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Review: Come and Enter THE SECRET GARDEN at Broadway At Music Circus

Review: Come and Enter THE SECRET GARDEN at Broadway At Music Circus

Unlocked through August 14 only

Broadway at Music Circus is taking us back to England again, not to a shoe factory or The Globe Theatre, but to a gloomy moor in Yorkshire. Based upon the 1911 Frances Hodgson Burnett novel of the same name, The Secret Garden premiered on Broadway in 1991 and earned three Tony Awards, including Best Book of a Musical.

Although the book by Marsha Norman (The Color Purple, The Bridges of Madison County) differs slightly from the original novel, the story still centers on Mary Lennox, a spoiled 10-year-old who has been recently orphaned in India. She is sent to England to live with her only remaining relative, her reclusive uncle Archibald Craven. While exploring the vast and lonely property, Mary discovers her ailing cousin, Colin, who has been shut up in his room under the guise of keeping him healthy. She also finds the key to a secret garden that her uncle has forbidden anyone to enter, blaming it for his wife Lily's death. With the help of her chambermaid Martha, Martha's brother Dickon, and a slew of watchful ghosts, Mary receives renewed hope and a healthy, healing dose of magic.

Leading the cast are two young up-and-coming stars. Ellie Biron as Mary Lennox possesses a maturity beyond her years and exudes an innate understanding of the more adult themes of the show. Her desire for soil to bring to life coincides timely with her own transformation from thorny branch to blooming bud. Kai Edgar's sickly Colin is a believably frightened and sour young boy who is loath for adventure or any kind of fun until his spectral mother convinces him to venture out into her garden ("Come to my Garden"). Lily is played by Kanisha Marie Feliciano, who is a current Broadway Phantom of the Opera cast member and Christine Daae understudy. Her haunting soprano makes her indefatigable spirit unforgettable in the romantic numbers, "A Girl in the Valley" and "How Could I Ever Know." Such a special woman attracts the attention of multiple men, including the secret admiration of her husband's brother, Dr. Neville Craven. Neville is played by vocal powerhouse Ben Roseberry, who waffles between being his family's humble servant and a conniving, jealous spare to the heir. He first reveals his feelings for her, posthumously, in the powerful duet with his brother Archibald, "Lily's Eyes." Archibald Craven is played by Broadway star Max von Essen, who was last in Sacramento in the national tour of Falsettos. His performance is that of a true talent...embodying his character, a lost and grief-stricken widowed father, coupled with vocals heart-wrenchingly steeped in anguish. You can particularly feel the pain of his internal battle in "A Little Bit of Earth."

Archibald's song about the death and reawakening of the garden can also be applied to The Secret Garden as a whole. It's a timeless tale of rebirth and the inextinguishable power of the human spirit. Out of despair comes hope and, with a little bit of love and care, we can all flourish.

The Secret Garden plays at Broadway at Music Circus through August 14. For tickets and more information, please call (916) 557-1999, visit the box office at 1419 H Street, or go online at BroadwaySacramento.com.

Photo credit: Kevin Graft

Regional Awards


From This Author - Courtney Symes

Courtney Symes is a long-time theatre aficionado who has been writing for BroadwayWorld since 2017. She has been active in theatre and youth organizations in her community. After trying law sc... (read more about this author)


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