The 2017 5th Avenue Awards Nominees Are…

2017-5thave_awards_600x300_Nominations

 

Congratulations to all of our hard working high schoolers and educators on another fantastic year of musicals! Here are the nominees for this year’s 5th Avenue Award nominations. We hope to see you at the ceremony at Benaroya Hall on June 12!

Outstanding Overall Musical

Eastmont High School, The Addams Family—A New Musical Comedy

Kamiak High School, Footloose

Lewis and Clark High School, Meredith Willson’s The Music Man

Redmond High School, Chicago

Shorecrest High School, Bring It On The Musical

Stadium High School, Hairspray

Tahoma High School, Ghost the Musical

Walla Walla High School, Big Fish

Honorable Mention

Hanford High School, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific

Outstanding Direction

Camas High School, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Chelan High School, Disney’s The Lion King JR

Eastmont High School, The Addams Family—A New Musical Comedy

Hanford High School, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific

Kamiak High School, Footloose

Lewis and Clark High School, Meredith Willson’s The Music Man

Tahoma High School, Ghost the Musical

Walla Walla High School, Big Fish

Honorable Mention

Meadowdale High School, Thoroughly Modern Millie

Prairie High School, Catch Me If You Can

Roosevelt High School, Medea/Macbeth/Cinderella

Sammamish High School, Shrek The Musical

Stadium High School, Hairspray

Sunnyside High School, Zombie Prom

Thomas Jefferson High School, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Timberline High School, Young Frankenstein

Outstanding Music Direction

Hanford High School, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific

Kamiak High School, Footloose

Olympia High School, The Pirates of Penzance

The Overlake School, Big Fish

Redmond High School, Chicago

Shorecrest High School, Bring It On The Musical

Stadium High School, Hairspray

Tahoma High School, Ghost the Musical

Honorable Mention

Camas High School, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Edmonds Heights K-12, Jane Eyre

Inglemoor High School, Annie

Prairie High School, Catch Me If You Can

Sequim High School, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Thomas Jefferson High School, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

University High School, Legally Blonde The Musical

Walla Walla High School, Big Fish

Outstanding Choreography

Capital High School, Grease

Kamiak High School, Footloose

Kentridge High School, A Year with Frog and Toad

Lewis and Clark High School, Meredith Willson’s The Music Man

Redmond High School, Chicago

Ridgefield High School, Urinetown

Shorecrest High School, Bring It On The Musical

Walla Walla High School, Big Fish

Honorable Mention

Auburn Riverside High School, 42nd Street

Camas High School, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Clarkston High School, Singin’ in the Rain

Ferndale High School, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Ingraham High School, Hairspray

Prairie High School, Catch Me If You Can

Sequim High School, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Tahoma High School, Ghost the Musical

Timberline High School, Young Frankenstein

Woodinville High School,  Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

Outstanding Orchestra

Camas High School, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Hanford High School, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific

Kamiak High School, Footloose

Meadowdale High School, Thoroughly Modern Millie

Redmond High School, Chicago

Stadium High School, Hairspray

Tahoma High School, Ghost the Musical

Walla Walla High School, Big Fish

Honorable Mention

Auburn Riverside High School, 42nd Street

Bellarmine Preparatory School, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas

HM Jackson High School, Hot Mikado

Liberty High School, Meredith Willson’s The Music Man

Monroe High School, Little Women

Roosevelt High School, Medea/Macbeth/Cinderella

Shorecrest High School, Bring It On The Musical

WF West High School, The Lady Pirates of Captain Bree

Outstanding Scenic Design

Auburn High School, Hairspray

Hanford High School, Seussical

Kentlake High School, A Christmas Story, The Musical

Lewis and Clark High School, Meredith Willson’s The Music Man

Lincoln High School, Hairspray

Sequim High School, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Skyline High School, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

Walla Walla High School, Big Fish

Honorable Mention

Camas High School, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Capital High School, Grease

