This is a review of The Musical Secret Garden produceby The TorchLight Musical Theatre In Chicago, Illinois
This is a review of The Secret Garden produced by Chicago's Torchlight Musical Theatre.
Sorry about all the spacing between the review.
A Musical Must See
Produced by Porchlight Music Theatre
At The Theatre Building Chicago
1225 W. Belmont Avenue
Call 773-327-5252, tickets $30
Fridays & Saturdays at 7:45 PM
Sundays at 3 PM
Saturday matinees begin May 6 at 3 PM
Running time is 2 hours, 25 min with intermission
Through May 28, 2006
The Secret Garden blossoms with rich vocals
Porchlight Music Theatre has assembled another gem of a musical with their marvelously sung The Secret Garden. This highly emotional and thoroughly haunting musical is a three hanky show. This splendid show equals Porchlight’s acclaimed Sweeney Todd and once more demonstrates Walter Stearns’ deft directing talent. He knows how to capture the atmosphere and essence of a large scale musical within the confines of a modest space and small budget. Often less is more and the intimate Theatre Building Chicago stage projects the warmth of the show directly into our hearts.
The Secret Garden is a beautiful show. With wonderful English folk style harmonies and an operetta tone, the atmosphere of gloom and sorrow is projected toward the mysterious powers of the garden of Yorkshire’s Misselthwaite Monor. With an intriguing storyline and compelling characters, The Secret Garden is a warm-hearted, colorful show whose tone ranges from sad and haunting to charming and uplifting.
Based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden tells the story of Mary Lennox (Mallory Baysek) a lonely little girl who is sent to live with her uncle Archibald (Michael Aaron Lindner) in Yorkshire after being orphaned by a cholera epidemic in India in 1906. Still grieving over the loss of his beloved wife Lily (Bethany Dawn Lindner) who died ten years earlier during childbirth and distraught over the condition of his bedridden son, Archibald casts a dark shadow over the manor until Mary Lennox discovers a secret garden that had once belonged to Lily. By nursing this garden back to life, Mary somehow restores life to her grieving uncle and his sick son Colin (Drew Mikusha)
These outstanding voices produced haunting melodies that gave the score an almost operatic quality totally overwhelms us. Featuring many outstanding singers, led by Michael Aaron Lindner who landed a powerful “A Bit of Earth,” Marsha Norman’s lyrics and terrific music by Lucy Simon is in excellent hands with this cast. The ensemble harmonies and stunning solos enriched Eugene Dizon’s orchestrations.
Luke Mills was charismatic and sparkled as Dickon. His rapport with Mallory Baysek’s Mary Lennox was magic. Baysek and Drew Mikusha, as Colin, were precocious as the two children. The two instantly win our hearts as pure innocence. Jim Sherman’s Ben, the gardener and Angela Ingersoll’s Matha the maid together with Nicholas Foster’s Neville added fine performances with each landing their numbers in clear voice.
Bethnany Dawn Lindner’s (Michael’s real life wife) golden voice sent chills with her haunting “Come to My Garden.” Her duet with Michael, “How Could I Ever Know” brought tears to our eyes. Luke Mills and Mallory Baysek’s stirring “Wick” and Angela Ingersoll’s “Hold On” were terrific showstoppers.
The Secret Garden is a mysteriously enchanting feel good musical that will leave you tear-eyed and fulfilled. The journey to unlock the secrets of the past through flashbacks, dream sequences with the aid of a strolling chorus of ghosts gave The Secret Garden an enchantment rich in atmosphere and emotional tones that ultimately shows us that we must let go of the past and enjoy the possibilities of life. Hope emerges supreme as Mary Lennox shows us the way. Take the family to see this masterpiece. This is a major show with downtown quality at storefront prices. Take the family to see this masterpiece. Porchlight’s show is one of the year’s best.
Not To Be Missed
"If you look the right way the whole world is a garden."
This performance will be available at the Theatre by the Lake starting on June 14 and run through Father's Day. Tickets are 18.50. Performances start at 7:30 PM except on Saturday and Sundays at 6:30PM.