The Secret Garden (musical)

The Secret Garden (musical)

Infobox Musical
name=The Secret Garden
caption= Original Cast Recording
music=Lucy Simon
lyrics=Marsha Norman
book=Marsha Norman
basis= Frances Hodgson Burnett's children's novel
"The Secret Garden"
productions=1991 Broadway
1995 Australia
2001 West End
awards= Tony Award for Best Book

"The Secret Garden" is a musical based on the 1909 novel of the same name by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The musical's book and lyrics are by Marsha Norman, with music by Lucy Simon. It premiered on Broadway at the St. James Theatre on 25 April 1991 and closed on 3 January 1993 after 709 performances.

The musical, set in 1906, tells of a young English girl, Mary, who is forced to move to England from colonial India when her parents die in a cholera outbreak. There she lives with her emotionally stunted Uncle Archibald and her invalid cousin. Discovering a hidden and neglected garden, and bravely overcoming dark forces, she and a young gardener bring it back to life at the same time as she brings new life to her cousin and uncle.

"The Secret Garden" garnered the 1991 Tony Awards for Best Book of a Musical, Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Daisy Eagan), and Best Scenic Design (Heidi Landesman). The set resembled an enormous Victorian toy theatre with pop-out figures, large paper dolls, and Joseph Cornell-like collage elements.

Productions

"The Secret Garden" premiered on Broadway at the St. James Theatre on 25 April 1991 and closed on 3 January 1993 after 709 performances.

The Royal Shakespeare Company production ran at Stratford from November 13, 2000 until January 27, 2001, with Philip Quast and Meredith Braun directed by Adrian Noble, staged and choreographed by Gillian Lynne. [http://www.rsc.org.uk/press/421_501.asp?pagename=information/press/ypbskmvmgq/ Royal Shakespeare Company press release] The RSC production transferred to the West End Aldwych Theatre, running from February 2001 until June 2001.

Synopsis

;Act I1906, India. Mary Lennox, a 10-year-old English girl who has been raised in India, dreams of nursery rhymes and Indian chants ("Opening"), and awakes to find her parents have died of cholera. She is found by survivors and sent to live with her uncle, whom she's never met ("There's a Girl"). Mary is met in Yorkshire by Mrs. Medlock, housekeeper to her Uncle Archibald, a hunchback who has been inconsolable since his wife Lily's death ("The House Upon the Hill").

("Note: Throughout the show, these and other songs are sung by a chorus of ghosts, referred to in the libretto as "dreamers," who serve as narrators and Greek chorus for the action.")

Mary has difficulty sleeping her first night there ("I Heard Someone Crying") as she and Archibald both mourn their losses. The next morning, Mary meets Martha, the chambermaid who entices Mary outside with tales of the gardens ("If I Had a Fine White Horse"), in particular, a secret hidden garden. Meanwhile, Archibald continues to wallow in his memories of Lily ("A Girl In the Valley").

Mary discovers the garden, laid out in Victorian style as a topiary maze, as do gardener Ben and Martha's brother, Dickon, each with his own agenda ("It's a Maze"); however it has been locked since Lily's death as it reminds Archibald of her. Dickon, we learn, is something of a druid who comes to invoke the spring ("Winter's On the Wing"). He claims to converse with animals, and teaches Mary to speak the Yorkshire dialect to a robin ("Show Me the Key"). The bird, with Dickon's help, leads Mary to the key for the garden; but does not show Mary the door.

Archibald has a formal meeting with his niece, who asks him for "A Bit of Earth" to plant a garden of her own; he is startled and compares her to Lily. As the Yorkshire gloom turns to rain ("Storm I"), we meet Archibald's younger brother and physician Neville. He and Archibald both notice that Mary resembles her aunt ("Lily's Eyes") and we learn that Neville had an unrequited love for Lily as well.

As the rain continues, Mary again hears someone crying ("Storm II"), but this time she finds him: her cousin Colin, confined to bed since birth, during which his mother Lily died. He has been in bed his entire life because Archibald feared that Colin would also become a hunch back. Colin's spine is perfectly fine but his father is convinced that he has passed on his curse. Colin confides in his cousin his dreams of "A Round-Shouldered Man" who comes to him at night and reads to him from his book "of all that's good and true". However, just as it seems they have become friends, Neville and Mrs. Medlock burst in, intending to give Colin his nightly shot, and dismiss her angrily, telling her she is never to see Colin again. As the storm reaches its peak, Mary runs outside and finds the garden ("Final Storm").

;Act IIMary has a reverie about "The Girl I Mean to Be," with "a place I can go when I am lost." In reality, the garden is like her uncle and Mary herself, neglected and overgrown; it seems dead. Archibald relates his dream to Neville, a dream with Lily and Mary together in the garden. But Neville's dreams are darker; recalling Lily spurning him, Neville looks to the day when Archibald leaves for good and the house becomes Neville's ("Quartet").

