The Secret Garden, a musical based on the 1911 novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, comes to life at the Cerritos Performing Arts Center through May 19. Director T.J. Dawson and crew present what becomes a beautiful stage production filled with talented musicians, actors and crew.
The story, despite being a kids’ novel, doesn’t necessarily translate well to the stage. There are adult themes including death, abandonment and haunting ghosts. The whole first part of the musical is mighty confusing if you don’t previously know the source material. It begins with lots of dancing, people in white, colored fabric being pulled from the actors’ necks then darkness. Luckily as the show continues you do put the pieces together and things fall into place. This is the moment you can finally start enjoying this musical.
Mary Lennox (Glory Joy Rose) the star of the show is shipped off to live with her uncle, whom she has never met. The relationship between the two is difficult in the beginning because of her resemblance to Archibald Craven’s (Dino Nicandros) wife Lily (Jeanette Dawson). Ultimately a relationship develops and a full story arc emerges, especially for Archibald Craven, who comes full circle; accepting his late wife’s death and the future he has with Mary Lennox and his son Colin Craven (Evan Gutierrez).
The two young children in this production excel to the highest levels and match the talents of some of their other very seasoned cast-mates. Glory Joy Rose in particular delivers such a strong performance you can’t help but smile and at times maybe shed a tear. It seems so natural as she really has developed and become the character Mary Lennox. The showcase of these two talented actors for sure has to inspire other up and coming young kids interested in musical theater.
Archibald Craven (Nicandros) is a complicated character who is going through such intense emotions, many we find out have been going on for along time. Everything builds up to the song “Where in the World” where we finally feel the intense emotions that Craven has been dealing with during the period in his life. This moment is an intense but amazing moment that Nicandros delivers not only as far as acting but most definitely through his singing.
The rest of the supporting cast delivers stand out moments that interconnect the story of Mary, Archibald, Colin, and Lily. Martha (Renna Nightingale) and Dickon (Brandon Root) each have some very special moments with Mary Lennox. They really make a connection with her that helps her as her character grows and develops through the musical. Brandon Root in particular leaves us with a standout moment during his performance of “Wick.”
Another big plus of 3D Theatricals production of The Secret Garden is the choreography. The Indian inspired dancing and the choreography with staircases is basically astounding. It has an energy that really draws you into each song and dance.
The garden finally comes alive in such a beautiful moment. The scenic design (Stephen Gifford) as well as the lighting (Paul Black) and projection design (Andrew Nagy) really bring life to the garden with full stage high sets and butterflies fluttering the stage. It truly is a masterpiece and just feels you with joy as the reveal takes place.
The Secret Garden Cast
Glory Joy Rose as Mary Lennox, Dino Nicandros as Archibald Craven, Jeanette Dawson as Lily, Sam Ludwig as Dr. Neville Craven, Renna Nightingale as Martha, Brandon Root as Dickon, Richard Gould as Ben, Jillian Doyle as Mrs. Medlock, Evan Gutierrez as Colin, Travis Leland as Captain Albert Lennox, Jennifer Cannon as Rose, Ari Aaron as Fakir, Randi De Marco as Ayah, Mark C. Reis as Major Holmes, Tracy Lore as Mrs. Winthrop/Claire, Chris Hunter as Lt. Peter Wright, Paige Herschell as Alice, Cole Cuomo as Lt. Ian Shaw/Major Shelley. Ensemble – Madeline Ellingson, John Carroll, Cole Cuomo, Paige Herschell, Chris Hunter, Brandon Taylor Jones, Tracy Lore, Nick Morganella, Jessica Ordaz Mark C. Reis and Allison Sheppard.
Production Team: T.J. Dawson (Director), Ryan Ruge (Associate Director), Allen Everman (Musical Director/Conductor), Leslie Stevens (Choreographer), Ryan Ruge (Associate Director), Paul Black (Lighting Designer), Julie Ferrin (Sound Designer), Stephen Gifford (Set Design), Talia Krispel (Production Stage Manager), Terry Hanrahan (Production Manager/ASM), David Nestor (Company Manager), Amber Snead (Casting Director).
The Secret Garden: Book by Marsha Norman, Lyrics by Marsha Norman, and Music by Lucy Simon
3-D Theatricals The Secret Garden
Tickets vary in price depending on the venue. Online Ticketing: www.3dtheatricals.org
- SCHEDULE: Show times at Cerritos Performing Arts Center
- Saturday, May 11 at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm
- Sunday, May 12 at 2:00 pm
- Thursday, May 16 at 7:30 pm
- Friday, May 17 at 8:00 pm
- Saturday, May 18 at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm
- Sunday, May 19 at 2:00 pm
- LOCATION: 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos, CA 90703
- PARKING: Complimentary parking located directly in front of the theatre
Theater Box Office: 562-916-8500.
Hours: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm Tuesday – Friday; 12:00 – 4:00 pm Saturday.
Box Office at the theatre opens two hours prior to weekday and Saturday performances; and one hour prior to Sunday performances.