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Journey to the 'Secret Garden'


OHS brings musical to stage March 21-23



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ickon, played by OHS student Jack Paruszkiewicz (right), shows Mary Lennox, played by OHS student Addy Poniewierski, something he found in the secret garden. (click for larger version)
March 20, 2013 - Oxford High School thespians will bring the "Secret Garden" musical to life Thursday, March 21 through Saturday, March 23 at the high school's Fine Arts Center.

The story begins in India as 11-year-old Mary Lennox wakes up to find everybody around her dead due to a cholera outbreak.

With no one left to take care of her, she is sent to live in Yorkshir, England with her only living relative Archibald Craven. However Archibald is still grieving over the loss of his wife who died giving birth to their son Collin 10 years earlier. Unable to look at Collin because of the strong resemblance to his mother, Collin remains in his room bedridden

"The story is about bringing new life to a place where everything has been dead," said Director Krista Price. "Really, the "Secret Garden" is a metaphor for the change that takes place in a lot of the characters, Collin, Mary, and Archibald."

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Price said one of the artistic differences between the book and the musical is the latter has characters called "dreamers," which guide Mary into her new life. The dreamers are people from both Mary and Archibald's lives who have died.

"It was probably one of my favorite musicals. (It's) so beautifully written. It's a classic story that's endured for over 100 years," she said. "The story is lasting and memorable, but the musical has a hauntingly beautiful element that is pure art and story-telling all in one."

Price said she was proud of her students who took on what she believes is a college-level musical. She said it couldn't have been done without the help of Choir Director Christopher Card.

"Mr. Card is an incredible vocal director and is able to bring it up to the level that's needed for this type of vocal work," added Price. "It's just a really heartfelt, good group of kids that was ready to take on this challenging material."

In her first play/musical, OHS student Addy Poniewierski, who plays the part of Mary Lennox, said she can relate to the changes Mary goes through.

"She goes from being a snot, to being happy and she's very curious. I feel I am a lot like that," Poniewierski said. "I just really like the development of all the characters and how close everyone gets to the middle of it and the end of it. Everyone just grows together and I think you can really see that."

OHS student Jack Paruszkiewicz, who plays Dickon, the boy who introduces Mary to the garden, said he likes how his character is always smiling and having a good time.

"The play is really cool because it has just a great storyline," he said. "And the music in it is amazing."

Price said last week they toured all five elementary schools and performed scenes of the musical for them.

"We've invited the elementary kids to read along (with) the book and come see the show," she said. "It's kind of like a curriculum-type thing I created."

While many think of the "Secret Garden" as a child's story, Price said the musical is definitely for the whole family.

"There is depth to it that adults appreciate, but still that classic story kids can connect with," she said. "We really hope whole families – teenagers, adults and children – are able to come see it because it really is (a musical) that can reach all ages."

For tickets, call the box office at (248) 969-5321. It's open daily from 3-4 p.m. and 6-7 p.m., then from 1-2 p.m. and 6-7 p.m. on Saturdays

Tickets are $10 for reserved seating, $8 for adult general admission, and $5 for student general admission.

For more information or to order tickets on-line, visit www.oxfordmusical.com

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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