The Secret Garden (2000)


Book and lyrics by Marsha Norman
Music by Lucy Simon
Based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett
February 17, 18, 19, 20, 24, 25, 26, and 27, 2000
The Palace Theatre, Vinton, Iowa

Director: Steve Arnold
Music Director: Greg Douma
Technical Director: Jay Appleby
Assistant Director: Ray Bookmeier
Assistant Director, Children’s cast: Shirale Hanson

Sponsored by Frazier Nursery
John and Carolyn Frazier

Produced by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.

Original Broadway Production Produced by:
Rick Steiner, Frederic H. Mayerson, Elizabeth Williams
Jujamcyn Theatres/TV ASAHI and Dodger Productions”

“Originally produced by the Virginia Stage Company,
Charles Towers, Artistic Director”

Setting: Misselthwaite Manor on the moors of North Yorkshire, England,
with additional scenes in Colonial India and Paris.
Time: 1906

An orphaned girl,
a crippled boy,
a grieving widower …
A 100 room manor house in the Yorkshire moors …
A walled garden no one has seen for ten years …
A ghost, wanting to make things right …
And spring on the way …

For our first theatrical production in the Palace Theatre, ACT I selected a very special show — the enchanting musical “The Secret Garden” by Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon. “The Secret Garden” is an allegorical tale of death and rebirth, in which the three central characters find emotional renewal within a garden that itself is reborn after the ravages of winter and neglect.

About “The Secret Garden”
“The Secret Garden” opened on Broadway during the 1990 – 1991 Season at the St. James Theatre. The cast included Mandy Patinkin as Archibald Craven, Rebecca Luker as Lily, and eleven year old Daisy Eagan as Mary Lennox. At the 1991 Tony awards, the show was named for Best Book in a Musical (Marsha Norman), Best Scenic Designer (Heidi Landesman) and Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Daisy Eagan).

Marsha Norman is known for a string of excellent dramas, including “‘Night, Mother.” “The Secret Garden” was her first musical. Composer Lucy Simon is the sister of pop singer Carly Simon.

The Story

Audience members entering the auditorium of the Palace Theatre see Colin’s wheelchair in a shaft of light, flanked by Mary’s dollhouse and Archibald’s writing desk.

In the opening tableau, Lily and Ben symbolically plant Mary, Colin, and Archibald in Lily’s garden to bloom in spring. Representing the diverse elements of winter and spring, Mrs. Medlock and Dickon stand in the shadows.

India: 1906. A deadly cholera epidemic is sweeping the subcontinent with 10,000 already dead, but for the British citizens living there, life is comfortable and leisurely. As children gather for a party in the Lennox house, Mary is given a doll by her mother Rose as the Ayah, Mary’s Indian nanny, looks on.

Mary is tormented by the other children, who sing “Mistress Mary, Quite Contrary.”

Riding on a train from London to Yorkshire, Mrs. Medlock tells marry about her Uncle Archibald, the hunchback Lord of Misseltwaite Manor, and his beautiful late wife, Lily.

With Mary’s arrival at Misseltwaite Manor imminent, Dr. Craven urges his brother Archibald to greet the child when she arrives, but he cannot face her and goes upstairs without seeing her.

On Mary’s first morning at Misselthwaite, she is greeted by the cheerful housemaid Martha, who comforts the girl despite Mary’s sour demeanor.

Martha pleasantly helps to dress her unpleasant young charge.

Alone in his library, Archibald recalls his first meeting with Lily and the love that grew out of it. His musings are interrupted by Mary, holding the picture of Lily she has brought with her from India.

Asking if the photograph is of her aunt, Archibald tells her that it is. She asks if everyone who dies becomes a ghost, to which Archibald replies “They are only a ghost if someone alive is still holding on to them.”

Mary, puzzled by her uncle. finds her way to the gardens.

Mary and Dickon, a boy who works in the gardens, talk to a robin, asking the bird to show Mary the key to Lily’s garden.

Archibald muses on Mary’s presence as he sings “A Bit of Earth.”

“A bit of earth – she wants a little bit of earth to plant some seeds. The seeds will grow, the flowers bloom, their beauty just the thing she needs . . . ”

“She’ll grow to love the tender roses, the lilies fair, the iris tall, and then in fall, her bit of earth will freeze and kill them all.”

During a storm, Mary discovers Colin, her bedridden cousin, the son on Lily and Archibald. At first, each is terrified of the other.

