Australia’s greatest musical theatre performer, Anthony Warlow, will revisit one of his most acclaimed roles, Archibald Craven in The Secret Garden, in the 25th anniversary production which will open at Sydney Lyric Theatre in August next year. The producers have also announced a Melbourne season will play at Her Majesty’s Theatre from November 2020.
Blessed with a thrilling voice, Anthony Warlow’s versatility has enthralled Australian audiences ever since his 1981 debut with the Australian Opera at the age of 19 in Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. His lengthy stage credits include creating the role of Dr Yurii Zhivago in the Australian premiere production of Doctor Zhivago (2011), the Australian tours of Annie (2000 and 2012) and performing the title role of The Phantom of the Opera (1990 and 2007-2008).
Warlow created the role of Enjolras in the Australian production of Les Misérables (1988) and made his musical theatre debut in 1985, playing the role of Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls at the National Theatre in London. On Broadway, Anthony played Oliver ‘Daddy’ Warbucks in Annie and Captain Hook in Finding Neverland. Most recently in Australia, he led the cast of concert productions of Jekyll and Hyde and Sweeney Todd.
The Secret Garden returns to Australia in 2020, produced by Opera Australia and John Frost, for a 25th anniversary production which reunites the original Broadway creative team of director Susan H Schulman, choreographer Michael Lichtefeld and scenic designer Heidi Ettinger with costume design by Catherine Zuber.
Based on the popular literary classic by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden last played in Australia in 1995 starring Anthony Warlow, Philip Quast and Marina Prior. The musical and its stars were acclaimed by audiences and critics alike, with The Age’s Helen Thompson saying, “The Secret Garden was a musical just waiting to happen. It’s a rich and impressive production that appeals to all ages.”
Anthony Warlow is thrilled to return to one of his favourite roles: “The Secret Garden was a glorious production 25 years ago and I loved being a part of it,” he said. “It’s a wonderful story and the music of Lucy Simon is extraordinary. When the opportunity came up to revisit the material with the original creative team and play Archibald Craven again with a new cast, I just couldn’t pass it up. I can’t wait to return to The Secret Garden.”
“Producing The Secret Garden in 1995 was one of the most special experiences of my career, and with Anthony returning as Archibald Craven, I know the 2020 production will be just as extraordinary,” said John Frost. “To produce it again with the original creative team and with Anthony Warlow leading a new cast is a dream come true.”
When it premiered on Broadway in 1991, The Secret Garden took New York by storm. Rave reviews, Tony Awards, and international productions all followed. Now, for the first time in 25 years, this sensational musical returns to Australia in all its glory to unlock the Secret Garden for a new generation of music theatre lovers.
Based on the much-loved novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett this heart-warming story comes to life on stage with the same magical qualities, in this sophisticated take on the literary classic. Young, orphaned Mary Lennox arrives at her uncle’s home to find distant grieving relatives – and the mysterious tale of a secret garden.
Together with new-found friends, Mary breathes life into the secret garden. She blossoms too, and through her adventures, tends to all the hearts around her. The sumptuous score contains a raft of wonderful songs including A Bit of Earth, Show Me the Key and the achingly beautiful Lily’s Eyes.
“We are very excited to continue Opera Australia’s mission of telling narrative through music and drama next year with this wonderful classical musical,” said Opera Australia Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini. “To have the opportunity to present an astonishing new production of The Secret Garden with the magnificent Anthony Warlow is too good to be true.”
The Secret Garden will play at Sydney Lyric Theatre from August next year. Tickets for this sumptuous musical go on sale from Friday 29 November. The Secret Garden will play at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne from November 2020. Join the waitlist now! For more information, visit: www.secretgardenmusical.com.au for details.
Image: Anthony Warlow (supplied)