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THE SECRET GARDEN  November 15-17, 2001

  Book & Lyrics MARSHA NORMAN
  Music by LUCY SIMON Based on the Novel by
  FRANCES HODGSON BURNETT

 
  -Synopsis
-
Press Release
-Musical Numbers and Scenes
 

Synopsis

1911, India, or Inja as the British would say. Mary Lennox, British as they come, dreams of nursery rhymes and Indian chants (Opening), and awakes to find her parents have died of cholera. She is found and returned to the England she has never known, not knowing if she is awake or still dreaming (There's a Girl). 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 is met in Yorkshire by Mrs. Medlock, housekeeper to her Uncle Archibald. They take the train to The House Upon the Hill, which has "something wrong inside it;" Archibald is a hunchback who has been inconsolable since his wife Lily's death. Mary is to live with Archibald, her next closest relative.

   No one can sleep Mary's first night there (I Heard Someone Crying); the old house is noisy and memories are louder still, and Mary and Archibald both think they hear their lost loved ones. Next morning, Mary meets the first friendly person she's found in Yorkshire, Martha the chambermaid. Martha 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 A Girl In the Valley who planted a garden on his land and in his heart.

   Mary finally meets Archibald; they are at best polite to each other, clearly uncomfortable. Mary returns to the garden, laid out in Victorian style as a topiary maze, as do gardener Ben and neighbor boy Dickon, each with his own agenda (It's a Maze); Mary discovers that there really is a secret garden, hidden since Lily's death because 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 the animals, and teaches Mary to speak Yorkshire to a bird (Show Me the Key). The bird with Dickon's help does lead Mary to the key to the garden; but where's the door?

   Mary's only request of Archibald is for A Bit of Earth to plant a garden of her own; it's the one request he can't grant, as she reminds him more and more of his Lily. As the Yorkshire gloom turns to rain (Storm I), we meet Archibald's brother and physician Neville. He and Archibald both notice that Mary has Lily's Eyes, and we learn that Neville loved Lily as well, and still carries his jealosy for the girl "who loved my brother, never me."

   As the rain continues, Mary again thinks she hears someone crying (Storm II), but this time she finds him: her cousin Colin, confined to bed as a cripple since his birth, during which his mother Lily died. (NOTE: I know how depressing all this sounds, but the book and the music manage to keep a light touch. Really.) Colin dreams so he thinks 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." The storm reaches its peak and Mary, half dreaming again, ventures out and finds the garden! (Final Storm)

   Act II begins with Mary's reverie about The Girl I Mean to Be, with "a place I can go when I am lost." But can the garden be that place? Like her uncle, it is 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).

   Giving in to his brother's urgings and his own fears, Archibald leaves for the Continent, pausing only to read his son one last fairy tale (Race You To the Top of the Morning). Mary remains interested in the garden, and asks Dickon for help. Dickon explains that it is probably just dormant, or WICK, and that "somewhere there's a single streak of green inside it." They even 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 or is it Dickon's magic and an Indian invocation? (Come Spirit, Come Charm). The dreamers sing the praises of the renewed garden (A Bit of Earth (Reprise)).

   But all is not well. Mary has to throw a tantrum to prevent being sent to boarding school, as Martha tells her she must Hold On: "It's this day, not you/ That's bound to go away." Mary writes a plain letter full of feeling to Archibald (Letter Song) urging him to come home. At first he can't (Where In the World), but Lily's ghost convinces him to return (How Could I Ever Know).

   He finds Colin well and walking, despite all of Neville's warnings. Archibald, a changed man, accepts Mary as his own, and the dreamers invite all to "stay here in the garden" (Finale).

 

Press Release

 RCP’s SECRET will be performed on November 15 through the 17th

The Tony Award-winning musical The Secret Garden will be presented by the Royal Crown Players on November 15th  through the 17th at Roslyn High School.. The musical is based on the classic children's novel by the English-born American writer Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924), the author of more than 40 plays and novels. Because of the play's special appeal to children and families, The Secret Garden will be presented in matinee performances on Thursday, November 15th  at 3:30 pm and Saturday, November 17th at 2:00 PM.

Set in the late-1800s, The Secret Garden begins when newly orphaned Mary Lennox (Julia Arazi) arrives at her uncle's isolated estate in a remote region of England. Mourning the death of his wife Lily (Morgan Kauffman) several years before, Archibald Craven (David Beck), the uncle, leads a reclusive and itinerant life. Ignored and ill-treated by Archibald’s brother, Dr. Craven (Michael Rosenblum),  Mary is encouraged by her chambermaid Martha (Rebecca Levy) to find refuge outdoors in the mansion’s gardens where she meets the cantankerous head gardener (Chris Repole).  Taking her  advise, Mary finds her late Aunt Lily's garden, which has remained secret and locked since her death. Together with her new friend Dickon (Jonathan Yehuda) and her sickly cousin Colin (Dana Kroplick), Mary restores the secret garden to its former beauty, creating a sanctuary from the otherwise bleak estate. In the process of  transforming the garden, she transforms her new family and those around them. 

