local Frank Ruscitti, who plays Ben, the gardener. In addition, we’ve been able to include professional Easton-based flute player Pamela Taylor, whose participation was made possible with the generous support of the Mellon Foundation, in our production.”
This time around, Frank Anonia serves as musical director. Frank teaches at Parkland High School, and you may know him as the musical director of the Freddy© Awards. Speaking of the Freddys, Reese Diaz won a 2017 Freddy for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role as Pippin. In The Secret Garden Reese will be the playing the role of Dickon. If you’ve watched the video (above), Dickon is the guy on the right with the Yorkshire accent. Click here for the full Allentown cast.
As a performer, The Secret Garden is one of my favorite musicals, in part because I get to play many of my instruments. I’ll tell you more about that next week.
Tickets are on sale right now. Click here to order them. Some performances start at 7:30 PM, and others at 2:00 PM.
I’ll see you in the Garden!
Meanwhile, bring some music into your life!