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Gerald Carpenter: State Street Ballet Lets Us Into ‘The Secret Garden’

The multimedia extravaganza will be performed Saturday and Sunday in the Granada Theatre

The State Street Ballet, under the inspiring leadership of Rodney Gustafson, will present the world premiere of a ballet-cum-multimedia extravaganza The Secret Garden, based upon Frances Hodgson Burnett’s beloved children’s story, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in the Granada Theatre.

With choreography by Josie Walsh and music by Paul Rivera Jr., The Secret Garden will also feature spectacular video and animated projections created for the ballet by the talented photographer/videographer David Bazemore. As Mary Lennox and Colin Craven — the two children who heal themselves and each other with the magic of the garden — the production will star audience favorites Season Winquest and Ryan Camou.

With its echoes of The Nutcracker and Peter Pan, and its enduring popularity as a story, it seems incredible that this should be the first ballet taken from Burnett’s novel, but apparently it is.

The year 2011 marked the 100th anniversary of the appearance of Burnett’s book, so that probably had a lot to do with reviving the story to the public’s attention. But there have been several notable stagings of the book, and many movies based on it, yet no ballet — until now. How lucky we all are to be around to witness the birth of what seems destined to be a classic.

The Secret Garden is the story of Mary Lennox, who loses her parents to cholera in India and is sent off to live at her uncle’s manor house on the moors of England. She has sealed herself off from the world and has become a fairly unpleasant little girl, but then she discovers a garden on her uncle’s estate that has been locked and neglected. As she makes the garden bloom again, she blossoms herself.

Burnett (1849-1924) wrote herself into considerable wealth with her romantic children’s books such as Little Lord Fauntleroy and A Little Princess, but during her lifetime, The Secret Garden never got on the charts. Since her death, its recovery has been steady and irresistible, and it is now the best-known of all her works.

Tickets to The Secret Garden are priced from $28 to $53, with discounts for students and seniors (children younger than age 12 are $18), and are available through the Granada box office at 1214 State St. or 805.899.2222. Click here to order online.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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