Eastmont High School, The Addams Family–A New Musical Comedy

Eisenhower High School, Guys and Dolls

Enumclaw High School, Urinetown

Everett High School, Disney’s The Little Mermaid

Gig Harbor High School, My Fair Lady

The Overlake School, Big Fish

Redmond High School, Chicago

Sultan High School, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Outstanding Lighting Design

Auburn High School, Hairspray

Eastmont High School, The Addams Family–A New Musical Comedy

Everett High School, Disney’s The Little Mermaid

Kamiak High School, Footloose

The Overlake School, Big Fish

Redmond High School, Chicago

Roosevelt High School, Medea/Macbeth/Cinderella

Shorecrest High School, Bring It On The Musical

Sultan High School, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Honorable Mention

Ballard High School, Les Misérables

Camas High School, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Kentlake High School, Sister Act

Lewis & Clark High School, Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach

Meadowdale High School, Thoroughly Modern Millie

Sammamish High School, Shrek The Musical

Sunnyside High School, Disney’s The Little Mermaid

Tahoma High School, Ghost the Musical

Walla Walla High School, Big Fish

Outstanding Costume Design

Capital High School, Grease

Chelan High School, Disney’s The Lion King JR

Everett High School, Disney’s The Little Mermaid

Kentridge High School, A Year with Frog and Toad

Lewis and Clark High School, Meredith Willson’s The Music Man

Prairie High School, Catch Me If You Can

Redmond High School, Chicago

Thomas Jefferson High School, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Honorable Mention

Blaine High School, Seussical

Camas High School, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Gig Harbor High School, My Fair Lady

Kentlake High School, A Christmas Story, The Musical

Lincoln High School, Hairspray

Mount Si High School, Pippin

Newport High School, Guys and Dolls

Sunnyside High School, Zombie Prom

Woodinville High School, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

Outstanding Hair and Makeup Design

Edmonds Heights K-12, The Addams Family–A New Musical Comedy

Everett High School, Disney’s The Little Mermaid

Hanford High School, Seussical

Kentridge High School, The Wiz

Lewis & Clark High School, Meredith Willson’s The Music Man

Marysville-Pilchuck High School, Shrek The Musical

Sultan High School, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

University High School, Legally Blonde The Musical

Honorable Mention

Camas High School, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Ferris High School, The Addams Family—A New Musical Comedy

Inglemoor High School, Annie

Mount Rainier High School, The Addams Family—A New Musical Comedy

Roosevelt High School, Medea/Macbeth/Cinderella

Skyline High School, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

Stadium High School, Hairspray

Timberline High School, Young Frankenstein

Woodinville High School, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

Outstanding Stage Crew

Auburn High School, Hairspray

Auburn Riverside High School, 42nd Street

Eastmont High School, The Addams Family–A New Musical Comedy

Kamiak High School, Footloose

Kentlake High School, A Christmas Story, The Musical

Lewis & Clark High School, Meredith Willson’s The Music Man

The Overlake School, Big Fish

Stadium High School, Hairspray

Honorable Mention

Camas High School, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Gig Harbor High School, My Fair Lady

Liberty High School, Meredith Willson’s The Music Man

Meadowdale High School, Thoroughly Modern Millie

Shorecrest High School, Bring It On The Musical

Sultan High School, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Timberline High School, Young Frankenstein

Walla Walla High School, Big Fish

Outstanding Lobby Display

Blaine High School, Seussical

Edmonds Heights K-12, The Addams Family–A New Musical Comedy

Everett High School, Disney’s The Little Mermaid

HM Jackson High School, Hot Mikado

Lake Stevens High School, Meredith Willson’s The Music Man

Liberty High School, Meredith Willson’s The Music Man

Newport High School, Guys and Dolls

Sunnyside High School, Zombie Prom

Honorable Mention

Eastlake High School, Urinetown

East Valley High School, Donovan’s Daughters

Glacier Peak High School, The Wizard of Oz

Kamiak High School, Footloose

Lincoln High School, Hairspray

Marysville-Pilchuck High School, Shrek The Musical

Snohomish High School, Les Misérables

Tahoma High School, Ghost the Musical

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Brooke Multrum as Ella, Camas High School, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Sierra Hutton as Miss Adelaide, Eisenhower High School, Guys and Dolls

