Edgerton's 'Secret Garden' for kids and adults

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Ann Fiore
Thursday, January 2, 2014

EDGERTON—Rock River Repertory's new show isn't just for kids.

The central character in the musical “The Secret Garden,” which opens Saturday, Jan. 4, in Edgerton, is indeed a child. But director Jim Tropp believes adults will relate to the embittered uncle who finally is able to accept the loss of his wife, who died while he was away.

 “It's beautiful,” Tropp said of the moment that Archibald Craven, alone in his office, encounters the ghost of his wife, Lily, and says goodbye.

Tropp said he deviated from the script to add that scene. He also adjusted others to make them align with the children's book on which the musical is based.

“Just to have that second chance to say goodbye to someone, just that moment, I was able to bring that to the stage,” said Tropp, noting that learning to accept death is a common experience.

“And the music is absolutely gorgeous,” he added.

In the 1911 book by Frances Hodgson Burnett, an ill-tempered 11-year-old girl named Mary Lennox is orphaned in India and sent to live with her Uncle Archibald and his invalid son, Colin, in England.

While exploring the estate one day, Mary finds a key to a secret garden once tended by her Aunt Lily. The garden has been neglected, and Mary finds her own personality blossoming as she fixes up the plot and transforms the people she meets.

The estate was not a happy place before Mary came. Some characters are ghosts called “dreamers,” and it's clear that Lily's restless ghost also haunts the place.

“The Secret Garden” runs for two weekends, Jan. 4-5 and 11-12, at the Edgerton Performing Arts Center.

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