West to present, The Secret Garden

Connor Relyea, Editor-in-Chief

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This April, Joliet West’s choir department will be putting on its annual spring musical. This year the show will be “The Secret Garden” with music written by Lucy Simmon and book and lyrics by Marsha Norman.

The musical focuses around Mary Lennox, a young girl who grew up in British Colonial India, who is suddenly orphaned when her parents (Rose and Albert Lennox) die in the cholera epidemic. Young Mary is sent to live with her uncle Archibald Craven who lives in northern England. There Mary makes friends with Martha, the kind, young maid; Ben Weatherstaff, the head gardener; and Martha’s brother, Dickon, who becomes Mary’s first friend. As Mary becomes accustomed to life at the manor the ghosts from her past and from that of Archibald’s haunt the house, keeping the painful memories of death and loss alive among all the living characters. Dr. Craven, Archibald’s brother, comes to resent Mary who begins to undo all the plans that he has put forth for Misselthwaite Manor. After learning of a garden that had been tended by Archibald’s late wife Lily, her mother’s sister, Mary soon goes off in search for it. As her stay lengthens, Mary meets her cousin, Colin Craven, who has been bedridden his entire life. They become friends and the two of them, along with the help of Dickon, bring the secret garden back to life.

The cast for this year’s musical includes many returning actors from past musicals and some new faces to the lead roles. Mary Lennox will be played by senior Alex Baloy and her parents, Rose and Albert Lennox, will be played by Felicia Warren and Ethan McCallister respectively. Portraying Archibald Craven will be junior David Stobbe and Dr. Craven will be played by junior Eric Brett. Sophomore Brendan Softcheck will be playing Ben Weatherstaff, senior Connor Relyea will be portraying Dickon and senior Becky Buechel will be playing Martha. Lily Craven and Colin Craven will be played by Nicole Verive and Elyssa Krmpotich. Among these actors will be many others forming the rest of the “living” cast and what is known as the “dreamers” who are all ghosts of Mary’s and Archibald’s past.

The musical will once again be directed by West’s choir director, Mr. DeBoer. When asked why he chose a less known musical for this

year’s selection he said, “It fit the students that we had auditioning. I also really like the musical complexity and how it weaves within the musical.” DeBoer expressed that he has always enjoyed “The Secret Garden” and thought that this year was the best opportunity to do it. He also said that he wanted to do something different from what had been done last year. “This show is a different style than Beauty and the Beast. With that show it was more along the lines of acting with a little bit of music thrown in.”

Cast and crew have been working hard on the production of the show. The set will include Misselthwaite manor, the gardens, a movable train, and two flats depicting Paris and India. Set design and building has been overseen by Douglas Hawksworth who has been working alongside members of the cast and other volunteers including parents and students from National Honor Society to finish the set.

The performances will be on April 15, 16 and 17 with the Friday and Saturday performances at 7 P.M. and the Sunday performance will be at 2 P.M. Tickets can be pre-bought online and you can find the link to the ticket website on the Joliet West Choir website www.jtwestchoir.org . Tickets will also be available to buy at the door, with a price to be announced.