Lauren Carlos as Ariel Moore, Kamiak High School, Footloose

Aly Gutierrez as Jo March, Monroe High School, Little Women

Julie Guinasso as Miss Adelaide, Newport High School, Guys and Dolls

Lily Ray as Hope Cladwell, Ridgefield High School, Urinetown

Jessica Furnstahl as Elle, Sumner High School, Legally Blonde The Musical

Morgan Roberts as Molly, Tahoma High School, Ghost the Musical

Honorable Mention

Madison Schimpf as Miss Adelaide, Arlington High School, Guys and Dolls

Haley Hauser as Eliza Doolittle, Gig Harbor High School, My Fair Lady

Caroline Slater as Marian, Lewis and Clark High School, Meredith Willson’s The Music Man

Maya McQueen as Sandra Bloom The Overlake School, Big Fish

Elizabeth Dunn as Rose Fenny, River Ridge High School, Dogfight

Alegra Batara as Campbell, Shorecrest High School, Bring It On The Musical

Crina Snyder as Fiona, Tahoma Jr High School, Shrek The Musical

Mesgana Yosief as Belle, Woodinville High School, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Skyler Denfeld as Gomez, Battle Ground High School, The Addams Family–A New Musical Comedy

Mitchell Beard as Ren McCormack, Kamiak High School, Footloose

Skyler Verity as Frank Abagnale, Jr, Prairie High School, Catch Me If You Can

Calvin Lieurance as Officer Lockstock, Ridgefield High School, Urinetown

Charlie Stevens as Gomez, Rogers High School, The Addams Family–A New Musical Comedy

Matthew Hervey as Shrek, Sammamish High School, Shrek The Musical

Silas Baird as Adam Pontipee, Sequim High School, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Sam Bennett as Sam Wheat, Tahoma High School, Ghost the Musical

Honorable Mention

Diego Roberts Buceta as Jean Valjean, Ballard High School, Les Misérables

Kameron Bustetter as Danny, Capital High School, Grease

Will Johnson as Henry Higgins, Gig Harbor High School, My Fair Lady

Alex Splattstoesser as Emile de Becque, Hanford High School, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific

Dylan Sabine as Eddie Flagrante, Lake Washington High School, Zombie Prom

MJ Smith as Harold Hill, Lewis and Clark High School, Meredith Willson’s The Music Man

Alex Kilian as Pippin, Mount Si High School, Pippin

Riley O’Shea as Jean Valjean, Snohomish High School, Les Misérables

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Analei Holt as Mother Abbess, Aberdeen High School, The Sound of Music

Sophie Bustetter as Jan, Capital High School, Grease

Tea’Ning LaFleur as Alice Beineke, Eastmont High School, The Addams Family–A New Musical Comedy

Amanda Ades as Sister Mary Robert, Kentlake High School, Sister Act

Maleah Haverly as Marmee, Monroe High School, Little Women

Kat Rodriguez as Danielle, Shorecrest High School, Bring It On The Musical

Michaela Bringham as Motormouth Maybelle, Stadium High School, Hairspray

Regina Bower as Aunt Eller, Zillah High School, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

Honorable Mention

Addison Holloman as Little Sally, Eastlake High School, Urinetown

Darian Conn as Mrs. Fairfax, Edmonds Heights K-12, Jane Eyre

Camie Randall as Winifred, Hockinson High School, Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins

Emily Vaughan as Ethel McCormack, Kamiak High School, Footloose

Angelica Hines as Evillene, Kentridge High School, The Wiz

Elle Fisher as Miss Dorothy, Meadowdale High School, Thoroughly Modern Millie

Paris Elliott as Brenda Strong, Prairie High School, Catch Me If You Can

Jaidyn Lam as Linda, Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences, The Wedding Singer

