The Secret Garden


Emilie Bowman, Editor-in-Chief

The Secret Garden hit the Alan B. Shepard stage November 8, 9, and 10, with a matinee performance on Saturday.    Based on the 1911 novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, the musical premiered on Broadway for 709 shows in 1991.

The musical starts with young Mary Lennox, played by sophomore Avalyn Krastin, waking up to discover that her parents were killed by a cholera outbreak. Now an orphan, Lennox is sent from India, where she lives now, back to England, to live with her estranged uncle, Archibald Craven, played by senior Alan Krolikowski.

Almost immediately upon arriving, Mary senses something unsettling about her uncle’s large home. Ghosts of both Lennox and Craven’s past, Mary’s parents and Craven’s late wife, Lily, played by senior Kaitlyn Shelton, roam the halls of the mansion. 

The performance uses flashbacks to show how the characters got where they are today, showing Lily and her sister Rose Lennox, Mary’s mother, played by junior Judi Levine, first meeting Archibald at his large mansion.

Shelton and Krolikowski share a beautiful duet of “A Girl in the Valley” while the ghosts dance around the large ballroom. Archibald continues to mourn the loss of his wife while they dance together along with Rose and Captain Albert Lennox, played by senior Lemuel Talosig.

Mary explores the estates grounds, finding a large garden that, according to groundskeeper Ben Weatherstaff, played by senior Anderson Kitzmiller, belonged to Lily. Weatherstaff warns the girl to stay away from the garden whose key has been lost since the death of Lily.

While near the garden, Mary hears a robin singing to her from inside the mysterious garden whose door cannot be found. Another helper of the estate Dickon, played by senior Lucas Lowry, sings a beautiful rendition of “Show Me the Key” to both Lennox and the bird, prompting the robin to reveal the key, but not the door, to Mary.

After leaving the garden, Mary has her first formal meeting with her uncle Archibald and asks the man if she can stay at the mansion and plant her own garden instead of being sent off to school. At this point, Archibald and his brother Neville Craven, played by senior Ryan Wyrobek, notice a striking resemblance between Mary and the late Lily.

The brothers sing a duet, “Lily’s Eyes,” revealing that Neville was secretly in love with Lily but she only had eyes for Archibald since the moment they met.

During a storm one night, Mary goes exploring the mansion when she hears someone crying, discovering her cousin Colin, played by sophomore Trinity Zak. Colin has been condemned to his room by his father after the death of his mother Lily. Archibald fears that his son will become a hunchback just like he is.

The two children form a bond as Zak sings “A Round-Shouldered Man” until Archibald and housekeeper Mrs. Medlock, played by junior Emily Correll, burst into the room, forcing Mary out and banning her from visiting her cousin again.

This prompts Mary to run outside and finally find the doors to the secret garden, right before the end of Act I.

After a brief intermission featuring a Split-the-Pot raffle, the actors retake the stage with Mary singing “The Girl I Mean to Be,” calling the secret garden a place to go when she’s lost.

In the second scene of Act II, Archibald tells his brother Neville about a dream he had of Lily and Mary in the garden together. Neville then tries to convince his sibling to go to the mainland of Europe and leave the estate to him which he does only after singing “Race You to the Top of the Morning” to his son Colin.

Mary then asks Dickon to help with the restoration of the garden and also informs her cousin about the garden, trying to convince him to come explore with her. At first Colin is hesitant about going outdoors but is convinced by a vision of his mother while singing “Come to My Garden/Lift Me Up.”

Mary Dickon, and chambermaid Martha, played by senior Elizabeth Jeeninga, bring Colin to the garden, where the fresh air begins to heal him, prompting the song “Come Spirit, Come Charm.”

Once Mary is back in the house, she and Neville have an argument about whether or not Mary should be sent away to boarding school, forcing the young girl to write to her uncle forcing him to come home during “Letter Song.”

Archibald has reservations about going back to the estate but is convinced by his late wife Lily. The two sing a beautiful duet of “How Could I Ever Know.” Upon returning to his home, Archibald finds his son Colin completely healthy in the garden, playing with Mary whom he decides to take in as his own.

During the finale, Lily, Rose, and Albert all sing, vowing to watch over the new family until they can all be reunited once again.

With the curtain closed at this point, the entire cast came out to take a bow, accompanied by choir director Michael Fallon, pit orchestra director and Christopher Pitlik whose students played throughout the musical.

Fallon then thanked his cast, crew, Pitlik, the Pit, and all of the parents who were involved in the production of the musical. After an emotion-filled speech thanking everyone for their help and dedication during his last musical here at Shepard, Fallon, the cast, and the crew exited the stage one final time.