BY GEORGE J. DACRE
This is an extraordinary production of the classic story of 11-year-old Mary Lennox (played by Scarlett Diaz, making her debut at Elmwood) who is orphaned in 1906 when her mother and father die in a cholera outbreak in India. She is sent on a 6,000 mile journey to her uncle’s home in Yorkshire, England to live there with her forlon Uncle Archibald Craven (Stephan Taylor) and his crippled son Colin (Noah Rosner).
Life becomes difficult for young Mary with Uncle Archibald giving her a very cold welcome and Colin resenting her presence in their home. She survives with a dream of a Secret Garden where flowers bloom and she seeks the key to the Garden to release magic and adventures inside. Uncle Archibald asks Mary what she wants to make her happy, toys, books, whatever and Mary says only “The Secret Garden.”
“The Secret Garden” is a delightful musical and the producers , Penny Buccafuri and Jim Guarasci, have brought together an outstanding cast of singers and actors that results in a highly professional presentation. Directed by Larry Wilbur “Garden” has Steve Taylor as Uncle Archibald with a wonderful voice, augmented by littlle Scarlett Diaz, who holds her own with all the grownups in the and received a standing ovation at play’s end.
July Wendholt, out of retirement after having twins, and with a fantastic voice; T. Eric Collins, making his Elmwod debut and displaying a very strong voice in the musical; Olivia Didrichsen, as Martha, who befriends Mary and many more in the very talented cast.
Costuming of The Company and all the cast by Suzanne Potoma has a lot to do with the success of the production reflecting the costumes of India and England. The Company, made up of outstanding singer/actors from the area is integral in this show and adds much to the production.
Musical Director Bankey gets a lot out of this cast to make it a topflight presentation. Keyboards, bass, flute, piccolo, clarinet, recorder and penny whistle make up the orchestra and wok well with the cast in an intricate setting. Sunday’s matinee was attended by many seniors who all enjoyed “The Secret Garden as I did.
I Rate it Three Stars Out Of Four!!! It plays through June 9.
Footlites: Elmwoods 2012-2013 season includes “Living Out” by Lisa Loomer, “Spring Awakening,” directed by Claudia Stefany, “The Exonerated” by Jessica Blank and Erik Jansen, “Dinner With Friends” by Donald Margulies, “Squabbles” by Marshall Karp and “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” by Joe DiPietro. Information at 845-353-1313 or elmwoodplayhouse.com.