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December 9, 2011 > TheatreWorks' "The Secret Garden" stars Fremont teens

TheatreWorks' "The Secret Garden" stars Fremont teens

By Chinmai Raman

Aspiring actors are always looking for their big break, and for Andrew Apy and Rachel Sue of Fremont, this is exactly what they got. Andrew, 12, and Rachel, 13, are both taking part in their first adult main stage production - "The Secret Garden" - at TheatreWorks, the nationally acclaimed theatre of Silicon Valley.

Both are alumni of Fremont's StarStruck Theatre. The theatre promotes performing arts among youth while emphasizing key qualities such as teamwork and "a greater sense of self in each of [their] students." From these roots, the local youngsters have jumped leaps and bounds to landing their first roles in a main stage production. They also get to be a part of a classic story that is the winner of three Tony awards for excellence in theatre. The musical is based on the novel "The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett and follows the transformation of an orphaned English girl when she goes to live with her uncle and discovers a hidden garden.

Andrew Apy began his acting career with a role as Mike TV when his class at school had to perform "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." Since then, he has starred in youth theatre productions such as "Les Miserables," "Beauty and the Beast," and "Willy Wonka Jr." - only this time as Charlie Bucket. Having played many roles from famous stories, when asked what his dream role would be, Andrew responded that he would like to play Evan in "13." He has studied at Broadway Workshop in New York, and the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. In addition to acting, he won the 2010 "Sing Your Heart Out" competition in Milpitas, and has been a soloist in several youth choirs. In "The Secret Garden" Andrew will share the role of Colin, a young troublemaker and a central character.

Rachel Sue began acting after watching a performance at Ohlone College and wanting to do the same herself. Through StarStruck Theatre, she has performed such roles as Belle in "Beauty and the Beast Jr.," Amaryllis in "The Music Man," and Young Cosette from "Les Miserables." "I was really nervous, because... it was my first time at a professional company," she says about auditioning for "The Secret Garden," but Rachel must have been great, because it got her the part of the main protagonist, young orphan Mary Lennox.

Courtney Stokes, who was also seen in StarStruck productions as a child, will be performing in "The Secret Garden" as well, appearing in the role of Martha, the maid. She has participated in such productions as "Snapshots," "Into the Woods" (as Little Red), "A Little Night Music," and "Jane Eyre." She graduated with a BFA in Musical Theatre from UC Irvine, and currently lives in New York City.

You can cheer on Rachel, Andrew, Courtney and many other great actors and actresses at performances of "The Secret Garden" at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto, running now through December 31.

The Secret Garden
November 30 - December 31

December 9: 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
December 10: 8 p.m.
December 11: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
December 13: 7:30 p.m.
December 15: 8 p.m.
December 16: 8 p.m.
December 17: 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
December 18: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
December 20: 7:30 p.m.
December 21: 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
December 22: 8 p.m.
December 23: 8 p.m.
December 24: 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.
December 27: 7:30 p.m.
December 28: 7:30 p.m.
December 29: 8 p.m.
December 30: 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
December 31: 2 p.m.

Lucie Stern Theatre
1305 Middlefield Rd. #1, Palo Alto
(650) 463-1980
Tickets: $34-$74

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