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Fremont troupe opens 'The Secret Garden' Saturday

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Mandy Burris and Kayla Hunter appear in a scene from the Fremont Community Theatre production of 'The Secret Garden,' opening Saturday.

MITCHELL ANTESKY Enlarge

FREMONT -- An orphaned child discovers a beautiful place that changes her demeanor and the lives of those around her in The Secret Garden, opening Saturday at Fremont Community Theatre.

This musical, based on the English classic novel of the same name written by Frances Hodgson Burnett, won three 1991 Tony Awards including Best Musical.

The lead role of 10-year-old Mary Lennox will be shared by Phoebe Jackson and Kayla Hunter, who each will perform five shows.

In this Marsha Norman adaptation "there are dreamers," said director Randy Brown. "They are spirits who come with Mary from India who help guide her and protect her in her new life in England." It also includes a love story between Mary's Uncle Archibald, played by Ben Archer, and his deceased wife, Lily, played by Sami Trapp.

Directing this musical will be a dream fulfilled, Brown said. "The music is just gorgeous. Listening to the CD, it's something I've always wanted to direct at the theater and this year I got my chance."

"The Secret Garden" will be performed at 8 p.m. Saturdays through May 19 at the Fremont Community Theatre, 1551 Dickinson St., Fremont. Matinee performances are at 2 p.m. Sundays through May 20 with a 2 p.m. performance May 12. There also are 8 p.m. performances May 11 and May 18. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students. Information: 419-332-0695 or fremontcommunitytheatre.org.

Solomon Gospel

Solomon, Love Him -- Leave Him, a modern telling of the biblical story of Solomon, is back by popular demand this weekend at the West YMCA Theater in Toledo.

Dramatically Inspired Works playwright Denisee Johnson-Gaston said she was inspired by the biblical story and decided to create a modern-day Solomon played by Christopher McBrayer. He is an architect and writer who is loved and admired by many, especially ladies.

Solomon's faith is deeply rooted until he meets and falls in love with Zirah, played by Tiara Parker. The nightclub singer turns his life upside down as he tries to help her reach her goals and loses sight of his.

"I like that it shows people how easy it is to get caught up because of love, that everything that looks good for you isn't necessarily good for you," Johnson-Gaston said.

The musical debuted in 2010 at the same location for one performance. "There was an overwhelming reception. The audience just loved it," she said. "We had many, many requests to do it again."

There will be a guest appearance and performance by the local band the Difference. Included in the cast is Yawnnique Henderson.

"Solomon, Love Him -- Leave Him" will be performed at 7 p.m. Friday at the West YMCA Theater, 2110 Tremainsville Rd. Tickets are $20 in advance and $23 at the door. Information: 419-536-1551.

Seussical Musical

The Waterville Playshop closes its 60th anniversary season this weekend with Seussical the Musical at the Maumee Indoor Theatre, Maumee.

This family-friendly musical features Horton the Elephant, who tries to save the tiny Who planet. In his quest he meets beloved Dr. Seuss characters including the Cat in the Hat, Gertrude McFuzz, the Grinch, and Mayzie LaBird.

"Seussical the Musical" will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday with 2:30 p.m. matinees Saturday and Sunday at the Maumee Indoor Theatre, 601 Conant St., Maumee. Advance tickets are $10 for adults, $10 for seniors and students, and $5 for children ages 12 and younger. Ticket prices could be higher at the door. Information: 419-897-8901 or www.watervilleplayshop.org

Theater items should be sent to jnjaim@theblade.com at least two weeks in advance.

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