By John Magee
The theatre department’s first musical of the year, “The Secret Garden,” danced into production during the debut performance last night at the Loca Lee Buckner Theatre.
The musical was adapted from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel of the same title with music by Lucy Simon and script and lyrics by Marsha Norman. Much like the novel, the scenes are set in England during the early 20th century. The musical follows the story of Mary, a young girl whose parents were killed in a cholera outbreak that forces her to live with her uncle Archibald Craven. During her time with her uncle, Mary discovers an untamed garden formerly maintained by her deceased aunt Lily.
Students expressed their excitement about performing the show for the first time.
“This will be my first role at Florida Southern, but the process has been very exciting and inspiring,” freshman Jessie Cohen said. “It’s a beautiful story and I think our director Jim Beck has done an incredible job telling it.”
Cohen plays the ghost of Lily who appears to Craven throughout the musical, thus preventing him from moving on from her loss and contributing to his refusal to let anyone into the decaying garden.
Sam Bowling took on the role of Craven for FSC’s production.
“I think he is a very misunderstood man,” Bowling said of his character. “He has the best intentions, but he’s very depressed about the death of his wife and it hinders all of his relationships.”
The singing and dancing aspects of musicals like “The Secret Garden” factor into the preparation for any onstage musical role. However, getting into the character of Craven was the most difficult attribute of the performance for Bowling.
“It’s pretty difficult, considering he’s delusional and I don’t particularly have experience dealing with something such as that,” Bowling said. “I like the challenge of getting into his mind, though.”
Upcoming performances start at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 18 – Nov. 19 and 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 20th. Shows will take a break Thanksgiving weekend and will resume Dec. 1 – 3 at 7:30 p.m.. The final performance will begin on Dec. 4 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets to the production are free to FSC students and faculty and can be reserved online and through the Buckner box office in person or by calling (863) 680-4296.