Wednesday, February 26, 2020

One That Got Away: The Secret Garden

In the interest of full disclosure, this One That Got Away is a bit of a cheat. A couple of years after its debut on Broadway, I did get to see the The Secret Garden's national tour. But I'm still going to count it. I'm sure that the main stem version had a better set, and it didn't have a boffo cast, either. I'm also counting it because it is my fault that it "got away."

You see, I can be my own worst enemy sometimes. I was not a big fan of Mandy Patinkin (and while I appreciate him more these days, I'm still not a big fan), nor was I a big fan of the book The Secret Garden. So I dug in my heels and said, "no" all three times to chances to see it. Now I am a huge Howard McGillin fan, and when he came into the show...I still said no! 

Cut to being over at a friend's house and hearing the cast recording. I'll never forget it. I said, "What is that?" "The Broadway cast recording of that show you REFUSED to see," she said. "Wait. That's The Secret Garden??!! No way!" So we hopped in the car, CD playing us to the record store, where I bought the damned thing! It is one of my favorite scores - beautiful, haunting, and even funny. My favorite songs included "I Heard Someone Crying," "Lily's Eyes," and "Wick." But really, I love the whole score.

John Cameron Mitchell and Daisy Egan
Alison Fraser and Daisy Egan

Robert Westenberg and Daisy Egan

Lydia Ooghie, Rebecca Luker and Howard McGillin

Some of my favorite performers were in the Broadway run including Alison Fraser, John Cameron Mitchell, Robert Westernberg and, of course, Rebecca Luker. (There was also the Broadway debut of one Audra Ann McDonald who was a replacement later in the run!) And if you read my stuff regularly, you probably know how much I love the show's logo!

The Tony Award-winning set designed by Heidi Landesman

The Original Broadway Cast Principals

The Secret Garden was nominated for a whopping 13 Drama Desk Awards, winning three: Best Book, Best Scenic Design and Best Orchestrations, and 7 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, winning three: Best Book, Best Scenic Design and Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Daisy Egan). It ran for 23 previews and 709 performances, and I missed every single one. When there's finally a revival, you can best I'll see at least one of those performances!


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