Colin and Mary quickly take a dislike to each other, but this is tempered by their realization that they are cousins.

Mary describes a strange dream in which she saw her own father as a hunchback like Colin’s father, and Colin describes a mysterious “round shouldered man” who sometimes visits his room at night.

As the second act begins, Mary sings the number “The Girl I Mean to Be.” As she sings she imagines what life could be like if things were different.

She imagines Lily and her parents alive, and Colin walking.

Mary imagines her dead friends and family posing for a photograph with Colin and Archibald, but she can not join the picture.

Before leaving for Paris, Archibald sits by his sleeping son to read him a story.

Unable to express his feelings to Colin when he is awake, Archibald tells the sleeping boy that he loves him.

Mary finds the key and the door to Lily’s garden, but laments to Dickon that the garden is dead.

Colin argues with the servants. As Martha and Mrs. Medlock look on, Mary orders him to stop his tantrum.

Mrs. Medlock is opposed to Mary seeing Colin, but Martha insists that it will be all right.

Alone, Mary urges Colin to go into Lily’s garden, but he is afraid to leave the safety of his bed until he is better.

The ghost of Lily appears in Colin’s bedroom, and he senses her presence.

The spirit of his mother comforts Colin, and he is then able to muster the courage to leave the house to see the garden.

At night, Colin sees his mother’s garden for the first time.

Colin falls after attempting to walk, and is startled to see the gardener, Ben Weatherstaff, arrive on the scene.

Ben tells the children about the death of Colin’s mother.

Dr. Craven confronts Mary, telling her that her interference in Colin’s life could well cause the boy’s death.

Martha urges Mary to write to Archibald, asking him to come home.

In a split scene, Mary write her letter, while Archibald reads the same letter on a street in Paris.

After getting Mary’s letter, Archibald vents his anguish over Lily’s death as he sings “How in the World.”

The ghost of Lily appears to Archibald in Paris to comfort him. She urges him to return to Misselthwaite to care for Colin as they sing the duet “How Could I Ever Know.”

Martha, Dickon, Colin, and Mary enjoy Lily’s garden in the vibrant springtime, with Colin’s wheelchair now just a plaything.

Mary, Colin, and Dickon sing of the wonders of springtime.

Archibald surprises his brother and the servants with his return to Misselthwaite, and is amazed to see Colin in Lily’s garden, walking.

Archibald embraces Colin as Dr. Craven and William look on.

As the Dreamers look on, Colin and Mary are reunited with Archibald.

As Colin, Archibald, and Mary enjoy Lily’s garden, the ghosts of Albert, Rose, and Lily gaze at the living for the last time.

Lily’s sister Rose leads her from the garden


Lily: Kathleen Berger
Mary Lennox: Erin Horst
Archibald Craven: Gerald Horst
Colin Craven: Matt Meyer
Dr. Neville Craven: David Katz
Martha: Kari Nordli
Dickon: Jeff Cumberlin
Ben Weatherstaff: Larry Adams-Bowers
Mrs. Medlock: Lori Kerwin
Mrs. Winthrop: Kendra McChristian
Mrs. Shelly: Shirale Hanson
William: John Westergard / Jake Fowler
Jane: Makayla Comer
Betsy: Bree McClenning

The Dreamers:

Rose Lennox: Rhonda Westergard
Captain ALbert Lennox: Pat Lyons
Alice: Angie Olson
Lt. Peter Wright: Alexander Vasquez
Major Holmes: Mark West
Claire HOlmes: Sara Arnold
The Ayah: Kate Westergard

Staff / Crew

Choreographer: Joan Cooling
Property Mistress: Jessica Coulter
Costume Mistress: Cheryl Werling
Costume Construction: Cheryl Werling, Ida Higgins, Janie Seely, Marilyn Yedlik
Property Assistant: Chelsea Meyer
Makeup: Lori Kerwin
Set Painting: Mark West, Alexander Vasquez, Kathleen Berger, Ray Bookmeier
House Manager: Ron Baldwin
Box Office: Linda Radcliffe
Programs: Cedar River Ink


Pianist: Judy Mitschelen

The Children’s Chorus:

Sarah Allyn
Jacob Christy
Andy Hanson
Patrick Horst
Abigail Larkin
Rachael Larkin
Kordereau Sellers
Sara Stephenson
Zach Svoboda
Laura Van Steenhuyse