Henry Baratz on Playing Colin Craven in Shakespeare Theatre Company’s ‘The Secret Garden’

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In our second interview with cast members of The Secret Garden at Shakespeare Theatre Company, meet Henry Baratz.

Joel: Please introduce yourself and tell us how old you are and tell our readers what roles you have played and what shows you have appeared in?

Henry Baratz (Colin Craven). Photo courtesy of Shakespeare Theatre Company.

Henry Baratz (Colin Craven). Photo courtesy of Shakespeare Theatre Company.

Henry: Hi! I’m Henry Baratz and I am 13 years-old. I love doing theatre and some of my most recent shows include: Carmen (WNO Kennedy Center as Children’s Chorus member), Ragtime (Reading) at Ford’s Theatre as “Little Boy,” Carousel at Olney Theatre as “Starkeeper/Heavenly Friend,” Elmer Gantry at Signature Theatre as “Young Man (u/s),” and more.

Why did you want to appear in Shakespeare Theatre Company’s The Secret Garden

I wanted to be in The Secret Garden because I love all the music and it tells such a great story of family and love. This is my first time in The Secret Garden and I am so thrilled to be telling the story to different audiences.

Who do you play and how is your character like you and different than you? What do you admire about your character and what do you not admire about him or her?

I play “Colin Craven.” He is a very spoiled child, but in some ways, he can’t really help it. He has been assumed to be  sickly by all the house staff for his whole life, so he is very pampered. I don’t admire his sour attitude but I do admire his transformation from being bratty to a happy child. I would say that our similarities include reading, because he reads books in his free time, as do I. Colin and I are very different because of the way we live and he has to be in bed all day asleep, crying, or playing with his many toys, whereas I go to school, do homework, play with my dogs, and read.

Assistant Stage Manager Elizabeth Clewley, Henry Baratz as Colin Craven, Assistant Stage Manager Kristy Matero ,and Lizzie Klemperer (Lily Craven) in Shakespeare Theatre Company’s rehearsal of 'The Secret Garden, 'directed by David Armstrong. Photo by Christian M. Gardner.

Assistant Stage Manager Elizabeth Clewley, Henry Baratz (Colin Craven), Assistant Stage Manager Kristy Matero, and Lizzie Klemperer (Lily Craven) in Shakespeare Theatre Company’s rehearsal of ‘The Secret Garden,’ directed by David Armstrong. Photo by Christian M. Gardner.

What is The Secret Garden about from the point of view of Colin?

From Colin’s point of view, The Secret Garden is about a newly-found cousin of mine who takes me to my mother’s garden and helps me find the meaning of family and love.

What do we learn about your character from the solos you sing in the show?

In “Come To My Garden/Lift Me Up,”  we learn that Colin wants to be connected to his mother who died in childbirth and he wants to reunite with her in her garden and feel strong like a healthy kid.

How did you prepare for your role? What were the greatest challenges you had while learning your role and how did your director and musical director help you?

Colin screams a lot in the show. After he screams he sings a graceful song, so that can be a tough transition. I knew that I had to use breathing techniques so I didn’t hurt my voice night after night. I was nervous at first, but now that I have done it enough times for practice, and after the director and musical director both helped me work my way through it, I feel more confident about some challenges in the role.

Which character or characters that you do not play are most like you and why and how?

I think that I am most like Dickon because he is a fun loving character with a positive attitude.

You are working with many Broadway veterans and stars. What have they taught you and what do you admire most about them?

All the Broadway stars and West End star, in this production have taught me not to be afraid to ask questions, to understand your character in depth, and to use the off time wisely and conserve your voice and energy. I admire the ambition and amazing talent that all of them have.

Henry Baratz (Colin Craven) and Anya Rothman (Mary Lennox). Photo by Christian M. Gardner.

Henry Baratz (Colin Craven) and Anya Rothman (Mary Lennox). Photo by Christian M. Gardner.

What advice would you give to a young actor who is preparing to play your role in his or her production of The Secret Garden?

If I were to give advice to a young actor playing “Colin,” I would say to enjoy the role and make sure to control the screaming, so it doesn’t hurt your throat or anything for that matter.

What roles would you really like to play on the stage that you have not played before?

My dream roles include Pippin in Pippin, Ogie in Waitress, and now Dickon in The Secret Garden, but I’ll have to wait some time before I can play those roles. :)

Why should young theatergoers come to see The Secret Garden?

It is such a beautiful story with fantastic music, costumes, scenery, and more. It can relate to young people because it tells the story of not only helping Mary recover from severe traumas, but helping her find her secret garden, both literally and figuratively.

The Secret Garden plays through January 8, 2017, at Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Sidney Harman Hall – 610 F Street, NW, in Washington, DC. For tickets, call the box office at (202) 547-1122, or purchase them online.

Daisy Eagan: From Her Tony Award-winning Mary Lennox to Playing Martha in ‘The Secret Garden’ at Shakespeare Theatre Company by Joel Markowitz.

Henry Baratz on Playing Colin Craven in Shakespeare Theatre Company’s ‘The Secret Garden’ by Joel Markowitz.

Anya Rothman on playing Mary Lennox in Shakespeare Theatre Company’s ‘The Secret Garden’ by Joel Markowitz.

Dangereuse: “That Burnett Woman: The Magical ‘Secret Garden’ at the Shakespeare Theatre Company” by Sophia Howes.

Review #1: ‘The Secret Garden’ at Shakespeare Theatre Company by Ana Morgenstern.

‘The Secret Garden’ at Shakespeare Theatre Company by PJ McMahon.

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