Terry Rowsell is hoping The Secret Garden won’t be a secret to theatre lovers.
The story comes to life, courtesy Four Seasons Musical Theatre, starting this Friday (Nov. 14) at the Isabelle Reader Theatre in Langford with opening night of its five-show run there.
Rowsell, the stage director for Secret Garden, says the production is one of the company’s best.
“I think (audiences) will see a better show than they’ve seen at Four Seasons in past years,” he says. “They will see something fun and visually appealing, but a deeper and meaningful story that is not typical at musical theatre shows.”
The Tony Award-winning literary classic tells the story of young Mary Lennox, orphaned in India during a cholera outbreak and forced to live with an uncle she doesn’t know. Mary discovers a secret garden there and slowly, her life and that of her uncle turn around as the story unfolds.
Rowsell says much of the play is anchored on the performances of the two young leads, 10-year-old Tori Farkas and Zoe Garson.
“(They) are (among) the most talented people I have done theatre with of any age and I have done theatre for 30 years. This is challenging and difficult, and traditionally older kids play (younger roles),” he said.
“But I can give (them) notes and I don’t need to simplify my language when exploring the character. (They) are as good as the seasoned adults in the show.”
The production involves approximately 70 cast and crew, from actors and costume designers to producers and background performers. Rowsell hopes the community embraces the show and leave the theatre, like so many others, saying Four Seasons’ shows are “better than TV.”
“People should check it out, largely because it has everything – visual appeal, story (and audiences) will see the best talent we can draw from the CRD on stage.
“I think society has lost something when we stop gathering together for community (entertainment),” he said.
“It is such a rich story that all of us can relate to it somehow. All of us have experienced pain and joy in different circumstances in our life and I think people can deeply relate to this show.”
Tickets are $12 for children 12 and under, $18 for adults and $54 for families of four. For showtimes visit fsmtheatre.ca.