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28.04.2015
What do Miss Saigon, Grand Hotel, City Of Angels, Aspects Of Love, Will Rogers Follies, and Meet Me In St Louis have in common? There is another musical that belongs with the aforementioned overblown trivialities, and productions of it keep sprouting up like weeds (probably because it is far easier to stage than a flying helicopter): I refer to The Secret Garden, The Musical (1991). In the last year, The Chance Theater has shown what amazing work can be done in a small venue (Merrily We Roll Along, The Who’s Tommy, The Goat) but even this adventurous company – with their superlative acting, creative directing, and lovely design – can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear of a musical. The story is powerful enough to have spawned numerous interpretations, including dance and film: 11-year-old Mary Lennox (Sarah Pierce) is orphaned in India and sent to Yorkshire to live with her uncle Archibald Craven (Paul Kehler), a hunchbacked man incapable of overcoming his decade-long grief over the death of his wife, Lily (Laura M. Burnett’s book centers around Mary and her relationships to Colin, a young chambermaid named Martha (Kellie Spill), and Martha’s brother Dickon (Kyle Cooper), who is some kind of groundskeeper druid that may or may not be able to talk to robins.
Once Mary finds the entrance to the secret garden, she puts her key in the door and walks in (she was led to the key by Dickon’s robin); this ends Act I. Decaying Gardens mean Unresolved Emotions, Magical Robin means Positive Outlook, Spirit-disturbing Dreams means Not Letting Go of The Past: maybe this should have been called Metaphor, The Musical! What makes this particular production feel treacle-free is the all-around superlative performances. This is Chloe Makiol’s second time venturing into The Secret Garden, however this time in the lead role of Mary Lennox.


Per eseguire una ricerca è necessario specificare un termine, un genere, un editore oppure un codice Ean. Based on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s beloved 1911 novel, this musical oddity pairs the uneven music of first time Broadway composer Lucy Simon (Carly’s sister) with undistinguished lyrics by Pulitzer Prize-winner Marsha Norman (‘Night, Mother), whose poorly constructed libretto is at least seasoned with some wonderful dialogue, which gives some justification to her Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical. Hathaway), who haunts the large manor house, along with other ghosts of Mary and Archibald’s past.
By adding more emphasis on the adults, Norman spends more time on back story – her exposition is so convoluted, however, that one may get confused and frustrated.
We surmise that the tale will really pick up when we find what is inside, but at the top of Act II we find that the garden is not full of secrets, bones, or mystery…just weeds. The Chance production is more than honorable and is most suitable for families with children (who will certainly be enchanted by Mary and Dickon’s effect on Colin). Chloe has attended Redlands College from prep to grade nine, and is extremely proud to be in her third College production.
Some are barely worthy of attention, yet they are revived far more often than they should be. Mary discovers that she has a cousin, Colin (Dillon Klena), who has been bedridden for fear that he will turn out like his hunchback father.


The opening number introduces characters, including a Fakir, a Major, and an Ayah (whatever the heck that is), who speak with Mary, but then inhabit the manor as spirits.
Pierce is a redoubtable triple-threat as Mary – not only is she a great singer and dancer, but that girl has some astoundingly natural acting chops.
The huge wave of love emanating from the cast at the end may even bring a tear to your eye. The design team creates some beautiful scenes of light and shadow, but that score, which vacillates between pop ballads and derivative Sherman Brothers good-time simplicity, is so bereft of suspense that I doubt Hitchcock himself could have made the proceedings any spookier.  This production has some gorgeous trappings, but the spirits don’t seem spine-chilling, and there is a void of tension and threat (maybe the ghosts – called “Dreamers” in the script – are too busy moving set pieces for us to take them seriously as apparitions).
It certainly doesn’t help when those poor actors are assigned different lyrics at the same time. With five years of private vocal lessons at the College she’s accomplished first place medals in the Redlands Eisteddfod, performed in amateur theatre groups, placed winner of the junior age division at Redfest, performed at Cleveland and Wellington point Christmas carols, performed the national anthem at a citizenship ceremony, and much more. Despite only being fourteen, Chloe has found her true passion in life, which is Musical Theatre, and she hopes to pursue it in her future, honoring and glorifying God through her talent and abilities.



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