Producers John Frost and Opera Australia have announced the full adult cast for the 25th anniversary production of The Secret Garden which will play at the Sydney Lyric Theatre from 2 August, before transferring to Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne from 13 November 2020.
Joining Anthony Warlow in one of his most acclaimed roles as Archibald Craven, the master of Misselthwaite Manor, will be Georgina Hopson (Ragtime, West Side Story) as Lily, Archibald’s late wife; Rob McDougall (Assassins, Les Misérables) as Dr Neville Craven, Archibald’s brother; and Alinta Chidzey (Chicago, A Little Night Music) as Martha, Mary’s friend and maidservant.
Nigel Huckle (West Side Story, Thoroughly Modern Millie) will be Dickon – a Yorkshire moor boy who befriends Mary and Colin; Rodney Dobson (Wicked, Chicago) will play gruff elderly gardener Ben Weatherstaff; and Gold Logie winner Rowena Wallace (Sons & Daughters, Neighbours) will return to the stage for the first time in many years to play Mrs Medlock, the housekeeper at Misselthwaite Manor.
Also in the cast are Jordan Angelides, Andy Conaghan, Grace Driscoll, Des Flanagan, Matt Heyward, Glenn Hill, Zoe Ioannou, Genevieve Kingsford, Matilda Moran, Bronwyn Mulcahy, Adam Noviello, Danielle O’Malley, David Ouch, James Shaw, Alec Steedman and Erica Wild. The child actors who will play Mary Lennox and Colin Craven will be announced at a later date.
The producers are thrilled with their stellar cast. “The list of incredible performers that we’ve assembled for The Secret Garden is second to none. I can’t wait to hear them sing the spine-tingling score,” said John Frost. “Producing The Secret Garden in 1995 was one of the most special experiences of my career, and with Anthony returning as Archibald Craven alongside the legendary Rowena Wallace and the rest of this spectacular cast, I know this new production will be just as extraordinary.”
Opera Australia Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini added, “To have the opportunity to present an astonishing new production of The Secret Garden by the original creative team and with the magnificent Anthony Warlow leading this brilliant cast is too good to be true. We are very excited to continue Opera Australia’s mission of telling narrative through music and drama with this wonderful classical musical.”
The Secret Garden returns to Australia this year, 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 and musical supervisor Guy Simpson.
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. 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.
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.
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 unforgettable Lily’s Eyes.
The Secret Garden will play at the Sydney Lyric Theatre from 2 August, before transferring to Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne from 13 November 2020. For more information, visit: www.secretgardenmusical.com.au for details.
Image: Nigel Huckle, Rodney Dobson. Rob McDougall, Anthony Warlow, Georgina Hopson, Rowena Wallace and Alinta Chidzey to star in The Secret Garden – photo by Jeff Busby