Theatre Calgary's artistic director Stafford Arima is thrilled to officially announce the cast for The Secret Garden, which will close out our 50th Anniversary season. To be directed by Arima, The Secret Garden will feature some notable names in Canadian musical theatre, along with a large number of Calgary artists, who will bring this beloved tale to life.
"I am thrilled beyond belief to be making my directorial debut at Theatre Calgary with this sublime musical," says Arima. "The Secret Garden holds a very special place in my heart as I've directed two concert productions in New York City - one in 2005 at the Hammerstein Ballroom, and the second one in 2016 at Lincoln Center's David Geffen Hall. This production at Theatre Calgary will be the first time I've directed a full-scale production. Casting this show was an absolute joy, as I got the opportunity to be introduced to so many of the glorious musical theatre performers in Calgary. I cannot wait to share this production of The Secret Garden with Calgary."
The Secret Garden will feature Ma-Anne Dionisio in the role of Martha. Ms. Dionisio is a Filipino-born actor and singer, whose family moved to Canada in 1989. In 1993, she was cast in the role of Kim in the original Toronto production of Miss Saigon. She would return to reprise the role in Toronto in 2010, and has also played the part in the UK and Australia. In addition, Ms. Dionisio has also played Éponine in international and US touring productions of Les Misérables. She has also appeared on Broadway in the 2002 revival of Flower Drum Song, and the West End production of Martin Guerre.
"I first met Stafford when he was a production assistant on the Canadian premiere of Miss Saigon in 1993, and then 18 years later, he directed me in a workshop of Allegiance in New York City. Having the chance to make my Theatre Calgary debut, and work with him again on The Secret Garden, is truly wonderful," says Dionisio.
Also headlining the cast are Susan Gilmour as Mrs. Winthrop (Fantine in the Canadian, Broadway, and International touring productions of Les Misérables), and Eric Craig as Archibald (Sergei in the first national tour of Matilda the Musical). Ms. Gilmour has recently been seen at Theatre Calgary in The Light in the Piazza, Disney & Cameron Mackintosh's Mary Poppins, and Crazy For You. Mr. Craig will be making his Theatre Calgary debut.
The cast of The Secret Garden also features two young Calgarians, Greer Hunt and Lucian-River Mirage Chauhan in the roles of Mary Lennox and Colin Craven, respectively. Ms. Hunt has appeared in A Christmas Carol in 2016, and Mr. Chauhan will be making his Theatre Calgary debut. Other local members of the cast who are familiar faces to Calgary audiences include Laura Brandt (Lily), Eric Wigston (Dickon), Doug McKeag (Ben Weatherstaff), Allison Lynch (Rose), Elizabeth Stepkowski-Tarhan (Mrs. Medlock), and Tory Doctor (ensemble). Rounding out the cast and making their Theatre Calgary debuts are Matthew Bruce (ensemble), Matt Chittick (Captain Albert Lennox), Dave Comeau (ensemble), Jillian Hannah (ensemble), Trisha Talreja (Ayah), Brent Thiessen (Dr. Neville Craven), and Suchiththa Wickremesooriya (Fakir). Creative team includes Don Horsburgh (music direction), Marc Kimelman (choreography), Cory Sincennes (set & costume design), Bonnie Beecher (lighting design), Joshua Reid (sound design), Patti Neice (Stage Manager), and Sara Turner (Assistant Stage Manager).
The Secret Garden runs April 17 - May 19, 2018, in the Arts Commons Max Bell Theatre. You can purchase tickets here.