“The Secret Garden” – a miracle musical

By Bill Schlichting, Pilot staff writer November 30, 2012 08:59 pm

Colin (Daniel Pearson) has his pulse taken by Dr. Craven (Jamie Gagnon) while Mary Lennox (Stephanie Birks) looks on in the musical production, “The Secret Garden.” The Pilot/Bill Schlichting

Opening night for the Brookings Harbor Community Theater musical production of “The Secret Garden” had the audience clapping at the end of every scene as well as in time with the final number.

Although there was no standing ovation, the audience seemed to enjoy the performance of this heartwarming story of how a change of scenery can bring about miracles in the lives of people without hope.

With a cast of 30 actors ranging in age from 5 to 60, the literary classic is portrayed in a family-friendly musical adaptation by Tim Kelly, which is a different version than others as it features additional characters to fill out a chorus. Although it did seem as though some characters, with non-speaking roles, were unnecessary.


The story centers around Mary Lennox, (played by Stephanie Birks) who is sent to live in England with her uncle, Archibald Craven (Todd Pearson), after her parents die in India. 

The house, Misselthwaite Manor, turns out to be a gloomy fortress with an equally gloomy housekeeper, Mrs. Medlock (Colleen Harrison). Her uncle is rarely home and his young son Colin (Daniel Pearson) never leaves his room, as he is convinced he’s an incurable invalid.

When Mary meets Colin, she tries to befriend him, but strong-willed, bratty attitudes clash, resulting in a few humorous moments in the story. Colin also has fits with Dr. Craven (Jamie Gagnon) and the nurses (Colleen Gibson and Ashley Hainson).

Meanwhile, Mary discovers a strange, walled garden that has been locked up for years. With the gardener’s apprentice Dickon, (Dylan Panter) a lad who can talk to animals, Mary coaxes the garden back to life. The garden seems to have a wonderful and magical effect on all who come into it, allowing Mary to help restore Colin to health and a reunion with his father.

Birks is an amazing actress in this production. The 12-year-old carried the show as the lead. According to the production notes at the Pioneer Drama Service website, Mary has 200 lines in the script, more than double the lines of lead characters Dickon (94) and Colin (88).  

The score includes such songs as “Take a Flower To the Fair,” “You Can Do It” and “Something’s Happening With Master Colin.” This version also introduces 14 members of the Sowerby family, led by Pam Lynn as Mrs. Sowerby, and additional songs, such as, “One Big Happy Family.”

“The Secret Garden” – adapted from the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett with music and lyrics by Bill Francoeur – is recommended for all ages.

Performances are at 7:30 tonight (Dec. 1) and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2. Final performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6, 7 and 8, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and $7 for students. Tickets are available at Wright’s Custom Framing and Art Supplies in Brookings and at New Wave Video in Harbor or at the door.

On Thursday, Dec. 6, children ages 12 and younger are $5 at the door only.

Performances are at the Harbor Performing Arts Center, 97900 Shopping Center Ave. For more information, send email to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , call 541-469-4700, or visit http://www.brookingsharborcommunitytheater.com.