One of the most beloved works of children’s literature, “The Secret Garden” is a bouquet of delights for the ears and imagination. Acacia Theatre Company will perform playwright Pamela Sterling’s award-winning adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic novel Feb. 26 through March 7.
All performances will be given in Concordia University Wisconsin’s Todd Wehr Auditorium, 12800 North Lake Shore Drive in Mequon.
Mary Lennox, an ill-tempered orphan, is sent to live with her uncle at secluded Misselthwaite Manor in Yorkshire, England. As she adjusts to her new home, she discovers an overgrown garden that has been kept under lock and key for more than 10 years.
While tending to the plants, Mary forms the first true friendships of her life and realizes that the garden may also hold the secret to saving her sickly young cousin and melting the heart of her emotionally distant uncle. With the help of the crusty old gardener Ben Weatherstaff, her maidservant Martha Sowerby, Martha’s brother Dickon and a robin redbreast that lives in the garden, Mary plants the seeds of new life for herself and for those she draws into her secret refuge.
Elaine Rewolinski is directing the production.
Burnett’s novel was serialized in “The American Magazine” beginning in 1910 and was first published in it is entirety in 1911. It has since become a treasured classic and has been adapted numerous times for the stage, film and television.
“The story’s message that selflessness can open the door to happiness and health is timeless and has helped make ‘The Secret Garden’ an enduring classic that children and adults alike continue to enjoy, whether on the written page or on the stage or screen,” Rewolinski said.
She describes the play as “story theatre with music.” The entire cast narrates the story, and music and the playwright’s words set the stage. The score was written by Chris Limber specifically for the show, giving each of the major characters a theme that is used between scenes and as underscoring.
Sterling’s stage adaptation of the novel is included in the anthology “Theatre for Young Audiences: 20 Great Plays for Children,” edited by Coleman A. Jennings. It also won a “Distinguished Play Award” from the American Alliance for Theatre & Education in 1992.
Performance and Ticket Information
Performances will be given at 8 p.m. on Feb. 26, 8 p.m. on Feb. 27, 3 p.m. on Feb. 28, 8 p.m. on March 4, 8 p.m. on March 5, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on March 6 and 3 p.m. on March 7.
Tickets cost $15, or $13 for senior citizens, full-time clergy and full-time students. Tickets may be purchased by calling (414) 744-5995 or visiting www.acaciatheatre.com.
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