THE SECRET GARDEN By Frances Hodgson Burnett
Adapted by Pamela Sterling, Scoring by Chris Limber
Directed by Peter Wiley
Greenspace Center, 815 Market St, Lewisburg
General admission seating, $15 Adults / $8 Youth
FIVE PERFORMANCES OVER TWO WEEKENDS!
Friday, February 11, 2022, 7:30pm
Saturday, February 12, 2022, 7:30pm
Friday, February 18, 2022, 7:30pm
Saturday, February 19, 2022, 7:30pm
Sunday, February 20, 2022, 2:30pm
Please Note: Due to COVID-19 precautions, seating will be socially distanced and audience masking will be required at all times inside the theatre, regardless of vaccination status.
THE SECRET GARDEN brings to life the story of a self-centered young orphan girl, Mary Lennox, sent to live with her distant uncle in Misselthwaite Manor on the moors of Yorkshire, England. Full of dark corners and strange night-time noises, Mary is certain there is more to Misselthwaite than meets the eye. With the help of a colorful cast of characters who live and work in the manor and its gardens, Mary embarks on an adventure to uncover the location of a secret garden and the source of mysterious cries that echo through the house at night. It has been hailed as a timeless story of rejuvenation and the magic of the natural, outdoor world. Since its first appearance in a children’s literary magazine in 1911, The Secret Garden has often been ranked among the best all-time children’s novels. This adaptation of the story by Pamela Sterling was the 1991 winner of the Distinguished New Play award from the American Alliance of Theater and Education and has been performed at theatres all over the U.S.
This production is directed by Peter Wiley, long-time director and part of the creative team who designed RiverStage’s most recent children’s adaptation, Anne of Green Gables, in 2019. “The Secret Garden,” says Wiley, “is a wonderful little gem of a story about these characters, several of them children, who have gone through quite a lot of personal trauma and how together, they rediscover their path to happiness. The children bond over the quest to discover this garden itself, but then their happiness really comes through reconnecting with nature—with the plants and animals in the outside world—and with each other. The journey changes their lives for the better.” Jove Graham, president of the board of RiverStage, adds, “Here in the real world, we are all still kind of living under our own traumatic cloud of the past two years (and counting), but this is the kind of story that boosts the spirit and gives us hope that there is a brighter future waiting for us. This adaptation is not the big Broadway musical version, but a quieter reflection on that wonderful story, and this production team uses all the tricks of live theatre to bring the characters, the mansion, and the gardens to life in an enchanting way. It will really be a treat to see on stage.” Because of the reduced seating capacity, RiverStage is also planning to offer a livestreaming broadcast option for this show, the details of which will be announced on their website in the coming weeks.
The cast features nine talented actors from throughout the Susquehanna Valley, ranging in age from pre-teen to adults, who have starred in many local productions at RiverStage, Gaspipe, Community Theatre League, and Valley Players, among others. The cast is led by Ketaki Hutchinson playing Mary Lennox, and her young companions Dickon and Colin are played by Caleb Rosinski and Orissa Reed, respectively. The other inhabitants of Misselthwaite Manor include the maid Martha Sowerby (Sarah Bell), housekeeper Mrs. Medlock (Joanne Lauer), gardener Bea Weatherstaff (Elaine Pfeil), master of the house Archibald Craven (Peter Zerbe) and his brother, Dr. Craven (Andrew Confair). The final member of the ensemble is the enchanting Robin who helps guide Mary on her journey, who will be brought to life through puppetry and movement by classically-trained dancer Ralph Sayers. The set is designed by Dennis Merkle and director Wiley, with lights by Stefan Eisenhower, costumes by Maggie Able and stage management by Heather Swartz.