Theater Info for the Washington DC region

McLean Community Players The Secret Garden

By • Jul 24th, 2007 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of the McLean Community Players’ production of The Secret Garden [MP3 4:29 1.3MB].

Laura: Friday evening we saw McLean Community Players‘ production of The Secret Garden in McLean, Virginia.

Mike: The Secret Garden is a musical. Book and lyrics by Marsha Norman. Music by Lucy Simon. It is based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The Secret Garden tells the story of Mary. She is an 11 year old girl who’s entire family is wiped out in a cholera epidemic in India. She is sent to live with her only remaining relative, her uncle who lives in England. When she arrives in England she discovers that her uncle is sad and there is no one else her age to play with. No one in the house really knows what to do with her. She amuses herself by exploring the grounds. During her explorations she gets to know the house staff much better. One of them give her a key to a secret garden in the middle of the grounds. She also meets her cousin, Colin, who is bedridden with many different maladies.

Laura: This was a good show. The singing and acting and dancing was very well done. Everybody had very nice voices. There was a large audience that was pretty much sold out. Unfortunately it just didn’t grab my attention.

Mike: I was a little bit confused during parts of the show because it seemed like half the cast was dead. Lots of flashbacks to the time in India. That was a little bit confusing. The first act was a little bit slow. The second act got a lot more interesting and it just seemed to flow a little bit better. Both acts were about an hour long and it just seemed that the second act had a much quicker pace to it.

Laura: Mary Lennox, the orphan girl who was sent to England to live with her uncle, was played by Mary Watson. She did a very good job. She had a nice voice. I liked the scene between her and her cousin when she was first introduced to him. She was ordering her around and bossing her around. She stood up to him. It was really interesting to see the friendship develop in that.

Mike: Mary’s Uncle, Archibald Craven, was nicely played by Brent Stone. Unfortunately there were a few times when his microphone was giving him problems and it was squealing and distracting from the show. He stayed focused and in the second act they fixed the problem because it definitely wasn’t as bad. He did a really good job.
He wasn’t really sure that he wanted to stay home. He was grieving the loss of his wife and his son who was handicapped. Then he got stuck with his niece. He was just really fed up with it all. So he left. When he was in Paris he received a letter from Mary. “The Letter Song” was really nicely done. I liked that a lot.

Laura: One of the fun characters in the performance was Dickon played by Ryan Green. He had some really nice songs. He had a really nice tenor voice. One of the songs that I really liked was called “Wick” that he and Mary sang to talk about the garden.

Mike: The image that was presented to us on stage was very nicely done. Set Design was done by Bill Brown and the Lighting Design was done by Brian S. Allard. The two of them worked very closely together. I really liked how the backdrop of the set would change color. It was always very appropriate. The set was mostly done with different pieces dropping down from the ceiling. There were some scrims that came down to give it some depth. During the garden scenes they grew over time and I was really glad that the closing scene they showed us the secret garden. That was a wonderful scene and the set added a lot to the show.

Laura: The costumes were also very well done. Costumer was Richard Battistelli. The costumes were very appropriate for the turn of the 20th Century. Bright colors, very much an upper crust family and the costumes matched the period very well.

Mike: The entire show lasted about two and a half hours with one 20 minute intermission. The show is closing on Saturday, July 28th. Friday and Saturday at 8 at the Alden Theater in McLean, Virginia. There were a lot of children at the show. It is very appropriate for children. They may be a little confused by some of the ghost figures that come on stage and some of the time shifts that that occur. I think they will enjoy The Secret Garden.

Laura: And now, on with the show.


  • Lily craven: Alexandra Boule’-Buckley
  • Mary Lennox: Mary Watson
  • Ayah: Erin Keefe
  • Captain Albert Lennox (Mary’s Father): Chris Colby
  • Rose Lennox (Mary’s Mother): Emily Dewey
  • Lieutenant Peter Wright: Gene Bates
  • Alice (Rose’s Friend): Marsha Coder
  • Major Holmes: Bob Chaves
  • Claire Holmes (His Wife): Roberta Chaves
  • Major Shelley: Paul Nieswander
  • Mrs. Shelley: Marsha Coder
  • Archibald Craven (Mary’s uncle): Brent Stone
  • Dr. Neville Craven( his brother): Steve Ingrassia
  • Mrs. Medlock (the housekeeper): Florence Ferraro
  • Martha (a chambermaid): Andrea Gaspar
  • Dickon (her brother): Ryan Green
  • Ben Weathrstaff (the gardener): Danny Brogan
  • Colin Craven: Nick Stone
  • Mrs. Winthrop (the head mistress): Marsha Coder
  • Photographer: Richard Battistelli
  • Timothy: Richard Battistelli


  • Director: Rachelle A. (Shelly) Horn
  • Music Director: Michael A. Dubenski
  • Vocal Director: Joe Gems
  • Choreographer: Stefan Sittig
  • Producer: Kathy Farnsworth
  • Assistant Producer: Leah Aspell
  • Stage Manager: Douglas F. Yriart
  • Assistant Stage Manager: Shayne Gardner
  • Accent Coach: Carol Strachan
  • Yorkshire Accent Coach: Danny Brogan
  • Technical Director: Bob Zeigler
  • Set design: Bill Brown
  • Lighting Design: Brian S. Allard
  • Lighting Board Operator: Sally Garen
  • Sound Design: Jerry Bonnes
  • Sound Booth Technicians: Mary Renschler, Shirley Sameshima
  • Costumer: Richard Battistelli
  • Master Carpenter: Shepherd Cook
  • Set Construction: Kathy & George Farnsworth, Shayne Gardner, Dick La Porte, Gene Nicholson, Jeff Shue, Terry Yates
  • Dollhouse Design and Construction: Dick La Porte
  • Set Painting: Carol Offutt
  • Set Dressing/Properties: Terry Yates
  • Portrait of Lily: Dinnie Watson
  • Backstage Crew: Emily Besuden, Bunny Bonnes, Wendy Granat-Humpfries, Jennifer Levy, Tula Pendergrast, Sarah Tate, Terry Yates
  • Makeup: Lynne Kleyla, Linda Porrance
  • House Manager: Columba Brumby
  • Photographer: Traci Brooks
  • Webmaster, Playbill: George Farnsworth


  • Conductor: Michael Dzbenski
  • Violin 1: Anna Su
  • Violin 2: Cordelia Weiss
  • Viola: Stacy Davis
  • Cello: Virginia Gardner
  • Bass: Jack Coulter, David Burrelli
  • Flute: Kate Watts
  • Clarinet: Judy Powell, Katrina Ambrose
  • Trumpet: Earl Smith
  • French Horn: Robert Casal
  • Keyboard: Joe Gems
  • Percussion: Jim Sylvester
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