At Neville's urging, Archibald agrees to send Mary to a boarding school and then leaves for the Continent, pausing only to read his son a fairy tale as Colin sleeps("Race You To the Top of the Morning"). Mary asks Dickon for help with the garden; Dickon explains that it is probably just dormant and that "somewhere there's a single streak of green inside it" ("Wick"). After conversing with Colin about the discovered garden, Mary, Dickon, and Martha clandestinely bring Colin in his wheelchair to the garden, as the ghost of his mother sings to him and with him ("Come to My Garden/Lift Me Up"). In the garden, the exercise and fresh air begin to make Colin well ("Come Spirit, Come Charm"). The dreamers sing the praises of the renewed garden ("A Bit of Earth (Reprise)").

Back in the house, Mary faces down Neville as he tells her of her uncle's plans to send her away to school. Martha tells Mary she must "Hold On"--"when you see a man who's ragin'/And he's jealous and he fears/That you'll walk through walls he's hid behind for years..." Mary writes a letter to Archibald ("Letter Song") urging him to come home. At first he feels defeated and frustrated ("Where In the World"), but Lily's ghost convinces him to return ("How Could I Ever Know").

Entering the garden, he finds Colin completely healthy; in fact, he is beating Mary in a footrace as Archibald walks through the door. Archibald, a changed man, accepts Mary as his own, and the dreamers invite all to "stay here in the garden" ("Finale").

Songs

;Act I
* Opening — Lily, Company
* There's a Girl — Company
* The House Upon the Hill — Company
* I Heard Someone Crying — Lily, Mary. Archibald
* A Fine White Horse — Martha, Mary
* A Girl in the Valley — Archibald, Lily
* It's a Maze — Mary, Ben, Dickon
* Winter's on the Wing — Dickon
* Show Me the Key — Mary, Dickon
* A Bit of Earth — Archibald, Mary
* Storm I — Company
* Lily's Eyes — Archibald, Neville
* Storm II — Mary, Company
* Round-Shouldered Man — Colin
* Final Storm — Mary, Company;Act II
* The Girl I Mean to Be — Mary
* Quartet — Archibald, Lily, Neville, Rose
* Race You to the Top of the Morning — Archibald
* Wick — Mary, Dickon
* Come to My Garden — Lily
* Lift Me Up — Colin
* Come Spirit, Come Charm — Mary, Dickon, Martha, Lily, Company
* A Bit of Earth (Reprise) — Lily, Rose, Albert
* Disappear — Neville
* Hold On — Martha
* Letter Song — Archibald, Mary, Martha
* Where in the World — Archibald
* How Could I Ever Know — Archibald, Lily
* Finale — Company

Original Broadway Cast

*Mary Lennox - Daisy Eagan
*Archibald Craven - Mandy Patinkin
*Lily Craven - Rebecca Luker
*Neville Craven - Robert Westenberg
*Martha - Alison Fraser
*Dickon - John Cameron Mitchell
*Colin - John Babcock

Australian Cast

*Mary Lennox - Samantha Fiddes, Sarah Ogden
*Archibald Craven - Anthony Warlow
*Lily - Marina Prior
*Neville Craven - Philip Quast
*Dickon - Tom Blair
*Martha - Susan-Ann Walker
*Colin Craven - Bart Ritchie, Ross Hannaford
*Ben - Raymond Duprac
*Mrs. Medlock - June Salter

London Cast

*Mary Lennox — Natalie Morgan
*Colin — Luke Newberry
*Archibald Craven - Philip Quast
*Neville Craven - Peter Polycarpou (*Note: On the cast recording, this role was sung by Christian Patterson)
*Lily — Meredith Braun
*Martha - Linzi Hateley
*Dickon — Craig Purnell

2005 World AIDS Day Benefit "Dream" Cast

Directed by Stafford Arima.Produced by Jamie McGonnigal.Music directed by original director Michael Kosarin.

*Mary Lennox - Jaclyn Neidenthal
*Archibald Craven - Steven Pasquale
*Lily - Laura Benanti
*Neville Craven - Will Chase
*Albert - Max von Essen
*Dickon - Michael Arden
*Martha - Celia Keenan-Bolger
*Colin Craven - Struan Erlenborn
*Ben - David Canary
*Claire - Jenny Powers
*Alice - Deborah S. Craig
*Lt. Wright - Matt Cavenaugh
*Mrs. Medlock - Barbara Rosenblat
*The Ayah - Reshma Shetty
*The Fakir - Nehal Joshi
*Rose - Sara Gettelfinger

References

* [http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117797461.html?categoryid=33&cs=1& "Variety review, London, March 5, 2001]

External links

*
* [http://www.nodanw.com/shows_s/secretgarden.htm NODANW]


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