note: entire contents copyright 2007 by Beverly Creasey
THE SECRET GARDEN is the sweet Lucy Simon/Marsha Norman musical based on the Frances Hodgson Burnett story about an orphaned colonial girl sent to live with her widowed uncle in England. The children in Burnett’s novels, although temporarily in peril, end up transforming adult lives by dint of their inherent goodness and innocence. THE SECRET GARDEN (at Turtle Lane through June 3) is no exception. Little Mary Lennox must touch the heart of her despairing uncle and cure his dying son, a tall order for a pint-sized ten year old. There are only a few musicals which rest on such small shoulders, but lucky Turtle Lane has Hannah Grace Forsley as Mary Lennox and Benjamin Hirsh as her sickly cousin. These two children could act rings around any adult---and they sing gorgeously, and on key! They carry the entire weight of the show and make it look effortless.
Director Michelle Aguillon (and music director Wayne Ward) can take credit for some fine adult performances in the show, as well. Gary Ryan, who isn’t a child, makes you believe he is, as the nature boy who can converse with animals. Jim Fitzpatrick is the brooding uncle and Michael Goodwin is his slightly sinister brother: Their duet, “Lily’s Eyes” is one of the highlights. Michelle Mount is the spirited maid who encourages Mary to “grow.” Tracy Nygard is Mary’s benevolent guardian and James Tallach is the curmudgeonly gardener, not to mention all the musical ghosts, but it is the children in SECRET GARDEN who make this production bloom.
NOTE: The show is double cast so you may see different actors in the roles.