Hailey Phipps as Inga, Timberline High School, Young Frankenstein

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Ryan Mayfield as Madame, Camas High School, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Tristin Nelson as Caldwell B. Cladwell, Enumclaw High School, Urinetown

Caden Brauch as Rooster, Inglemoor High School, Annie

Jeff LaSorella as Willard, Kamiak High School, Footloose

Nolan Gunter as The Wiz, Kentridge High School, The Wiz

James Fahey as Farquaad, Sammamish High School, Shrek The Musical

Alex Nguyen as Wilbur, Stadium High School, Hairspray

Max Tammen as Gaston, Woodinville High School, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

Honorable Mention

Ammon Palmer as Benny, Burlington-Edison High School, In the Heights

Alberto Lechuga as Nicely Nicely, Eisenhower High School, Guys and Dolls

Micah Robertson as Lord Sebastian, Ferndale High School, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Tru Stites as Lt. Cable, Hanford High School, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific

Max Kendall as Snail, Kentridge High School, A Year with Frog and Toad

Nathan Vincenti as Donkey, Sammamish High School, Shrek The Musical

Raviv Cohen as Ali Hakim, Skyline High School, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

Jacob Polley as Lord Sebastian, Sultan High School, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Featured Ensemble Role

Jade Guillory as Alma Hix, Lake Stevens High School, Meredith Willson’s The Music Man

Emmaline Savidge as Pinocchio, Marysville-Pilchuck High School, Shrek The Musical

Cassidy Huff as Grandmama, Mount Rainier High School, The Addams Family–A New Musical Comedy

Kennedi Bartell as Ethel Toffelmeier, Omak High School, Meredith Willson’s The Music Man

Betsy Button as Jenny Hill, The Overlake School, Big Fish

Angela Rozema as Bridget, Shorecrest High School, Bring It On The Musical

Jade Hill as Little Inez, Stadium High School, Hairspray

Katie Payne as The Witch, Walla Walla High School, Big Fish

Honorable Mention

Denver Rogers as Andie, Auburn Riverside High School, 42nd Street

Olivia Elliott as Helen, Edmonds Heights K-12, Jane Eyre

Lucy Guyer as Brooke, Everett High School, Legally Blonde The Musical

Katie Orr as Molly, Inglemoor High School, Annie

Brittney Cash as Madame De Le Grande Bouche, Squalicum High School, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

Abby Brooks as Guard, Stadium High School, Hairspray

Taylor Johnson as Grandmama, Stanwood High School, The Addams Family–A New Musical Comedy

Lexie Love as Dragon, Tahoma Jr High School, Shrek The Musical

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Featured Ensemble Role

Clayton Lukens as Lord Pinkleton, Camas High School, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Austin Ipsen as Chef Louis, Everett High School, Disney’s The Little Mermaid

Trevyn Wong as Henry/Sailor, Hanford High School, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific

Simon Jones as Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Inglemoor High School, Annie

Matthew Silva as Monsignor O’Hara, Kentlake High School, Sister Act

Jake Mangino as Sergeant of Police, Olympia High School, The Pirates of Penzance

Nick Griep as Grandmaster Chad, University High School, Legally Blonde The Musical

Peter Hoffman as Ensemble Dancer, Walla Walla High School, Big Fish

Honorable Mention

Carlos Roques as Sonny, Burlington-Edison High School, In the Heights

Robert Jones as Harry/Zoltan, Gig Harbor High School, My Fair Lady

Emilio Torres as Gatekeeper, Kentridge High School, The Wiz

Robert Clifton as James, Klahowya Secondary School, Disney’s High School Musical

Will Matney as Zeke Baylor, Klahowya Secondary School, Disney’s High School Musical

Tiger Trac as Principal/Spritzer/Mr. Pinkey/The Flasher, Lincoln High School, Hairspray

Bailey DePuis as Hotel Manager/Dr. Wanamaker, Prairie High School, Catch Me If You Can

Austin Fuentes as Bidwell, WF West High School, The Lady Pirates of Captain Bree

Mason Bower as Andrew Carnes, Zillah High School, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

