‘Gather and sing and welcome the spring’

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Destiny Rivera | Editor-in-Chief

The classic story of Mary Lennox and her secret garden has come to life at Riverside City College.

“The Secret Garden” was premiered a t Performance Riverside April 12 and had shows through April 21. Different from the movie, the show featured 28 musical numbers.

Along with the orchestra, vocal harmonies and choral parts from the cast emphasized the emotion and highlighted the important scenes in the play.

“I have wanted to direct this musical for some time. The stunning songs and orchestration add the perfect tone to the emotional layers of these characters,” Producer Matt Neves said in a Redlands
Daily Facts article.

There were also more characters with a bigger role than just a simple mention.

Lily, Mary’s late aunt played by Ashley Grether was one of the ghosts featured in the play.

“I love that she gets to be elegant and just kind of float around and I just love singing the music. The music is the best part of the show for me,” Grether said.

The two story lines from the past and present could have been confusing to the audience.

However, the additional scenes were very informal.

The stage setup even had an original twist by using picture frames as stage props in the scenes.

They added a unique flare to the entire production.

“I think that Matt (Neves) put a really great spin on it with the way he staged everything and the way he had the frames” Grether said.

“It’s something that you don’t see usually for the show and so I think it brings in a new flavor to it and it helps you focus on the story more than the scenery.”

A nice treat that the audience found amusing were some humorous comments within the dialog.

After having a short conversation with her distant uncle, Mary leaves the scene on a comical note.

“Did my mother have any other family?” she asked, as the theater filled with polite giggles.

Although the book and the movie have a gloom setting, the story is meant to uplift the and move the audience’s emotions.

“There is something for everyone to relate to in this show. It really is a story about love, loss and forgiveness. We’ve all lost someone or something dear in our lives and this play strives to help us remember, cherish and move on. It’s quite beautiful,” Neves said.

For a story many grew up reading and watching, it was perfect to have on campus for students to enjoy in their older years.

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