Misselthwaite’s housekeeper Mrs. Medlock is played by Brie Schwartz.  Other  inhabitants of the manor are Robin Zelman, ( Jane), Alaina Stamatis (Betsy), Justin Ruchefsky (Photographer), and Marisa Korobow as Mrs. Winthrop.  Brian Lestz is Archie’s butler in Paris.

Mary’s life in India is portrayed by Peter Merelis as her father,  Albert, Vanessa Arcara as her mother, Rose, and Amanda Sales as the Fakir. Other characters from India are Melissa Shapiro (Alice),  Christina Combs (Claire), Monique Yashaya (Aya),  Nicole Nussbaum (Mrs. Shelley), Jonathan Zacherman (Lt. Wright), Michael Taub (Lt. Shaw), Jared Chester (Major Holmes), and Brian Rosenblum as Major Shelley.  The other Dreamers from India are Brooke Novick, Josh Weinstein , Emily Niesenbaum, Lisa Goldberg, Andrew Werner, Eric Niederman, David Burros, and Garri Aronson.

The musical is directed by RCP advisor, Brad Frey.   The producer and costume designer is Lynne Arcara and Broadway veteran Bill Yoscary heads the stagecraft crew. Jennifer Buonomo is the choreographer.  The stage manager is Jillian Pugatch. The business manager is Allison Pinchasick, assisted by Zach Galin.  The sound chief is Zack Unger and box office chief is Himanshu Sood.

The Secret Garden will be performed on Thursday, November 15th at 3:30 PM; Friday, November 16th at 7:30 PM; and Saturday, November 17th, at  2:00 and 7:30 PM.  All performances take place in the Roslyn High School Auditorium. To reserve tickets, call the RCP Box Office at 625-6362.  Visit our web site at http://rcp.roslynschools.org for further show information.  Ticket prices are $9 adults and $6 students.  For the Thursday matinee, tickets are $8 adults, $5 students, and Senior Citizens are admitted free.

 

Musical Numbers and Scenes

Act I

Opening:

"Opening Dream".............................................................Lily, Fakir, Mary & Company
"There's a Girl"...........................................................................................Company
                 The Library at Misselthwaite Manor
                 A Train Platform in Yorkshire
                 The Door to Misselthwaite Manor
"The House Upon the Hill"............................................................................Company
                 Mary's Room
                 The Gallery
"I Heard Someone Crying"..........................................Mary, Archibald, Lily & Company

Scene 1:  Mary's Sitting Room
"A Fine White Horse".....................................................................................Martha

Scene 2:  The Ballroom
"A Girl in the Valley".............................................................Lily, Archibald, Dreamers

Scene 3:  In the Maze/The Greenhouse
"It's a Maze"................................................................................Ben, Mary & Dickon
                 The Edge of the Moor
"Winter's on the Wing"....................................................................................Dickon
"Show Me the Key"..............................................................................Mary & Dickon

Scene 4:  Archibald's Library
"A Bit of Earth"...........................................................................................Archibald

Scene 5:  The Gallery
"Storm I"...................................................................................................Company
"Lily's Eyes"..................................................................................Archibald & Neville

Scene 6:  The Hallway
"Storm II".......................................................................................Mary & Company

Scene 7:  Colin's Room
"Round-Shouldered Man"...................................................................................Colin

Scene 8:  On the Grounds/The Door to the Garden
"Final Storm"..............................................................................................Company

Act II

Scene 1:  The Tea Party Dream/The Other Side of the Door
"The Girl I Mean to Be"......................................................................................Mary

Scene 2: Archibald's Library
"Quartet"......................................................................Archibald, Neville, Rose & Lily

Scene 3:  Colin's Room
"Race You to the Top of the Morning"...........................................................Archibald

Scene 4:  The Greenhouse
"Wick"................................................................................................Dickon & Mary

Scene 5:  Colin's Room
"Come to My Garden"...............................................................................Lily & Colin

Scene 6:  In the Maze/The Garden
"Come Spirit Come Charm"........................................................Mary, Martha, Dickon,
                                                                                      Fakir, Ayah, Lily & Company
"A Bit of Earth" (reprise).................................................................Albert, Rose & Lily

Scene 7:  The Library
"Disappear"....................................................................................................Neville

Scene 8:  Mary's Room/Paris
"Hold On"......................................................................................................Martha
"Letter Song".....................................................................................Mary & Martha

Scene 9:  Archibald's Room in Paris
"Where in the World"..................................................................................Archibald
"How Could I Ever Know"....................................................................Lily & Archibald

Scene 8:  The Garden
Finale........................................................................................................Company