Oswego High School Preps For ‘Secret Garden’

OSWEGO, NY – Everyone loves a good ghost story.

The Broadway musical The Secret Garden will bow at Oswego High School on February 8 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the Robinson-Faust Theatre for the Performing Arts.

The production features 40 high school actors and plenty of ghosts.

Fitzhugh Park Elementary music teacher and Secret Garden director Garrett Heater is thrilled to bring this musical to the Oswego community.

Heater said, “Oswego High School musicals, under the previous direction of Eve Phillips and Veronica Shaver, have consistently demonstrated the desire to bring ‘a taste of Broadway’ to Oswego. Robert Dumas, the new high school music and choral director, and I strive to continue the standard of excellence set by our predecessors.”

This goal has manifested itself in the musical version of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s beloved novella The Secret Garden, which was transformed into a musical by Lucy Simon and Marsha Norman.

Focusing on the tumultuous childhood of young Mary Lennox (played by middle-school  student Emily Bradshaw), The Secret Garden invites the audience to experience the gothic romanticism of England in 1906.

Director Heater said, “The musical begins in India, where we find Mary orphaned due to the cholera epidemic that swept the Far East at that time. She is shipped to northern England, to the manor of an unfamiliar uncle (played by Cameron Caruso), where she uncovers family secrets – one of which is a forgotten garden.”

The musical is full of mystical encounters: ghosts populate the manor home and remind Mary of her parents, her time in India, and her deceased Aunt Lily (Emily Hurlbutt).

The mystery of the garden and her new home are leavened with humor via the manor servants: chambermaid Martha (Kaela Shafer) and her brother, Dickon (Joe Ruggio), who bring a sense of hope and earthly wonder to the depressed and prickly Mary.

Villainy takes the form of Dr. Craven (Zemiah Phrance), the brother of Mary’s uncle Archie, who wants nothing more than to send Mary away to a boarding school.

She reminds him too much of his brother’s late wife, Lily, who holds an unrequited place in his heart.

The torrid love triangle spurs much of the drama in Secret Garden, within which Mary finally transforms the residence of the manor.

Her cousin Colin (Riley School student Matthew Oldenburg), whom she has never met, has been shut away for 10 years, an unwilling recluse, and it is through her desire to see the secret garden flourish that Colin regains his will to truly live life.

Choral director Dumas adds, “The music of this show is absolutely stunning. Everything from the large ensemble numbers to many memorable duets and solos, the score is just breath-taking and our students are singing it wonderfully!”

“Overall, it is a fantastic story of courage and devotion to hope,” Heater continued. “And, the gorgeous music that accompanies this story makes it a theatrical treasure – one not to be missed.”

Tickets for the production are available by calling 341-2270 for reservations.

Adult tickets prices are $10 while senior citizens and students can purchase tickets for $8.