Gallery 7 Theatre presents the award-winning musical The Secret Garden, based on the beloved novel by Frances Burnett Hodgson, starting Friday, March 17.
The production runs through March 25 at the Abbotsford Arts Centre, 2329 Crescent Way.
Gallery 7 executive/artistic director Ken Hildebrandt said the show was initially scheduled to open in 2020, but had to be put on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“We’ve revived the sets, dusted off the props, reconstructed the costumes, welcomed a host of new and talented performers and we’re ready to share this special show with the world,” he said.
The production features a cast of 21 from throughout the Fraser Valley, as well as expansive sets and costumes and a live orchestra.
The Secret Garden tells the story of young Mary Lennox, orphaned in India, as she journeys back to England to live with her reclusive Uncle Archie and his invalid son, Colin.
Struggling to come to terms with her new life at Misselthwaite Manor, with its ghostly hallways and vast moors, Mary discovers an abandoned secret garden hidden away on the estate.
A story of healing emerges as Mary dedicates herself to restoring the garden to its former glory and forges new friendships with an eclectic mix of intriguing characters along the way.
Winner of the 1991 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical, this powerful story will warm hearts and refresh spirits, Hildebrandt says.
“I think this production is so timely. I trust that it will be an entertaining and cathartic theatre experience for people,” he said.
“The music is some of the most beautiful show music I’ve heard, and the production is faithful to the source material. There are themes that will engage audiences of all ages, and will put a smile on people’s faces.”
Making her debut performance at Gallery 7 Theatre in the role of Mary Lennox is Payten Whittome, who has performed in musicals for the past 10 years.
Playing her embittered Uncle Archibald is Michael Holman, who last appeared in Gallery 7 Theatre’s production of This Wonderful Life.
Arne Larsen, who last appeared on the Gallery 7 Theatre stage in Fiddler on the Roof, takes on the role of Dr. Neville Craven, Archibald’s stern and conflicted brother.
The role of Lily, Mary’s long-lost aunt, is played by veteran musical theatre performer, Elizabeth Seaman, and the role of Colin is played by Samuel Pue.
Playing Dickon is newcomer Wyatt Sauve, and his sister, Martha, is played by Jenn Mamchur.
Rounding out the cast are Donna Craig, Hazel Eason, Angel Duran Huran, Nenad Ivonvic, Christa Lee Leffers, Kristin Loewen, Anna Mclaughlin, Peter Shaver, Navi Sidhu, Alyssa Strauss, Julie Tam, Nolan Van Dop, Linda Wack and Liam Whatley.
Musical direction is by Beckie Evans and choreography is by Kyra Esau. Set design is by Matthew Piton, costumes are by Dani Dejong, hair and makeup design is by Sarah Green, lighting design is by Gabe Kirkley, and props design and production photography is by Dianna Lewis. The stage manager is Brittany Suderman.
The Secret Garden runs March 17 and 18 and 21-25 at 7:30 p.m. with matinees on March 18 and 25 at 2 p.m.
Tickets and more information can be found at gallery7theatre.com or by calling 604-504-5940. A live-stream option is also available.