Deep River, CT – Despite a few early snowstorms and a prolonged holiday break, Valley Regional Musical Productions cast and crew has been eagerly cultivating the production of The Secret Garden, with four performances scheduled for March 14 through March 16. Based on the classic novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett and set in Victorian England, the emotionally deep story of struggle and survival will be told through lyrics/book by Marsha Norman and music by Lucy Simon (sister of Carly Simon). With a total of 116 students participating, including 76 cast members, 34 crew members and 6 orchestra pit musicians who will be partnered and mentored by 15 professional musicians, the production’s large vocal ensembles, varied set designs and challenging mix of music should be well tended.
As the production’s title suggests, nature plays a key role in the story and presents one of a few new challenges in casting and staging according to VRMP Director Ingrid Walsh. “One important role is Robin, an English robin who lives in the secret garden and imparts many life lessons while interacting with the other characters,” stated Ms. Walsh. “We have decided to use puppetry to bring Robin to life and have reached out to puppetry schools for guidance and assistance. It will be a great learning experience and very exciting for all of us to stretch our creative technique.” In addition to the human and non-human characters, the cast also includes several ghosts and scenes with the ghosts remembering a past moment in time. Special choral groups and projection will be used to help the audience distinguish between characters and place in time.
Tickets for the musical are $10 each and will go on sale in early February at Valley Regional High School in Deep River, Gather in Ivoryton, Toys Ahoy! in Essex, Celebrations in Deep River and The Wheatmarket in Chester. More information will be available at the school’s website at www.vrhs.reg4.k12.ct.us. Anyone with experience in the field of puppetry and interest in helping with the development of Robin should email Ingrid Walsh at mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org or call the school’s office at 860-526-5328.