Daisy Eagan-Led THE SECRET GARDEN to Bloom at 5th Avenue Theatre After D.C. Run

Daisy Eagan-Led THE SECRET GARDEN to Bloom at 5th Avenue Theatre After D.C. Run

The 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle and Washington D.C.'s Shakespeare Theatre Company have announced a phenomenal cast of international renown for their co-production of the haunting musical, The Secret Garden.

Over 25 years after her Broadway debut in the critically acclaimed show that cemented her place in Tony history as the youngest female recipient of the award for Best Actress, Daisy Eagan returns to the garden, now in the role of Martha. She is joined by Olivier Award-nominee Michael Xavier in his American debut, Tony nominee Josh Young and Broadway's Lizzie Klemperer. The 5th Avenue's David Armstrong directs.

The Secret Garden was created by Grammy Award-winning composer Lucy Simon and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright MarSha Norman. The show's lush, melodic score and moving story of love, loss and renewal earned the 1991 Tony Award for Best Musical and won the hearts of its audiences. After 25 years, Simon and Norman are returning to their much-beloved musical to refine it for contemporary audiences.

Following a production at Shakespeare Theatre Company this holiday season (November 15-December 31 in Washington, D.C.), The Secret Garden plays April 14-May 6 (press opening Thursday, April 20) at The 5th Avenue Theatre (1308 5th Avenue, Seattle). Tickets start at $36 and may be purchased at www.5thavenue.org, by phone at 206-625-1900, or at the Box Office at 1308 5th Avenue, in downtown Seattle.

"I believe the themes of regeneration and renewal, along with the underlying darkness of this version of the story, will strike a chord with contemporary audiences," said 5th Avenue Theatre Executive Producer and Artistic Director David Armstrong. "This musical adaptation tells the story of how all of the major characters eventually discover that place-their personal secret garden-where they can find joy, peace and contentment, both literally and figuratively."

"I'm delighted that we're working with The 5th Avenue Theatre to bring this touching tale of a child's heartbreak and healing. Lucy Simon and MarSha Norman transformed a charming children's novel into a complex and dramatic musical that captivates audiences, and I am excited to share it with a new generation of families and theatregoers," said Michael Kahn, Artistic Director at Shakespeare Theatre Company.

Based on the beloved children's novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden tells the story of 10-year-old Mary Lennox. Mary is orphaned in the British Raj of India and sent to England to live with her reclusive uncle, Archibald Craven, who is tormented by grief and dreams of his late wife. Alone in a house haunted by memories and loss, Mary seeks refuge in her late aunt's mysterious walled garden. After she meets her frail cousin Colin, they discover together the secrets of the garden and ultimately bring healing and happiness to the house and all in it.

Following lead roles on stage in the United Kingdom for almost 15 years, Michael Xavier (Archibald Craven) will make his U.S. debut in The Secret Garden. He has received Olivier nominations for his performances in Into The Woods at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre and Love Story at The Duchess Theatre. Other notable credits include Assassins, The Pajama Game, Show Boat and The Sound of Music. Most recently, he played Joe Gillis in the critically acclaimed Sunset Boulevard opposite Glenn Close at the London Coliseum. Josh Young (Dr. Neville Craven) played the role of Judas in the Broadway revival of Jesus Christ Superstar, for which he was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. He has performed in several shows in the Stratford Festival and for his role as Che in Evita, he won the Broadway World Toronto Award for Best Actor in a Musical. Lizzie Klemperer (Lily) joins the cast of The Secret Garden following her role in the hit Broadway musical, Bright Star. On the New York stage she most recently appeared in A Christmas Story and The Most Happy Fella and went on a national tour with a production of The Addams Family. Daisy Eagan (Martha) became the youngest actress to ever receive a Tony Award for her performance as Mary Lennox in the original production in 1991. On Broadway, she also appeared in the original production of LES MISERABLES and James Joyce's The Dead.

Director David Armstrong is Executive Producer and Artistic Director of The 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle where he has directed acclaimed productions of Paint Your Wagon, Jaques Brel Is Alive..., A Room With A View, Candide, Sweeney Todd, HAIR, A Little Night Music, Company, Hello, Dolly!, Anything Goes, Yankee Doodle Dandy! and the musical Scandalous, which he also directed on Broadway. Under his leadership The 5th Avenue has become one of the nation's leading musical theater companies especially in the development and production of new work. During his tenure The 5th has produced 17 new musicals, nine of which have transferred to Broadway including two that received the TONY Award for Best Musical -- Hairspray and Memphis. Mr. Armstrong's direction has been seen in New York, Los Angeles and at many leading regional theaters including The Kennedy Center, Ordway Center, Cincinnati Playhouse, ACT Theater and Paper Mill Playhouse. As a writer he has created the books for the musical Yankee Doodle Dandy!, and Theatreworks/USA's A Christmas Carol, which premiered Off-Broadway at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. He devised and directed the Cole Porter revue, Hot N' Cole, which has been produced by scores of theaters across America.

MarSha Norman is an American playwright, screenwriter and novelist. She received the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play 'Night, Mother. She wrote the book and lyrics for Broadway musical The Red Shoes, as well as the libretto for The Color Purple and the book for The Bridges of Madison County. Lucy Simon is a Grammy Award-winning composer. She made her Broadway debut as the composer of The Secret Garden but is also well known for the musical production of Doctor Zhivago.

The non-profit 5th Avenue Theatre is the nation's premier incubator for new musical theater. Since 2001, the Seattle-based company has produced 17 new musicals. To date, nine (including the sensational hit Disney's Aladdin) have moved on to Broadway premieres, earning a combined 15 Tony Awards, including two for Best Musical (Hairspray and Memphis). The 5th Avenue Theatre is also known for its world class, critically acclaimed productions of musicals chosen from both the contemporary canon and the Golden Age of Broadway.

Unique in its Chinese-inspired design, this exquisite theater opened in 1926 as a venue for vaudeville and film. Today, under the leadership of Executive Producer and Artistic Director David Armstrong, Managing Director Bernadine C. Griffin and Producing Artistic Director Bill Berry, this non-profit theater company attracts an annual attendance of more than 300,000, including over 25,000 subscribers-one of the largest theater subscriptions in North America.

In addition to its main stage productions, The 5th Avenue Theatre is also committed to encouraging the next generation of theatergoers through its extensive educational outreach programs. For more information about The 5th Avenue Theatre, its season and its programs, visit www.5thavenue.org.

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