Closing out its tenth season, Central Florida Vocal Arts brought to the stage at the Dr. Phillips Center The Secret Garden, directed by Eric Pinder. This enchanting classic of children’s literature was reimagined in brilliant musical style by composer Lucy Simon and Marsha Norman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Night Mother. Orphaned in India, 11-year-old Mary Lennox returns to Yorkshire to live with her embittered, reclusive uncle Archibald and his disabled son Colin. The estate’s many wonders include a magic garden which beckons the children with haunting melodies and the “Dreamers,” spirits from Mary’s past who guide her through her new life, dramatizing The Secret Garden’s compelling tale of forgiveness and renewal.
"Stage Director Eric Pinder and Music Director Nishaa Johnson have struck gold with the casting of the leads in THE SECRET GARDEN and each bring out the best in the actors on stage. Mr. Pinder's direction is fluid and functional, keeping a strong pace throughout. Ms. Johnson's work, vocally, especially with the principal actors truly stands out - delivering hauntingly beautiful performances that soar." - Joseph Harrison, Broadway World
The cast was headlined by Central Florida Vocal Arts’ Summer Institute alumna Abby Yuska as Mary Lennox and joined by Axel Rimmele, who recently starred in The Orlando Repertory Theatre’s production of True North, as Colin Craven. Sahid Pabon made his company debut with a heartbreaking performance as the grieving widower Archibald Craven, longing for his wife Lily, played by Alexis Smith, who was last seen in Central Florida Vocal Arts’ sold-out production of The Sound of Music in 2022.
“I’m thrilled to be joining a production of a show that has been an integral part of my journey as a performer! I’ve done the show as a young actor and as a professional. I am thrilled to be joining the talented team at CFVA with my Central Florida theatrical debut” said Pabon.
More than poignant melodies, heartwarming narrative, and moving orchestration, The Secret Garden offered the opportunity to engage in meaningful community conversation. Central Florida Vocal Arts was thrilled to Unearth The Impossible with this final production of their decade anniversary season.
CLICK HERE to read the digital playbill.
This project is funded in part by Orange County Government through the Arts & Cultural Affairs Program.