Skip to main content

Murray Journal

Murray Amphitheater wraps up summer season with ‘The Secret Garden’

Jul 25, 2018 01:04PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

“The Secret Garden” will be Murray Park Amphitheater’s final play of the season. (Photo courtesy Murray Cultural Arts)

By Shaun Delliskave | s.delliskave@mycityjournals.com

The Tony Award-winning musical adaptation of the children’s story “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett, directed by Brighton Sloan, runs August 10–11, 13, 16–18, at the Murray Amphitheater, 495 E. 5300 South. Tickets can be purchased online at the arts in the park page of murray.gov.ut.

“The Secret Garden” is the story of a sour young girl who loses everything to a cholera epidemic in colonial India. She is sent to live with her gloomy Uncle Archibald in his massive estate in Yorkshire, England. Mary sets out on a path to discover the secrets of the house and her aunt’s abandoned garden. With the help of some new friends — Dickon, Martha, and Ben — she brings new life to the garden and to a bed-ridden cousin, Colin. 

Ultimately, it is a story about forgiveness and rebirth. A tragedy is overcome with sunlight and love, as the characters find a new level of joy by cultivating the relationships around them.

Based on the 1911 novel of the same name, “The Secret Garden” is a musical with lyrics by Marsha Norman, and music by Lucy Simon. It premiered on Broadway in 1991 and ran for 709 performances. It won the 1991 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical, Best Featured Actress in a Musical and Best Scenic Design. Daisy Eagan, who originated the role on Broadway at age 11, was the youngest female recipient of a Tony Award.

Veteran director Sloan, who helms the amphitheater’s production, has a degree in theater arts from Brigham Young University and brings passion to her role. “I’ve been directing for 10 years, and I love it!” enthuses Sloan.

Twelve-year-old Lucie Murphy leads the cast as Mary Lennox. A West Jordan native, she played the title role in “Annie” last winter at the Empress Theater. “You have to have the right child to take the audience on this emotional journey, and Lucie is one of the most gifted child actors I’ve ever seen,” notes Sloan.

Logan Bradford plays Archibald Craven. He is a graduate of BYU and an accomplished vocalist who has performed with multiple choirs as well as in theaters like the SCERA Shell and Hale Centre Theatre. Aimee Pike plays Lily, Archibald’s dead wife. She has appeared with theater companies all across Utah, with roles including Rusty in “Footloose” and Morticia Addams in “The Addams Family.”  David Peterson plays Neville, Archibald’s distant brother. Anson Bagley plays Dickon. He has appeared in numerous shows at Hale Centre Theatre and has been featured on the popular YouTube channel “Working with Lemons.”

“‘The Secret Garden’ has one of the most beautiful scores in musical theater, and our cast is filled with vocalists who can really do it justice,” remarks Sloan. “That said, I think the audience is going to be blown away by our little leading actress, Lucie. She has a vulnerability and raw talent that make it impossible not to fall in love with her instantly.”

Rounding out the cast: Martha, Sydney Carlson; Mrs. Medlock, Chelsea Lynn Tramell; Fakir, Nathan Krishnan; Ayah, Teresa Jack; Captain Lennox, Samuel Wright; Rose Lennox, Amy Peterson; Ben Weatherstaff/Major Holmes, Jim Dixon; Claire Holmes, Rachel Hansen; Lieutenant Wright, Porter Bagley; Major Shelley, Mark Williams; Mrs. Winthrop, Megan Smyth; Alice, Jennifer Broschinsky; Mrs. Shelley, Camille Perkins; and Jane, Eliza Williams. The cast will handle such well-known songs as “The Girl I Mean to Be” and “Come to My Garden/Lift Me Up.”

“Unlike many productions in the valley, our show will be using a live orchestra. While it is common practice for Murray Arts in the Park, this is a beautiful score that will only be enhanced by the live orchestra,” Sloan said. 

Corey Purdue will handle set design with Larissa Anderson wrangling props and Josh Astle as stage manager. At the end of the baton will be music director Andrea Fife, and Sarah Bringhurst to provide choreography. Stephanie Bruckman will supervise costumes/makeup.

Sloan reflected, “The show takes you through some difficult emotional territory, and it’s tough to watch this little girl face so much death and cruelty. Then, to see the garden in full bloom and Mary surrounded by love for the first time in her young life is overwhelmingly touching.”