Rehearsals are underway for a brand new manufacturing of Lucy Simon and Marsha Norman’s The Secret Backyard, scheduled to begin February 19 at Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theater by way of Middle Theater Group. The run will proceed via March 26, however producers have their eye on bringing the manufacturing to New York, which might give the musical its first Broadway revival.
Primarily based on the Frances Hodgson Burnett novel, The Secret Backyard encompasses a e book and lyrics by Tony and Pulitzer winner Norman and music by Grammy winner and Tony nominee Simon. The story follows a younger woman left orphaned by a cholera epidemic in British-occupied India who is shipped to stay along with her reclusive and grieving uncle in his English nation property.
Since premiering on Broadway in 1991, the musical has gone on to develop into a favourite for regional theaters and colleges all over the world—however the authentic manufacturing stays iconic. Set in 1911 England, Heidi Ettinger’s Tony-winning authentic set design positioned the motion in a stately mansion cum Victorian scrapbook, and Theoni V. Aldredge additionally obtained a Tony nod for hauntingly stunning costumes.
However do not fret. Director-choreographer Warren Carlyle has put collectively a top-notch design crew for his new manufacturing, together with Emmy-winning scenic designer Jason Sherwood (RENT Stay) and Tony-winning costume designer Ann Hould-Ward (Into the Woods, magnificence and the Beast). Along with the remainder of the inventive crew, this trio is making a Secret Backyard not like something seen earlier than—together with a completely new character. Get a primary have a look at a few of Sherwood and Hould-Ward’s designs, together with an inside have a look at what impressed them, under.
Based on Sherwood, he took the present’s ghostly high quality as his chief inspiration—Norman’s adaptation of the story has the ghosts of the residing characters’ previous sharing the stage, a haunting reminder of the grief that has held over them.
“Misselthwaite Manor is a main setting for the story, and we actually needed this area to have a ghostly, floating high quality,” says Sherwood. “On this picture, the ghosts of the previous are dancing via the ballroom, whereas pairs of chandeliers lilt and float in area, amidst a translucent staircase and frames that ascend into the void. The story usually takes place prior to now and the current concurrently —as our characters compete with their pasts and their losses—and we needed the area to have a lyrical, emotional high quality that will help these moments.”
Sherwood continues: “Our wonderful director and choreographer Warren Carlyle and I’ve been designing this present collectively for a number of years. The set design relies on the thought of the weather—earth, water, fireplace, and air, all of that are represented in our present—and the notion of a ghost story. The Secret Backyard is about regeneration, and we needed these parts to be on the coronary heart of the design. So, the present is framed by this sculptural swirl—which suggests a gust of air—and we populate the area with numerous objects to take us to totally different areas. On this picture, we’re within the backyard, earlier than it has been introduced again to life. It is nonetheless dormant and has simply been found by Mary. A big solar hangs upstage, which gently resembles the rings of a tree, casting mild via the wrought-iron tree that’s the image of the backyard, and the backyard door sits downstage left.”
Hould-Ward’s designs embody a brand new character to this manufacturing of The Secret Backyard: Cholera. See her sketches for that and different costumes within the gallery under.
As beforehand introduced, Middle Theater Group’s The Secret Backyard will star Sierra Boggess as Lily Craven, Derrick Davis (The Lion King) as Archibald Craven, Ava Madison Grey as Mary Lennox at sure performances, Aaron Lazar (The Gentle within the Piazza) as Dr. Neville Craven, Julia Lester (Into the Woods, Excessive Faculty Musical: The Musical: The Collection) as Martha, John-Michael Lyles (A Unusual Loop) as Dickon, and Sadie Brickman Reynolds as Mary Lennox in sure performances.
Rounding out the solid shall be Terron Brooks as Main Shelley, Mark Capri as Ben Weatherstaff, Peyton Crim as Main Holmes, Susan Denaker as Mrs. Medlock, Kelley Dorney as Mrs. Winthrop/Cholera, Ali Ewoldt as Rose Lennox, William Foon as Colin Craven alternate, Ava Madison Grey as Mary Lennox alternate, John Krause as Captain Albert Lennox, Reese Levine as Colin Craven, Yamuna Meleth as Ayah, Cassandra Marie Murphy as Mrs. Shelley, James Olivas as Lieutenant Wright, Kyla Jordan Stone as Alice, Vishal Vaidya as Fakir, and Ariel Neydavoud, with Randi De Marco and Sam Linkowski serving as swings.
The manufacturing has been within the works for Carlyle since no less than 2018, when he was introduced to helm a Broadway revival within the 2018-19 season that by no means materialized. A 2018 workshop of Carlyle’s staging streamed in April 2021 to learn The Dramatists Guild Basis and The Actors Fund, that includes Boggess as Lily. The stream was devoted to the late Rebecca Luker, who performed the position within the authentic Broadway firm.
Together with Sherwood and Hould-Ward, Carlyle’s inventive crew will embody music supervision and extra orchestrations by Rob Berman, orchestrations by Danny Troob, music path by Dan Redfeld, lighting design by Ken Billington and Brian Monahan, sound design by Dan Moses Schreier, and wig and make-up design by Victoria Tinsman. Casting is by Michael Donovan and Richie Ferris, and David Franklin will function manufacturing stage supervisor.
Go to CenterTheatreGroup.org.