Fans of beautiful music will not want to miss Delavan-Darien High School’s upcoming musical “The Secret Garden,” set for performances on March 11, 12 and 13 in the DDHS Auditorium, 150 Cummings St., Delavan.
Performance times are 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, March 11-12, and 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 13. (see ticket info below)
“It is one of the most gorgeous musical scores in existence. It is ridiculously beautiful music,” Director Jim Larson said of the play, written by Pulitizer Prize-winner Marcia Norman and scored by Lucy Simon. It is based off the Victorian-era novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. “There is little dance, so it is not a dance show like we often do. But it is a wonderful story and a wonderful revival of spirits.”
Larson said many of the characters have lost something — relatives who have died — or have serious health conditions. But the end of the story is very positive despite some of very bad things that have been happening throughout.
Larson said his cast of 44 students, 22 of which are named characters, were ready for the challenge of a deeply emotional plot.
“The students felt that some of the past musicals we’ve done have been ‘shallow’ or not as rich in fulfilling the literature,” Larson said. “This is very fulfilling in that regard and they wanted to do something substantial. We also have a great cast of talented singers who will no doubt put on a great show for our audience.”
Larson said there are plenty of high-quality soloists featured, which gives a nice opportunity to have multiple leads.
“It is extremely difficult singing,” Larson said of the score. “There are lots of solos, duets and trios, and very wide ranges. It is more operatic than most of the past shows we’ve done.”
The story revolves around Mary, who was recently orphaned due to an epidemic of cholera in British colonized India. Mary is sent to live with her only living relative back in England, her uncle Archibald Craven, a bitter hunchback who is still hurting from the death of his beautiful wife Lily.
When Mary discovers her Aunt Lily’s hidden garden, locked shot and overgrown with vines, stubborn Mary is determined to revive the beauty that once was. Surrounded by spirits from the past, who both warn and welcome her, determined Mary begins to peel away the layers of sadness that cover the house and the garden, showing us the power that “one small girl” can have when she “wants things to grow.”
“I’m having a great time with it,” said senior Jailyn Schroeder, who plays Mary. “It’s vocally challenging but we have a really strong cast. We are all having a great time and I think it’s going to be a great show.”
Schroeder said the audience will need to be on its toes as there are a lot of flashbacks and memories from Mary’s past that happen throughout.
“It can be challenging to follow because there are characters who are ‘dreamers’ or are people from Mary’s past, people who have touched her life,” Schroeder said. “So the audience is going to have to be focused and use their own imaginations a little more.”
This is a performance you won’t want to miss.
IF YOU GO
- What: DDHS Musical “The Secret
- When: 7 p.m. March 11-12 and 2 p.m. March 13.
- Where: DDHS Auditorium, 150 Cummings St., Delavan
- Cost: $8 for adults, $5 for students and senior citizens
- Tickets: Order advance tickets by emailing “firstname.lastname@example.org” by 3:30 p.m. March 4. Leave your name, contact phone, date you’d like to attend and the number of adult and student/senior citizen tickets you would like. Or, visit the DDHS Activity Office between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on school days (prior to March 4). Any remaining tickets will be sold at the door on the day of the performance starting one hour before curtain call.