Once again  John Frost has teamed with Opera  Australia to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Australian production of ‘The Secret Garden’ which will play at the Sydney Lyric Theatre from the 2nd August.

Lyndon Terracini, Artistic Director of Opera Australia, and John. Frost were thrilled with the cast they had assembled. At the media call the principals delighted an invited audience when they sang excerpts from the musical.

Based on a much loved novel by Francis Hodgson Burnett, the show premiered on Broadway in 1991.with book and lyrics by Marsha Norman and music by Lucy Simon (sister of Carly Simon).

This  25th anniversary production reunites the original Broadway creative team of director Susan H Schulman,  choreographer Michael Lichtefeld and scenic designer Heidi Ettinger. Also  reunited with the 1995 production  is its lead Anthony Warlow.

Joining Anthony Warlow will be fellow principals Georgina Hopson, Rob McDougall, Alinta Chidzey, Nigel Huckle, Rodney Dobson and veteran soapie star, Rowena Wallace.

The two child roles have not as yet been cast and Frost and Terracini announced that they were facing the daunting task of auditioning  some seven hundred children.

Warlow spoke fondly of this musical, sighting it as one of his favourites because of the personal issues he was facing during its season. He performed while undergoing chemotherapy and proclaimed it as being the best tonic for his illness. Also at that time, his daughter was born.

As a result of the cancer treatment he lost all his hair which did not seem to grow back and he had been photographed with a bald pate, Warlow found it highly amusing that when he wore his character’s long haired wig, accompanied by a long beard, many audience members believed that Warlow had been surreptitiously replaced. He reassured the audience that under all the hair and make up, it will be Warlow himself as the lead character Archibald Craven.

Warlow lauded the simplistic yet effective set and the emotional  pull of the musical score.

John Frost also said that, “producing  ‘The Secret Garden’ in 1995 was one of the most special experiences of my career.”

Lyndon Terracini added, “we are very excited to continue Opera Australia’s mission of telling narrative through music and drama with this wonderful classical musical.”

Tickets  go on sale from Friday 28th February for both the Sydney and Melbourne seasons.

For further details

All pics by Ben Apfelbaum.