The Secret Garden | Lake Forest Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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Dustin Rothbart

The Secret Garden 

When: Fridays-Sundays. Continues through July 2 2016
Price: $49
lakeforesttheatre.com
There can't be many companies that choose to make their debut on a good-size proscenium stage, performing a conceptually tricky Broadway musical in a manner that requires period dress, a 24-member cast, and a 15-piece orchestra. So the folks at Lake Forest Theatre deserve points for daring to go big on this 1991 work by Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon, about a ten-year-old British girl—raised in the Raj and orphaned by a cholera epidemic—who finds herself consigned to the bleak Yorkshire estate owned by her Uncle Archibald. Still, director Steve Malone might've done better to start small. Although he's populated his cast with competent artists, Malone's use of them is alternately muddy, static, or puzzling. And his decision to keep the orchestra out of sight defeats the benefits of its size: the piped-in music sounds prerecorded. It doesn't help that, as Archibald, Edward Fraim seems forced to sing outside his range. —Tony Adler

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