The Secret Garden
Show Dates: June 27-29, July 3, 5, & 6,
and July 11-13 @ 7:30 pm except Sundays @ 2 pm
About the Cast and the Characters
Mary (lead role) is Ella Holter, a fifth grade student at Warren Elementary. Ella has experience on stage through school productions and years of KidsAct summer musical camps.
Archibald Craven is Michael Halloran of Montpelier. Michael teaches Musical Theater at Johnson State College, and has acted and directed with the Valley Players in the past.
Colin Cravin, the son is played by Sam Watson of Montpelier who, at the age of 10, already has experience in school plays and local community productions including Shakespeare.
Chayah Lichtig, of Middlesex, plays the part of Lily Craven, the wife of Archibald who died years ago in childbirth. A classically trained opera singer, Chayah is currently employed as an occupational therapist.
Archibald’s brother, Dr. Neville Craven, is played by Jack Bradt, Winooski, who was last on stage at the Valley Players as The Chairman in The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
The household at Misselthwaite includes:
The housekeeper Mrs. Medlock, played by Rosemary Smith, of Fayston, who played an entirely different type of housekeeper in her last role with the Valley Players as Frau Blucher in Young Frankenstein.
Martha, a housemaid who helps Mary with some friendly advice in song, is played by Sarah McDougal, a native of Warren and involved in many Valley Players productions in front of and behind the stage.
Mary's spirited, nature-loving brother Dickon is played by Jeffrey Parry of Northfield, who is a former student at Berkely College of Music and currently a student at Goodard College.
Two young members of the housekeeping staff are played by Riley Smith, a fourth grade Fayston elementary student, and Maddie Commo, an eighth grade student at Harwood who lives in Fayston. Both Maddie and Riley were last on the Valley Players’ stage in A Christmas Story, and Riley was a young monster and shoeshine boy in Young Frankenstein. Allie Brooks, of Warren, is also one of the household children. She is in the fourth grade at Warren Elementary and has also participated in Kids Act and school plays.
The musical begins with a scene in India, where many of the people in Mary’s life contract cholera and become The Dreamers.
Mary’s mother, Rose, is played by Erin MacIntyre, who last appeared on the Valley Players’ stage as Grace Farrell in the 2000 production of the musical Annie, and has since been a resident of New York City, attending the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. She recently relocated to Montpelier.
Lieutenant Peter Wright, an officer in Mary’s father’s unit in India, is played by Curtis Wilcox, Fayston, a sophomore at Harwood Union High School who is also involved with Harwood’s production of Thoroughly Modern Millie.
Playing the role of the Fakir is Emily Fullerton, an operations manager at True North and resident of Warren.
Mary’s Indian nanny is played by Cynthia Seckler, of Fayston, who is also the co-producer of the show.
Marie Schmukel, Warren, who has been in several Valley Players’ productions including Working and Chamber Music, plays the role of Claire Holmes, and Ruth Ann Pattee (Warren), plays Mrs. Shelley. Both of these characters are wives of officer’s in the India Unit and have become Dreamers.
Vincent Broderick of Montpelier will play the role of Major Holmes, also a Dreamer. Vincent last appeared on stage in The TenFest at the Valley Players Theater.
Michelle Nucci, also of Fayston, is playing the role of Mrs. Winthrop, a headmistress who is enlisted to get Mary to attend school. Michelle also appeared in Young Frankenstein in the ensemble and as a student and as Sasha.
The Director is Jeanne Beckwith, Northfield, who currently teaches English at Norwich University and is also an established playwright. Her plays have been performed in Vermont, New York City and as far away as Istanbul. She is also the producer of TenFest with the Vermont Playwrights Circle. A festival of short plays by Vermont playwrights which will be showing here in August.
Jeanne is assisted by Irene Bishay, Montpelier, who recently graduated from St. Michaels and has a background in theater and technology.
The musical Director is Daniel Bruce of Montpelier. Daniel was the musical director for the Valley Players production of Young Frankentein and many other Valley Players productions. He is also the Music Director of the Burlington Civic Symphony, the Amateur Musicians Orchestra, and teaches at Peoples’ Academy.
Ruth Ann Pattee and Cynthia Seckler are the co-producers. Ruth Ann is also the Director of KidsACT children’s theater classes and camps held at the Valley Players. She and Cynthia have worked together in the past on Side by Side by Sondheim and Oliver and have been on stage as fellow actors as well.
Betty McCaffrey has also been the front of house manager for many Valley Players productions and will contribute again to The Secret Garden by making sure the ticket sellers, ushers and refreshments are ready for the performances.
The stage manager is Joanne Puente who has experience as a stage manager with many Valley Players productions including Working, Same Time Next Year and Musical Comedy Murders of 1940. She also manages and performs with the Vermont Fiddle Orchestra.