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The Secret Garden blooms again this month

Theatre Company to perform Tony Award-winning musical beginning July 22

Theatre Company Summer Musical

This month, the Theatre Company will reprise its 2006 production of The Secret Garden, a Tony Award-winning musical with a cast of over 40 Tulare County students. The Secret Garden is based on a classic 1911 children’s book by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

The story centers on 10-year-old Mary Lennox, an unhappy and difficult English girl living in India with her selfish, disinterested parents. Chloe Hunt, a future freshman at Golden West High School and veteran of Theatre Company productions including Peter Pan and 101 Dalmatians, plays the demanding Mary Lennox. “It’s been tough to play a character who is so mean to others,” said Chloe. “But I’ve liked that Mary is strong-willed – a trait that I believe comes from her tragic childhood and from being left alone so much.”

In India, Mary’s only delight comes from gardening. When a cholera epidemic ravages the Indian village where she lives and kills both her parents and the Indian servant who cares for her, Mary is sent to live with an uncle she has never met in a gloomy mansion on the edge of the English moors.

Once Mary arrives at her uncle’s manor, she becomes active and interested in the world around her, discovering a local country boy named Dickon Sowerby and her frail, obstinate cousin, Colin Craven. Josh Peters, a future freshman at Redwood High School plays Colin. Josh is a veteran of Theatre Company productions including Peter Pan and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. “Playing Colin is a challenge because of all the tantrums, screaming and crying,” he said. “As difficult as he is, I’ve loved working with everyone and watching the production come together.”

No longer isolated, Mary discovers a neglected, walled garden her uncle locked following the death of his wife, Colin’s mother. Once she gains access to the garden and begins to restore it, she transforms not only the garden, but the lives of everyone at the manor.

“When choosing the show to do this summer, The Secret Garden rose to the top of the list because it is such remarkable material and we have such a remarkable group of students who are passionate about musical theatre,” said Theatre Company Director Brian Roberts. “This production has presented us with some unique challenges. The material and, in particular, the music in The Secret Garden is very demanding and requires sustaining a mood unlike most other musical theatre projects. Our cast has taken on these additional challenges with passion, joy and commitment. This performance is a tribute to their creativity, hard work and collaborative spirit.”

Seven performances of The Secret Garden will be held at the L.J. Williams Theater in Visalia — two matinee performances at 2:00 p.m. July 23 and 30, and five evening performances at 7:30 p.m. on July 22, 23, 28, 29 and 30.

The production of The Secret Garden is the nineteenth annual summer musical performed by the Theatre Company since its creation by Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. “I’m sure the production will delight fans of the book,” said Mr. Vidak. “Our hope is that it will also inspire parents and grandparents to share this wonderful story with the young readers in their lives.” Tickets are available for $15 for general admission seating and $25 for VIP seating at either Tulare County Office of Education facility in Visalia: 6200 S. Mooney Blvd. or 7000 Doe Ave. (north of Goshen Avenue on Shirk). Tickets may also be purchased at the door.

L.J. Williams Theater, 1001 West Main Street, Visalia

Show Times
Evening Shows (7:30 p.m.): July 22, 23, 28, 29 and 30
Matinee Shows (2:00 p.m.): July 23 and 30

Show Ticket Information
$15 general admission / $25 VIP tickets
available at Visalia TCOE locations:
6200 S. Mooney Blvd. and 7000 Doe Ave.
Monday through Friday during normal business hours.
Cash or check only.
Tickets may also be purchased at the door.

Principal Characters
Dr. Neville Craven played by Tristan Beck
Dickon Sowerby played by Andrew Cantelmi
Martha Sowerby played by Carly Caviglia
Rose Lennox played by Carissa Gonzalez
Mary Lennox played by Chloe Hunt
Mrs. Medlock played by Alyssa Lotenero
Lily Craven played by Kaley McConnaughey
Archibald Craven played by Jack O'Leary
Ben Weatherstaff played by Gilbert Ortiz
Colin Craven played by Josh Peters
Albert Lennox played by Owen Webb

For information, call the Theatre Company at (559) 651-1482.

Photo above:
~ Characters Mary Lennox and her cousin, Colin Cravens, discover the magic of
The Secret Garden. Mary is played by Golden West High School’s Chloe Hunt; Colin is played by Redwood High School’s Josh Peters.