Outstanding Performance by an Actor or Actress in a Non-Singing Role

Dylan Rivers as Ralph Sheldrake, Bellarmine Preparatory School, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas

Elli Vegdahl-Crowell as Zazu, Chelan High School, Disney’s The Lion King JR

Kanako Kawabe as Liat, Hanford High School, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific

Sierra Noble as Betty Blast, Kamiak High School, Footloose

Collin Snell as Narrator/Jean Shephard, Kentlake High School, A Christmas Story, The Musical

Maddy Coots as Mrs. Darbus, Klahowya Secondary School, Disney’s High School Musical

Lucy Price as Dream Laurey, Skyline High School, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

Malachi Ryan as Charlie Cowell, West Valley High School, Meredith Willson’s The Music Man

Honorable Mention

Amaya Udagar as Dora Bailey, Bonney Lake High School, Singin’ in the Rain

Caleb MacDuff, Captain Brackett (Understudy), Hanford High School, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific

Tristen Yepez as Principal Clerk, Kamiak High School, Footloose

Tornadoes and Poppies, Kentridge High School, The Wiz

Garrett Betzing as Jack Scott, Klahowya Secondary School, Disney’s High School Musical

Ben Broughton as MC, Redmond High School, Chicago

Hannah Fredericksen as the Moon, Rogers High School, The Addams Family–A New Musical Comedy

Marcello Russo as Harry Spritzer, Stadium High School, Hairspray

Spencer Hawkins as Kyle, University High School, Legally Blonde The Musical

Outstanding Performance by a Chorus

Hanford High School, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific

Kamiak High School, Footloose

Lewis and Clark High School, Meredith Willson’s The Music Man

The Overlake School, Big Fish

Prairie High School, Catch Me If You Can

Shorecrest High School, Bring It On The Musical

Timberline High School, Young Frankenstein

Walla Walla High School, Big Fish

Honorable Mention

Auburn Riverside High School, 42nd Street

Camas High School, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Eastlake High School, Urinetown

Eastmont High School, The Addams Family—A New Musical Comedy

Edmonds Heights K-12, Jane Eyre

Kentridge High School, A Year with Frog and Toad

Olympia High School, The Pirates of Penzance

Redmond High School, Chicago

Stadium High School, Hairspray

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble Group

Bun Foo and Ching Ho, Cashmere High School, Thoroughly Modern Millie

Flotsam and Jetsam, Everett High School, Disney’s The Little Mermaid

The Corny Collins’ Council Members, Ingraham High School, Hairspray

The Birds, Kentridge High School, A Year with Frog and Toad

The School Board Quartet, Lewis and Clark High School, Meredith Willson’s The Music Man

The Cell Block Girls, Redmond High School, Chicago

The Brothers, Sequim High School, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

The School Board Quartet, West Valley High School, Meredith Willson’s The Music Man

