Get an Exclusive Sneak Peek at the Designs for Broadway-Aimed The Secret Garden Revival

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Get an Exclusive Sneak Peek at the Layouts for Broadway-Aimed The Magic formula Backyard garden Revival

Designers Jason Sherwood and Ann Hould-Ward tell us how they are reimagining the Lucy Simon-Marsha Norman musical for LA’s Center Theatre Group—including a new character.

Courtesy of Jason Sherwood (still left) and Ann Hould-Ward (proper)

Rehearsals are underway for a new production of Lucy Simon and Marsha Norman’s The Key Backyard, scheduled to start February 19 at Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theatre by means of Centre Theatre Team. The run will continue on by March 26, but producers have their eye on bringing the generation to New York, which would give the musical its very first Broadway revival.

Centered on the Frances Hodgson Burnett novel, The Solution Garden characteristics a guide and lyrics by Tony and Pulitzer winner Norman and audio by Grammy winner and Tony nominee Simon. The story follows a young lady still left orphaned by a cholera epidemic in British-occupied India who is despatched to live with her reclusive and grieving uncle in his English state estate.

Given that premiering on Broadway in 1991, the musical has absent on to become a preferred for regional theatres and schools all-around the world—but the initial manufacturing remains legendary. Established in 1911 England, Heidi Ettinger’s Tony-profitable initial set design and style put the action in a stately mansion cum Victorian scrapbook, and Theoni V. Aldredge also received a Tony nod for hauntingly beautiful costumes. 

But never fret. Director-choreographer Warren Carlyle has place with each other a top rated-notch structure staff for his new production, which include Emmy-successful scenic designer Jason Sherwood (Lease Reside) and Tony-winning costume designer Ann Hould-Ward (Into the WoodsAttractiveness and the Beast). Collectively with the relaxation of the innovative staff, this trio is producing a Secret Backyard garden in contrast to any found before—including a wholly new character. Get a first search at some of Sherwood and Hould-Ward’s designs, along with an inside search at what influenced them, below.

In accordance to Sherwood, he took the show’s ghostly good quality as his main inspiration—Norman’s adaptation of the story has the ghosts of the residing characters’ pasts sharing the stage, a haunting reminder of the grief that has held over them.


A established design and style from The Mystery Back garden by Jason Sherwood.
Courtesy of Jason Sherwood

“Misselthwaite Manor is a most important location for the tale, and we definitely required this area to have a ghostly, floating top quality,” claims Sherwood. “In this impression, the ghosts of the previous are dancing via the ballroom, while pairs of chandeliers lilt and float in house, amidst a translucent staircase and frames that ascend into the void. The story typically will take place in the earlier and the current simultaneously—as our figures contend with their pasts and their losses—and we needed the area to have a lyrical, emotional high-quality that would guidance all those moments.”


A set style from The Top secret Backyard by Jason Sherwood.
Courtesy of Jason Sherwood

Sherwood carries on: “Our awesome director and choreographer Warren Carlyle and I have been coming up with this show alongside one another for many years. The set design is primarily based on the plan of the elements—earth, drinking water, hearth, and air, all of which are represented in our show—and the idea of a ghost story. The Top secret Backyard is about regeneration, and we wished those components to be at the heart of the design. So, the demonstrate is framed by this sculptural swirl—which indicates a gust of air—and we populate the room with numerous objects to consider us to diverse spots. In this graphic, we are in the backyard, just before it has been introduced back to lifetime. It really is nevertheless dormant and has just been discovered by Mary. A huge sunlight hangs upstage, which gently resembles the rings of a tree, casting mild by means of the wrought-iron tree that is the symbol of the backyard garden, and the back garden doorway sits downstage remaining.”

Hould-Ward’s layouts involve a character new to this output of The Secret Backyard garden: Cholera. See her sketch for that and other costumes in the gallery below.


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Ann Hould-Ward’s Costume Types for The Key Garden

As formerly declared, Heart Theatre Group’s The Magic formula Yard will star Sierra Boggess as Lily Craven, Derrick Davis (The Lion King) as Archibald Craven, Aaron Lazar (The Light in the Piazza) as Dr. Neville Craven, Julia Lester (Into the Woods, Substantial School Musical: The Musical: The Collection) as Martha, and John-Michael Lyles (A Peculiar Loop) as Dickon.

Rounding out the solid will be Terron Brooks as Big Shelley, Mark Capri as Ben Weatherstaff, Peyton Crim as Significant 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 Gray 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 output has been in the will work for Carlyle given that at least 2018, when he was declared to helm a Broadway revival in the 2018-19 time that under no circumstances materialized. A 2018 workshop of Carlyle’s staging streamed in April 2021 to benefit The Dramatists Guild Foundation and The Actors Fund, showcasing Boggess as Lily. The stream was dedicated to the late Rebecca Luker, who performed the job in the primary Broadway enterprise.

Alongside with Sherwood and Hould-Ward, Carlyle’s resourceful group will contain new music supervision and additional orchestrations by Rob Berman, orchestrations by Danny Troob, tunes route by Dan Redfeld, lights design and style by Ken Billington and Brian Monahan, audio design by Dan Moses Schreier, and wig and make-up style and design by Victoria Tinsman. Casting is by Michael Donovan and Richie Ferris, and David Franklin will provide as production stage manager.

Check out CenterTheatreGroup.org.

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