Thursday, December 15, 2011

My Life at the Theater-THE SECRET GARDEN

I saw this at the St. James Theater in 1991. Phil wasn't wild about seeing it to put it lightly. But in 1991, he was working on a book where all the papers were at the NYPL so we saw a lot of plays.

What I remember most about this production was its lushness. The book and lyrics were from Marsha Norman (what happened to her?) and the music was from Lucy Simon, based, of course, on the story by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Daisy Eagan (who won a Tony) seemed to be a break out star in the lead. Mandy Patinkin was also in the production along with Rebecaa Luker, Alison Fraser (nominated for awards for her work here).

It was on Broadway for almost two years.


Jack Bates said...

I never cared much for the music of this one. I might have been Mandy Patikin phobic at the time; this and Sunday in the Park with George- laborious musicals.

I like backstage musicals: 42nd Street, Millie, Producers. Spam-A-Lot is a current fave.

I've been told my theatre background shows in my use of dialogue.

Anonymous said...

Patti - I've never seen this one. I have to be honest, it's hard for me to conceive of a musical based on that particular book, but I'm really glad you enjoyed it.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Nobody writes great music for Broadway anymore. I guess in the thirties-sixties, there were less avenues for writing music.

Anonymous said...

We didn't see it.

I remember going to see Marsha Norman's breakout hit 'NIGHT MOTHER one New Year's Eve matinee. It starred Kathy Bates and Anne Pitoniak, both of whom received Tony nominations.

This play was so depressing that we couldn't just go home, so we had something to eat and then went to the Beekman to see the movie version of THE RIGHT STUFF to get the bad taste out of our mouths (so to speak).

I mean, New Year's Eve can be depressing enough without that, eh Patti?

Jeff M.

Gerard said...

I'm impressed by the variety of number of plays and musicals you've seen. How many do you take in a year?

I keep hoping to drive over to some theater productions but finding the time, a sitter, and convincing my wife (who will clean the house like crazy before a sitter arrives) is difficult.

pattinase (abbott) said...

NYE-my least favorite night of the year. I skipped NIGHT MOTHER as a play but saw the movie. Eek!
We go to a ton of plays--but none when we had to hire a babysitter in the 70s and early 80s. And at the prices now, we'd never leave home.
You are in for two years of these things because I am determined to get some use out of saving all those playbills and spending all that money. Probably 8-10 a year for twenty years.

Anonymous said...

We've averaged about 14-15 over the last 40 years, mostly between New York and London. From 1974-78 we saw an average of 27 a year, and have almost reached that level again over the last three years. The most shows we've ever seen in a single year was 31.

But of course we have no kids, so no babysitting problem.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

And you get those great deals living in NY.

J F Norris said...

I like the music in Secret Garden. It captures the feel of Yorkshire and speech rhythms very well, I think. I also like that it is a ghost play and does not shy away from the overall eerieness and folklore elements that are present in the original book. There is one particular song "How Could I Ever Know?" that has a very personal meaning to me. It broke my heart when the ghost of his wife sang that song. It contains a powerful metaphor for me.

'NIGHT MOTHER is the biggest downer of a play I have ever seen in my life. I saw it in Hartford with Mercedes McCambridge as the mom. One of the last things she did before she died. Amazing actress. Don't recall who played the duaghter. Even though you know what's coming the sound of the shot at the end of the play is devastating.

Gerard said...

Amazingly 'Night Mother is on the shelf in my library. I'll read it.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Be prepared to slit your throat.