Honorable Mention

The Wedding Band, Decatur High School, The Wedding Singer

The Rebels, Eastlake High School, Urinetown

The Wedding Guests, Franklin High School, The Wedding Singer

The Orphans, Inglemoor High School, Annie

The March Sisters, Monroe High School, Little Women

The Motorwise Guys, Mountlake Terrace High School, Zombie Prom

The Rebels, Ridgefield High School, Urinetown

The Urchins, Tumwater, Little Shop of Horrors

The Greek Chorus, University High School, Legally Blonde The Musical

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble Cast

Anacortes High School, Avenue Q School Edition

Grandview High School, Hollywood Hillbillies

Roosevelt High School, Medea/Macbeth/Cinderella

Special Honors: Educational Impact

Chelan High School, Disney’s The Lion King JR

Hanford High School, Seussical

Peninsula High School, Fiddler on the Roof

Stadium High School, Hairspray

Sunnyside High School, Disney’s The Little Mermaid

Wenatchee High School, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas

Special Honors: Student Achievement

AC Davis High School                                   Naomi Rottman

Auburn Riverside High School                       McKenna Webb

Ballard High School                                       Alex Howell

Bellarmine Preparatory School                       Elizabeth Blodgett

Cashmere High School                                   Hope Erdmann

Edmonds Heights K-12                                  Sophie Burnett

Eisenhower High School                                Citlali Mendez

Ingraham High School                                    Aidyn Stevens

Issaquah High School                                     Julia Lilly

Kentridge High School                                   Marie Gonzalez

Meadowdale High School                              Conor McLaughlin

Mercer Island High School                             Tessa Czech

The Overlake School                                       Elle Parks

Ridgefield High School                                  Michaela Cloyd

Sammamish High School                                Matthew Hervey

Stadium High School                                      Abby Miller

Tahoma Jr. High School                                  Alyssa Burkhead

Timberline High School                                  Melissa Martin

Wenatchee High School                                 Abby Phipps

Yelm High School                                          Sybil Kappert

Special Honor: Outstanding Educators

Briane Green, University High School

Greg Pschirrer, Lewis and Clark High School

Special Honor: Outstanding Parent Support

Dave Neumayer, Hanford High School


We apologize for any typos or misspellings. For corrections, please email ccorrick@5thavenue.org.

Find out more about 5th Avenue Awards here.

The Secret Garden and Frances Hodgson Burnett

By GRETCHEN H. GERZINA for D.C.’s Shakespeare Theatre Company

Few people realize that The Secret Garden, the book that most readers associate with Frances Hodgson Burnett, was only one of the 53 novels she wrote and published, and that most of her books were for adults, not children. Although she had a lifetime love for children and gardens, she would be amazed to know that this book, which began as a magazine serial late in her life, is the one for which she is most remembered today— even though it was one that was closest to her heart.

Frances Hodgson Burnett’s love affair with gardens began when she was a small child living in Manchester, England. In 1852, when she was just three, her family moved to St. Luke’s Terrace, which backed onto fields owned by the Earl of Derby, leading Frances to recall it later in life as the “back garden of Eden.” She remembered it as a place of gardens and perpetual summer, where a small child could daydream beneath the trees and beside the flowers, ignoring the industrial city that surrounded this suburb of light and air. There were farms and country cottages close by and she became friendly with a family of market gardeners who kept pigs. Just a year later, however, her father, Edwin Hodgson, died, and his widow and five children embarked upon a decade of moving house, each time to a slightly less desirable neighborhood. Each move took Burnett further and further away from gardens, until in 1865, her mother decided to make the riskiest move of all: to join her rogue of a brother, who boasted of his accomplishments in America, in the American South during the last months of the Civil War. There the Hodgson family found itself ensconced in an unexpected place: a log cabin in a very small town outside of Knoxville, Tennessee. There, but for the generosity of their neighbors, they would have starved.

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Their financial difficulties were quite real, but young Fanny (a name she quickly abandoned) found Tennessee a true Garden of Eden after the pollution of Manchester and the smuts that floated down like snow from its factory chimneys.

She had read in the back of ladies’ magazines that they paid money for stories and, having invented them for her friends back in England, she thought she might take a chance at being paid to write. The first story she sent came back with comments, but instead of revising she mailed it again to another magazine. The editor was puzzled and surprised to find an accomplished work with an English setting coming out of Tennessee; was she English or American? That evening she sat down and wrote a second one for him. Both stories were accepted immediately, and with the check that arrived she launched a career that saw her eventually become America’s highest-paid woman writer. She was only 18 and none of her work was ever rejected.

By 1886, Frances had married a Tennessee doctor, had two sons and had written the blockbuster novel Little Lord Fauntleroy—her 18th novel, which made her hugely famous on both sides of the Atlantic. Now as Frances Hodgson Burnett she had money of her own, and bought, in cash, a 17-room house in Washington, D.C. From the moment of its first appearance as a serial in Saint Nicholas Magazine to its publication as a book a year later in 1886, Fauntleroy became a household name. Largely forgotten or ridiculed today, it was the Harry Potter of its day. The image of a sturdy and very masculine little boy in a velveteen jacket shot around the world and was to haunt her son Vivian, from whose photograph it was taken, for the rest of his days. The story—and the plays and films it spawned—started a fashion craze that mothers loved and boys hated, as they were forced into wide lace collars and long curls, probably not helped when girls were always given the stage and film role.

