Saturday, July 18, 2009

Review: Robert Gadpaille, Mary Anglin, Katie Hall Smith, John Goddard, Ben Maxey, Heather Bryson, Erik Champney, Ryan Williams: A Secret Garden offers terrific voices and ensemble acting at PAC

Robert Gadpaille's protean voice is the centerpiece of a first-rate production of the romantic drama A Secret Garden at the Performing Arts Center, First Methodist. Gadpaille's acting also captures the gravitas appropriate to his role as the aggrieved father.

His energies are matched by spirited teen Mary Anglin, playing his daughter, and by the capable acting and singing of John Goddard, his brother in this tale.

Heather Bryson and Erik Champney both bring first-class voices and smiles to the stage as the housekeeper and the garden lad. Bryson exudes brogue and confidence. Champney almosts bursts with Irish tenor-type vibe. Katie Hall Smith's top-flight voice and stage presence seemed an ideal match to the role sung by Gadpaille.

Benjamin Maxey, another young teen, brings clarity and tunefulness to his role as the lordly cripple.

In the pit is a 15-piece orchestra of first-call musicians under the direction of Carrie Stephens.

A Secret Garden is a dark tale and the music is artfully varied. But tense passages resolve into soaring moments. This is a more sophisticated work than might be expected in a summer musical.

Director Ryan Williams has forged a large cast into a dulcet ensemble that seemed to hit every cue on Friday night.

Two more performances:
7:30 pm Sat, July 18;
2:30 p.m. Sun, July 19.
Performing Arts Center at First United Methodist Church-Shreveport, head of Texas Street.
$18, adults and seniors; $9, children.
Box office, (318) 429-6885, hours are noon to 4 p.m; it's also open one hour prior to curtain on performance days. Say hello to the marvelous Kass Gray.

Alex Kent's review for the Times is here.
See cast snaps at Shreveport Faces.

1 comment:

musiciansforever said...

Thanks, for the review and the gorgeous photos, Robert. Makes me want to wind my way down to the pit again to play all that wonderful music which I will do tonight and then tomorrow afternoon. Anyone who hasn't seen and heard this production, buy your ticket now before the box office has sold out.