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'The Secret Garden' set to music at SOU

When young Mary Lennox — an orphan newly entrusted to the care of her grief-stricken uncle — discovers a sickly cousin, a farm boy living on the estate and, most importantly, a neglected garden, she finds solace in rejuvenating the overgrown plot, an action that heralds healing and renewal for the entire family. Along her journey, mysterious ghosts, new friendships and the possibility of putting down real roots and beginning again are revealed.

This Tony Award-winning musical is based on the book by Frances Hodgson Burnett and has a story that will appeal to audiences of all ages.

Performances are set for 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, May 12-14, and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 14-15, in the Oregon Center for the Arts' Music Recital Hall on the Southern Oregon University campus, 405 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland.

Tickets for reserved seating are $21, $18 for seniors and $6 for students. Tickets can be purchased online at oca.sou.edu/box-office, by calling 541-552-6348 or at the Music Recital Hall box office. Box office hours are noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and two hours prior to each performance. 

Liisa Ivary directs the SOU production of "The Secret Garden."

“I'm particularly enjoying working with this creative team — the production team, the musicians and the amazing actors,” Ivary says. “It is going to be a powerful rendering of a moving story. It's also exciting to see what's possible in the Music Recital Hall and to experience collaboration between the music and theater programs. The students are constantly coming up with ideas to try and work on their own. They are strong musicians and singers, as well as accomplished actors, and they are good-humored and flexible.”

The SOU production will be staged in the Music Recital Hall due to construction and expansion of the Theatre Arts Building.

Music and lyrics for "The Secret Garden" are by Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon. Choreography is by Suzanne Sieber and Andrea Luchese, and music direction is by Chris Williams.

" 'The Secret Garden' is a story about loss and recovery, of forgiveness and letting go," Ivary says. “You will love Mary Lennox and her journey.”


Southern Oregon University theater arts students Meghan Nealon and Nolan Sanchez play Mary Lennox and Dickson 'The Secret Garden,' opening May 12 in the Music Recital Hall at SOU. Photo by Scott McCaw