Even though writing was how she had to make her living, it also enabled her to travel, buy beautiful clothes and furnish houses in England and America. However, Burnett was not only a writer of novels and stories, she was also a producer of plays. Thirteen of her works appeared in West End theaters in London and on Broadway, generally written and produced by her. Prescient enough to understand the increasing role of movies, she later built clauses guaranteeing her the film rights to her books. It’s fascinating, therefore, that The Secret Garden did not become a stage musical or a popular film until late in the twentieth century, although apparently a now-lost film was made in 1919, five years before Burnett’s death.

 

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Although writing and gardening could not shield her from life’s tragedies, they did help her get through some of her life’s greatest sorrows. When her 16-yearold son Lionel tragically died of tuberculosis in her arms in Paris in 1890, she had his casket covered in violets. When her second marriage ended—a marriage that she was probably blackmailed into by a young English doctor and aspiring actor ten years her junior—she and her sister Edith retreated to a house that would become Frances’s most cherished home: Maytham Hall, in Rolvenden, Kent, which she first leased after her divorce from her American husband.

Rumors always surrounded her and there were plenty of reasons for her wanting to escape. From the time that Little Lord Fauntleroy first made her famous, she was constantly in the press and in the public eye. She crossed the Atlantic 33 times in her lifetime, and whenever one of the ships she traveled on docked, she was met by a crowd of newspaper and magazine reporters who wanted to know about her difficult health, her latest book and her love life. When she filed for divorce, her lawyer made sure she was safely on board a ship heading for England before serving the papers. Gardens were, for her, a retreat.

At Maytham, she had set up an outdoor study, with a table and chair under the trees near the rose garden, and wrote each morning in the company of a robin that grew tame, the later inspiration for Mary Lennox’s robin in The Secret Garden, which was, in fact, written in America. When she moved back to America for good she built a beautiful house with spacious gardens in Plandome on Long Island, and next door built a cottage for her surviving son Vivian and his family. As she grew older she spent her winters in Bermuda with her sister Edith and kept a full-time gardener.

Burnett claimed that The Secret Garden was the first children’s story to appear in an adult magazine. The first installment made its appearance in The American Magazine late in 1910. She wrote to her friend Ella Hepworth Dixon after the story’s serial publication that “it was our Rose Garden as it would have been locked up for years and years and years—and some hungry children had found it. You cannot think how everyone loves that story. People write to me with a sort of passion of it.”

The Secret Garden begins and ends in gardens, one a garden of death in India, and the other a garden of revitalization and resurrection in England. Burnett believed to the end of her own life in the healing and resurrecting power of gardens. The last chapter of The Secret Garden is called “In the Garden,” and the last thing that Burnett wrote, on her deathbed, was a magazine article by the same name. As in The Secret Garden, she always saw gardens as places of healing and return to health.

After she died, the little article was republished as a book, with watercolor pictures and photographs of her own gardens at Plandome. It ends with the words that have come to symbolize her other life’s work: “As long as one has a garden one has a future,” she wrote, “and as long as one has a future one is alive.”


Artwork by Becky Kelley.

This article originally appeared in ASIDES, the production program and publication of the Shakespeare Theatre Company. Visit ShakespeareTheatre.org/Asides to learn more.

Click here to read more about and purchase tickets to The Secret Garden.

Q & A: An Interview with Secret Garden Dialect Coach Lisa Nathans

We chatted with Lisa Nathans, the voice/text and dialect coach for The Secret Garden, to find out more about what a dialect coach does and what are some challenging aspects of the dialects in the show. Read more below!

