Family relationships explored in "The Secret Garden" March 14-17

by University Communications,

An uncle with ulterior motives, a crippled boy hidden from the world, the ghost of her deceased aunt, and a secret garden: this is Mary Lennox’s new life after the death of her parents uproots her from India to England.

Mary’s heart-wrenching story takes center stage at Willamette University through the production of Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon’s musical, “The Secret Garden,” March 14-17.

This two-act musical with orchestral accompaniment is conducted by Jason Duckles and directed by Allison Swensen-Mitchell.

In a performance fit for the whole family, the audience will watch as Mary ignites a once lifeless house and shifts the foundations of her family’s relationships.

Swensen-Mitchell says a talented cast of students, alumni and guest artists made this ambitious performance possible.

“The musical, ‘The Secret Garden,’ has always intrigued me, as some of the music is very operatic and challenging,” Swenson-Mitchell says. “In the past, I never felt that we had the resources or the cast to support this musical, but this year we were blessed with many strong singing actors, dancers and classically trained singers.”

Willamette University’s Dramatic Vocal Arts ensemble will be joined by alumni Joshua Lee ’08, MAT ’09 and Ruth Heald ’12, as well as guest artists the Rev. Dallas Dubke and Bill Brown and the University Chamber Orchestra. The theatre department is contributing lighting and set design, and many community volunteers are helping behind the scenes.


The Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances begin at 7 p.m., and the Sunday matinee begins at 3 p.m. in Smith Auditorium. Tickets cost $7 for adults and $3 for students, which may be purchased at the music department or charged over the phone.

For ticket information, call 503-370-6255.