Heartwood presents ‘The Secret Garden’

Posted:  Wednesday, July 11, 2018 - 3:00pm
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Heartwood Theater has assembled an exceptional cast and crew, to present the Broadway musical, “The Secret Garden,” running July 20-28 in the Poe Theater at Lincoln Academy.  Based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, this ensemble musical is rich with visions, dreams, memories and gorgeous music to summon up English gardens, dark manors ... and HOPE.  Suitable for family audiences. (For a brief plot synopsis, visit heartwootheater.org.)
 
The cast - a dynamic mix of professional, visiting performers with several top notch "local" (Topsham to Vassalboro to Boothbay) and even a few of the area's talented students - is under the professional direction of Vocal Director Beth Preston, Sean Fleming as Accompanist, and Artistic Director Griff Braley.  
 
Braley and Preston have directed musicals together for many years and actually produced “The Secret Garden” together in 2002 at the Chocolate Church in Bath. Waiting for the just the right time to come again, they have often considered a second run.  
 
Preston's views on the music and the experience:  "Lucy Simon's Tony Award winning score flows in a way that seems 'opera-like' using themes and leitmotifs that create emotional arcs for the characters and the forward movement of the plot. It has wonderfully light moments, but because the plot is more brooding than the children's book, the music has a churning quality that propels it forward. The music requires a range of voice types to meet the vocal challenges, and this wonderful combination of professionals and amateurs is up to the task. The singers feel the support and have great trust in our accompanist, the incomparable Sean Fleming. It's been a real joy to work on this play with Griff, as we've circled back around to revisit one of the first musicals we worked on together."  
 
Fleming, well known in the area as accompanist-extraordinaire, notes, "I am happy to be playing The Secret Garden again, with an excellent director, cast, and crew. This magical musical is always a delight for young and old, and it features excellent songs such as 'Quartet,' 'Wick,' and the ever-popular 'Lily's Eyes.' Preparing any musical is a long process, but we are well on our way to an excellent show."
 
The technical production team, having worked together on numerous Heartwood productions, is by now a well-oiled machine, with Tech Director Letitia Munson, Ryan Kohnert and Emily Harris tech interns, Mary Boothby set painting, and costuming by Heidi Kopishke and Rosemary Campbell. 
  
Six evening performances and one matinee are scheduled.  Evening performances begin at 7:30 on July 20 and 21, 25-28, with a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday, July 22.  Tickets are already on sale and going quickly.  Reservations by emailing info@heartwoodtheater.org or phoning 563-1373.  Student tickets are $5, subsidized by donations from First Advisors and Colby & Gale; all adult tickets are $30.  Musical sellouts are common in the Poe Theater; early reservations strongly encouraged.