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Photos: THE SECRET GARDEN At The Barn Players

By Stephen Nichols

For Moshe Clyma and Ryan Emmons, having major roles in The Barn Theater's production of The Secret Garden might seem overwhelming.

But even though they're only 12 and 10 respectively, they've already had some practice.
Clyma and Emmons played the same roles in a one-act play version of the show at their school in Blue Springs. The transition to The Barn hasn't been too difficult. At rehearsal, they are both relaxed and ready to go as they stand amongst the older, more experienced actors.
"The play version is almost the same, except it has a few different story changes," Emmons said. "I think I like the musical best because it has all the cool music."

The show itself follows an English girl named Mary Lennox, who is forced to move from India to England after an outbreak of cholera leaves her orphaned. There, she lives with her uncle and crippled cousin, Colin, as she explores and cultivates a garden. The show is based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Director, Barb Nichols, has previous experience at The Barn, having directed Urinetown, Bat Boy: The Musical, and A New Brain; however, she has found that the scenic design for The Secret Garden is much more complex requiring two main sets: inside the English Manor and the Garden.
"This show has a much more representational set than I have used in the past," Nichols said. "It does help the story particularly in the garden scenes where the audience must see that the garden is neglected and at the end when it comes back to life."

Not only will the set be a much bigger venture, but the cast and orchestra, with musical direction by Martha Risser, are both larger as well. There are 24 actors and an 11-piece orchestra that will be playing from backstage.
"We have a large cast and so, we are filling the stage with great characters and great voices," Nichols said.

And with most of the cast being older than Clyma and Emmoms, both have had a chance to learn a thing or two.

"It's been really fun and I've also learned a lot because they've been on stage so many times," Emmons said.

Overall, Nichols is excited to get performances underway. She's excited about the fog & lighting effects to utilize the ghosts. She's excited about the end of the first act where the cast makes a human maze in the garden. But most importantly, she's excited about the cast finally performing the finished product.

"This cast has been a dream to work with, they are supremely talented, focused, hard working and fun," Nichols said.

THE SECRET GARDEN (Music by Lucy Simon, Lyrics and Book by Marsha Norman performs August 28 - 30, September 4 - 6 & September 11 - 13 (Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2:00pm) at The Barn Players, 6219 Martway in Mission, KS, on The Margaret Godfrey Stage. Tickets are available by calling 913-432-9100.

TICKET INFORMATION: Adults - $15, Seniors (65 & over) - $12, Students (with a student ID) - $7, Groups (of 10 or more) - $10. Visit The Barn Players website at or Contact Eric Magnus, Artistic Director, The Barn Players at

Photos: THE SECRET GARDEN At The Barn Players
Mosha Clyma, Julie O'Rourke and Kevin Bogan

Photos: THE SECRET GARDEN At The Barn Players
Austin Stang, Mosha Clyma, and Laura Roose

Photos: THE SECRET GARDEN At The Barn Players
Ken Koval, Mosha Clyma and Erica Baruth

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