Oswego High School to present ‘Secret Garden’

Everyone loves a good ghost story.

The Broadway musical “The Secret Garden” will bow at Oswego High School Friday and Saturday Feb. 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 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.

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 “The 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.

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

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