Arts & Entertainment

The Secret Garden shows resilience

By: Taylor Roberts ~Staff Writer~

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Photo courtesy of Playhouse in the Park | Archibald Craven (Kevin Earley) wanders as his late wife Lily Craven (Brandi Burkhardt) and the Dreamers observe.

The audience completely filled the seats of Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s Robert S. Marx Theatre and watched as the cast and crew found the key to success in their opening night performance of “The Secret Garden.” Playhouse in the Park’s 2015 season opener showed the entire audience how resilient humans can be in the face of tragedy. In her debut performance at Playhouse in the Park, Caitlin Cohn acted as 10-year-old Mary Lennox, the main character of the show who loses her parents to a cholera outbreak in India and is forced to live with her inattentive uncle in England.

Scene after scene, Cohn stole the show and breathed life into the classic story by Francis Hodgson Burnett simply because she genuinely looked like she was having fun mastering the role of her character. “I think my favorite part of playing Mary is that every time I do the show, I get to rediscover the importance of finding love and light, even in the places that are seemingly dark,” Cohn said in an interview with the September 2015 issue of the Prologue, the pre-show publication of Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.

While Cohn’s performance reminded the audience about the power of childlike wonder, emotional performances by Brandi Burkhadt, Kevin Early and Anthony Frederickson in musical numbers like “How Could I Ever Know” and “Come To My Garden” brought some viewers to tears. The entire cast of the show sang and danced flawlessly to Lucy Simon’s music and Marsha Norman’s Tony Awardwinning lyrics, under the instruction of Marcia Milgrom Dodge, the Tony- nominated director and choreographer of the production.

“I love how the characters convey their innermost feelings and fears through the haunting melodies of Lucy Simon’s music combined with the delicate dialogue and highly charged lyrics of Marsha Norman,” Dodge said. The spirit of their performance reflected the beauty of the set designed by Narelle Sisson to look like giant piles of paper. This clever design was fitting for a book coming to life through musical numbers on a stage. Ticket prices for “The Secret Garden” start at $35. Sunday performances are priced at $10 for those with a valid student ID. Student tickets are just $15 on the day of the show.

“The Secret Garden” runs through Oct. 3, 2015. For more information visit http://www.cincyplay.com/.

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