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If there are any doubts about the talent level in the Children’s Theater of Charlotte (CTC), just listen to the first song in “The Secret Garden,” CTC’s latest production. You will be mesmerized and thrilled at Charlotte’s amazing pool of talent. CTC has outdone itself with this one.
If you haven’t read “The Secret Garden” since you were little, let me refresh your memory: little Mary is living in India when her parents die. She is shipped to England to live with her grieving, hunchback uncle whom she has never met. There, she meets a loving chambermaid, Martha, a sarcastically sweet gardener, Ben, and her sickly cousin, Colin. She discovers a secret garden that her Aunt Lily created before her death that has since been neglected. She and her new friends work to restore the garden to its original beauty, and in the process, see the beauty in each other and themselves.
I took my 7-year-old son and his friend to Friday’s performance. Neither had read the book or even heard the story. I knew it would be a little confusing and high-level to them, so I tried to whisper updates to them during the course of the show to explain characters – this seemed to help (except when I told my son’s friend that the man singing was her uncle, and he turned to me and said, “He’s YOUR uncle?” Oh geez).
CTC’s production of “The Secret Garden,” directed by Michelle Long, is a musical – each song is more beautiful than the last with amazing duets and group performances. The ghosts of Lily and Mary’s parents and other “dreamers” appear frequently in song and supplement the storyline. The dreamer idea was confusing at first to the boys, but these spirits ended up being their favorite part.
When the characters are speaking, they talk in a very thick dialect, which makes it a little difficult to follow at first. I was not sure how much the boys understood of the dialogue but they chuckled at the right places, so they must’ve followed well enough. The set changes and music really helped clear things up for them, too. They sat captivated for the entire two hours – really just losing steam toward the end (and I think that was because it was close to 10 pm).
Set design and music direction are key in this production and both hit it out of the park. The boys loved how quickly the sets moved, and in typical boy fashion, tried to figure out exactly how it was done. Our favorite was the last set when the Secret Garden was revealed – I would love one of those big panels of painted flowers in my house! Gorgeous!
CTC recommends this production for children ages 8 and up, and I totally agree. The 7-yr-olds were a little too young to really appreciate it, but still understood enough to enjoy it. It is on the longer side – a little over 2 hours including intermission (or “Halftime” as the boys said) – so leave little siblings with a babysitter. And, I would definitely either read the book or Cliff Notes beforehand so your child understands each character. It might even make a fun date night – grab dinner Uptown, hit the show, and prepare yourself to enjoy a magical story filled with song and beautifully artistic sets.
Click here for tickets, show times and more information on CTC’s production of “The Secret Garden.”
When? Now through January 26, 2013
How? You MUST make your reservation online by clicking here to find your nearest participating Chick-fil-A® restaurant.
Smarty Tip: You can register with multiple email addresses – one free breakfast entree per email address.
Thanks, Chick-fil-A® – you know Smarty families live at CFA!
Recently, we had friends over for dinner and we took turns pontificating as we read from “dinner party topics” cards. One of the conversation starters gave me pause: “In order of importance to you, rank the following: faith, love, freedom.” I put love first, faith second and thus freedom fell to the rear.
I talked at length, and with passion and conviction, about what love and faith mean to me. Then, I stumbled over my words when it came to freedom. I was dumbstruck that I didn’t have the words nor the experience to accurately convey what “freedom” meant to me. I don’t know what it’s like not to be free. I’ve never known a life without freedom as I’m blessed to live in a place and time where freedom is simply an “is”…like the air I breathe.
Today, we celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. born on January 15, 1929 and assassinated at age 39 on April 4, 1968.
Martin Luther King, Jr. paid a price for having a dream and this is something to fall on my knees and be humbly grateful and thankful for…to acknowledge him and the legions of men and women who devote their lives to making my freedom an ever present reality and something I can’t separate from simply breathing. Freedom is not free.
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s delivered his best known speech at a march on Washington in 1963, 5 years before he was assassinated. What does freedom mean to you?
I Have a Dream, Martin Luther King, Jr.
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.