Telling a basic story by writer Frances Hodgson Burnett that’s over a century previous, Theatre Harrisburg’s “The Secret Backyard” brings the musical model alive, although the vast majority of the characters are, shall we embrace, not alive.
Whether or not you might have already seen the award-winning present on Broadway or any of the 9 film or tv collection diversifications, it’s value re-visiting the story to see Theatre Harrisburg’s emotive interpretation. With lyrics by Marsha Norman and music by Lucy Simon, the evocative operatic rating drives units the somber temper completely for all that’s eerie about post-Victorian England.
Set in 1906, we meet Mary Lennox (Charlotte Caples) on the worst day of her younger life. Upon awakening from her overindulged life in India, she learns that everybody in her home died from cholera. She is then whisked 6,000 miles away to reside together with her widowed, reclusive Uncle Archibald Craven (Andrew Vinton) in gothic Misselthwaite Manor.
As a result of the quantity of grief within the dwelling weighs as heavy because the fog on the close by moors, the home and its inhabitants are haunted by spirits, or “The Dreamers” (Tony Barber, Rebecca Cole, Andrea Crawford, Francis Dy, TJ Fausnight, Wendy J. Faust, Jason Genise-Gdula, Aubrey Krepps, Darren Riddle). With solely servants for firm, Mary doesn’t have her uncle’s affections, and he or she is forbidden from getting into the backyard. This makes it the number-one place for her to interrupt into. The number-two place is a hidden room the place she discovers a secret resident.
The grim setting of Misselthwaite Manor turns into a personality in its personal proper, establishing its gravity and thriller with its flickering amber lighting and shadowy, monochromatic colours. The occasional lightning bolts and howling winds additional guard the home towards younger Mary bonding with it or feeling nurtured by it. The spring backyard, additionally tinged with disappointment, stands locked and overgrown. The setting juxtaposes nicely towards the marginally brighter melancholic recollections that sometimes floor, like a waltz within the backyard with a misplaced love.
Music Director Mitchell Sensenig brings out the very best within the gifted forged, who appear to effortlessly discover their very own voices in one another’s harmonic ranges. The singers carry out with sensible ardour, all including to the haunting melodies they create. With wealthy songs resonating from the depths of sorrow, every vocalist hits echoing notes of loneliness that prickle on the pores and skin.
My favourite duet duos: powerhouse tenors Andrew Vinton and Sean Meara and penetrating mezzo-sopranos Beth Darowish and Aubrey Krepps. And when each duos be a part of forces for “Quartet,” their voices seamlessly reverberate collectively for an aria so lovely that musical notes are left hanging within the air together with the fog.
“The Secret Backyard” is Director Winnona Piazza’s first manufacturing with Theatre Harrisburg. With this musical, she guarantees audiences a story that “finally breaks via to the sunshine and true magic.” It feels symbolic of the world’s long-awaited re-awakening after a distinct form of plague. It’s a message addressing “ache and loss, and shows how one can discover grace and hope sooner or later.”
“The Secret Backyard” musical runs Feb. 11 to 27 at Whitaker Middle, 222 Market St., Harrisburg. For extra info on present occasions and tickets, plus up-to-date COVID-19 protocols, go to www.theatreharrisburg.com/2021-2022-shows/the-secret-garden.
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