The Secret Garden: The Musical – A Theatrical Review
Imagine, if you can, being a young person in a foreign country and finding that not only your parents, but also every other person you know has died of cholera. Now imagine that after learning of this horrific fact that you are whisked away to another country that you are unfamiliar with to live with a relative you have never met or even heard of. Now, add the fact that it is overly apparent that you are not only not wanted in this new location, but you are actually a constant reminder of all the pain and heartache that seems to permeate the very fibers of the residence and its occupants as well. It might be extremely hard to find joy in anything, right? Well, this is the story of Mary Lennox, a young woman in exactly this situation in the The Chance Theatre’s current run of The Secret Garden: The Musical, now playing.
The Chance Theatre and director Casey Long (a job shared by fellow director K.C. Wilkerson) have done it yet again, a phenomenal production that is more than worth the time and price, is genuinely a MUST SEE! Staged with another ingeniously designed set, premier lighting, and a live three person orchestral group, this production does not miss a single beat in holding the audience’s attention and respect. This classic children’s story brought to stage has found a temporary home that is just as superior quality as any Broadway theatre house.
In this production a thirteen-year-old Sarah Pierce, who more than seems capable of holding the leading role in a major production, portrays Mary Lennox. Her innocent, yet mischievous persona seems so perfectly suited to this role that the viewer has no problem envisioning her as this unfortunate child. The deceased aunt (appearing in spirit form only), Lily Craven, is masterfully portrayed by Laura M. Hathaway. Her stage presence and spectacular soprano voice carry the production from start to finish as the one true love of widower Archibald Craven (portrayed by Paul Kehler), the custodian of young Mary. Mary’s inspiration for hope comes from her nanny Martha, spectacularly portrayed by Kellie Spill, and Martha’s brother Dickon, stupendously portrayed by Kyle Cooper. (Both Kyle Cooper and Kellie Spill will be reprising their previous roles in The Who’s “Tommy” at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in February – another DON’T MISS production.)
Surrounded by supporting cast members that all give a top-notch performance on their own, this ensemble delivers a production that you are not going to want to miss out on. The Secret Garden: The Musical plays at the Chance Theatre November 19 through December 26, 2010. Performances are held Thursday and Friday at 8PM, Saturdays at 3PM and 8PM, Sundays at 2PM and 7PM, and they even have a few select Wednesday performances at 8PM. Call the theatre directly to confirm your time and reserve your seats at 714-777-3033, or log onto their website at www.chancetheater.com. The delightfully designed and managed Chance Theatre is located at 5552 E. La Palma Ave. in Anaheim Hills, CA.
DO NOT MISS THIS WONDERFUL PRODUCTION, IT WILL HELPYOU TO REMEMBER THAT REGARDLESS OF WHAT LIFE SENDS YOUR WAY, GIVING OF YOURSELF AND YOUR ABILITIES CAN ALWAYS MAKE THINGS BETTER! What more delightful production could anyone ask for during these upcoming holidays when selfish greed, loneliness, personal solitude, and inept misery far too often imprison those enduring hardship? The holiday season is supposed to be about giving, caring, understanding, enlightening, and encouraging others, and The Secret Garden helps to remind even the most estranged curmudgeon of these facts.
On a separate note, be aware that the Chance Theatre is a not-for-profit organization with a long history of excellence in theater and education. Currently, like most businesses, they are attempting to finish off the fundraising for their upcoming season. GFS, Inc., a long time supporter of The Chance Theatre, has very generously offered a matching grant of $10,000, which means that if you enjoy the work and love for the arts that The Chance Theatre offers, every dollar that you donate to their upcoming season will be matched up to that $10,000 mark. That said, make a reservation to see The Secret Garden, or their other holiday production of The Eight Reindeer Monologues (running November 30th to December 21st, 2010), and consider adding The Chance Theatre to your end of the year gift giving.
Happy Holidays to All, and Enjoy!
Featured Theatre Critic
Associated Content by Yahoo