Continue reading “Q & A: An Interview with Secret Garden Dialect Coach Lisa Nathans”

Marsha Norman: Cultivator of a Theatrical Garden

By HANNAH HESSEL RATNER, Audience Enrichment Manager at D.C.’s Shakespeare Theatre Company

Marsha Norman is on a mission. The award-winning playwright’s career has covered Broadway, Hollywood and numerous theatres worldwide. Her accolades include a Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award® and, in 2016, the Dramatists Guild Career Achievement Award. She has co-directed the playwriting program at Julliard for nearly a quarter of a century. And at this point in her career she is determined to tell the story of women.

Continue reading “Marsha Norman: Cultivator of a Theatrical Garden”

Whodunit?

By ALBERT EVANS, 5th Avenue Artistic Associate

A cloud obscures the moon. A window shatters. A woman screams. Silence. Then…a car speeds away.

There has been a murder!

Never fear: the Great Detective is on the case, aided by a faithful but slightly befuddled companion.

Through the Detective’s keen powers of deduction and extensive knowledge of ceramics, pipe tobaccos, etc., the time has come to pin the crime on the perpetrator. All the suspects are brought together in one room to answer the question on everyone’s mind—

WHODUNIT?

Continue reading “Whodunit?”

Behind the Curtain: Rising Star Project Rehearsal

We’re lucky to be part of an amazing group of students participating in Rising Star Project: The Pajama Game. Everyone from acting students to administration students have been collaborating to ensure that the project runs smoothly and that the outcome is unforgettable for all of us. We are so excited to show you what we’ve been working on. We can’t wait to see you come and support this product on which we’ve all been working so hard. — Marketing Students Eliana Coe and Yvonne Mmata Continue reading “Behind the Curtain: Rising Star Project Rehearsal”

Creating Common Ground: Reflections on the First Day of Rising Star Project’s Empowering Young Artists Initiative (EYAI)

about-rspIn 1996, August Wilson famously stated: “We can meet on the common ground of the American theater.” He also insisted that “we must develop the ground together.”

These are the words that I can’t help but recall as I sit on the floor of our rehearsal studio surrounded by 19 young performers— the inaugural cohort of the Empowering Young Artists Initiative (EYAI)—as they meet together for the first time. Continue reading “Creating Common Ground: Reflections on the First Day of Rising Star Project’s Empowering Young Artists Initiative (EYAI)”

The Seven-and-a-Half Cent Solution: The Birth of the Labor Movement in America

By Gretchen Douma, Arts Writer

In 1955, The Pajama Game took home the Tony Award for Best Musical. Who would have thought that a musical humorously focusing on the labor troubles at a pajama factory would have been such a success?

But consider this. That same year, the two most powerful unions in the United States merged. The American Federation of Labor, founded in 1886 and the Committee for Industrial Organization, founded in 1935 joined forces to become the AFL-CIO, working to expand the country’s union movement and to more effectively champion workers’ rights. So maybe a musical about labor relations was a concept whose time had come. Continue reading “The Seven-and-a-Half Cent Solution: The Birth of the Labor Movement in America”

Fostering and Supporting New Works with NextFest

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This past October, The 5th presented NextFest, its second annual Festival for New Works. Eleven new projects were introduced during the three week festival, at varying levels of evolution, from cold table reads and writing intensives to week-long workshops complete with writers, actors and creative members working together to revise and improve new musicals. Continue reading “Fostering and Supporting New Works with NextFest”

Rising Star Project Orientation: Students From Across the State Gather!

In early December, the 2016/17 Rising Star Project cohort came together for the first time. This orientation was a chance for the teens to meet and to begin learning what it takes to put up a musical at The 5th. This year’s cohort will include over 90 students who will be mentored by 5th Avenue staff and who will also mount an all-teen production of The Pajama Game on our stage in March 2017 (after the professional production closes).

This year’s Rising Star Project brings students together from as far away as Yakima and Marysville and as near as Rainier Valley and West Seattle.

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Orientation included a tour of the historic venue where the students will be working and learning in the coming months. Continue reading “Rising Star Project Orientation: Students From Across the State Gather!”