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re: What would it take for a hit revival of THE SECRET GARDEN?
Last Edit: Chromolume 11:07 pm EST 01/01/19
Posted by: Chromolume 11:05 pm EST 01/01/19
In reply to: What would it take for a hit revival of THE SECRET GARDEN? - GrumpyMorningBoy 05:31 pm EST 12/31/18

For starters, with today's ADD-fueled children, I do think they'd need to make some cuts to the songs that are a bit incidental. ("It's A Maze," "Come Spirit, Come Charm," some of the ensemble singing like the "Storm" sequences).

There were a number of changes made to the score by the time the tour was happening (and I think I've been told that at least some of them were put into the Broadway show at some point as well). The changes are in the published vocal score and rental materials. "It's A Maze" is practically a different song, and the arrangement of "Come Spirit" is also somewhat different from what's on the recording. "I Heard Someone Crying" has a big, dramatic ending now instead of the austere, sad ending on the recording. But I'm not sure these changes reduce the running time much. (Wasn't it the Australian production, also recorded, that did do a lot of cutting and restructuring, with the writers' participation?)

But frankly, if kids can make it through the (IMO) way overstuffed Lion King, (halfway through Act II I was absolutely B.O.R.E.D and really exhausted from what by that point felt like an ever-trying-too-hard-to-impress eye-candy set) this show shouldn't be a problem lol. The ultimate problem, as I mentioned before, is that structurally, too much of the musical, perhaps, is spent on the adults' stories - the rivalry between the brothers, for instance, gives us the phenomenal "Lily's Eyes" and other numbers like that Act II Quartet and Craven's "Disappear" reprise, but these songs make the show feel like much more of a classic epic romance more than anything else. For a younger audience, if anything, I think the show really would need MORE of the cantankerous Ben in "Maze," or the magic of Dickon and songs like "Come Spirit," and less of moping Archie (gorgeous as his songs are) and the family's problems. Not that kids can't love a great romantic story as well, but you know what I mean.

However, NO ONE should EVER cut at least the first section of "Storm" music - the one that leads into "Lily's Eyes." One of my favorite bits of music in the show. (Especially the latter half of it, with that trumpet outburst that leads to the huge, dramatic choral wail that gradually fades into the duet - gives me chills every time!)
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