Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

`The Secret Garden' Proves Spellbinding

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

`The Secret Garden' Proves Spellbinding

Article excerpt

"The Secret Garden," a Broadway hit in 1993, opened Tuesday night for a two-week run at Lyric Theatre. A first-time show at Lyric, the musical is based on a novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Lucy Simon did the music, and Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Marsha Norman provided the lyrics and libretto.

Never having seen this play before, it was an exciting evening. However, how anyone could have thought this garden was a secret, the way the cast screamed and shouted at each other, is beyond me. Expecting a warm, loving story, I was instead watching cholera, death, ghosts, loneliness, hostility, jealousy and a couple of recalcitrant youngsters.

To be sure, in the final minutes of the play, the gate to the secret garden was opened and everything was magical, where _ as the press release describes it _ "lost loves are found, lost lives are saved, spring comes again and beauty reigns."

Truly, "The Secret Garden" is a spellbinding musical with an excellent cast. Scott Gordon and Erick Devine sang some excellent duets (although Scott faltered a bit in one song). How lucky we are to have two such excellent actorsingers right here in Oklahoma City. They played the roles of brothers (Scott with a hump in his back) who are uncles of an orphaned young girl, Mary, who comes to live with them.

Both brothers are in love with the same woman (the deceased Lily, who only appears as a ghost, portrayed by Mary Jo Todaro). The little girl, daughter of Lily's sister _ also deceased _ looks like her aunt. Because of this, Archibald Craven, played by Scott, cannot bear to be around her.

His brother, Neville, Erick Devine's role, reacts to his grief by being a fussy, fault-finding physician. As physician, he tends to young Colin Craven, son of Lily and Archibald, who has been bedridden since birth, at which time his mother died. John David Crowley takes the role of Colin.

Mary Lennox, the key role in the play, was taken by Amanda Earhart, whom many of us remember for her participation in the "Broadway Comes to the Heartland" benefit sponsored in May by Lyric Theatre. Comparing notes at intermission, most of us agreed we could not understand much of what she said or sang. …

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