A story, named Secret Garden Musical, about how a young English girl who was orphaned early in her life due to a cholera outbreak in India where she lived with her parents during the British Raj period, is also the basis for a musical by the same name. The story was written by Frances Hodgson Burnett in 1911 but the script and lyrics of the musical are by Marsha Norman and music is by Lucy Simon. The musical premiered on Broadway in 1991 and ran for 709 performances.
Set in the early 20th century years, the novel is about Mary Lennox who became an orphan when she was ten years old. She had to leave India and settled in Yorkshire, England with relatives who were strangers to her. The story is about how she grows up and how she and a young gardener infuse a neglected garden and her sickly cousin and uncle with a new breath of life. The 10-year old Mary while living with her reclusive uncle meets many characters in the process of looking for the mysterious secret garden that was owned by her aunt before her death.
In the summer of 2016, a specially created youth version of the Tony Award-winning musical is scheduled to play at the Ambassadors Theatre from 27 July to 31 August. The duration of the show has been shortened to 75 minutes and the cast of the musical will include 20 children and four adult actors. There will be 21 different teams of child actors who will feature during the full run of the show.
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The Secret Garden Musical will play at the Ambassadors Theatre where the long-running West End favourite Stomp will also be playing alongside. It will be followed by the National Youth Theatre’s residency in the autumn.
The world premiere of the musical took place at the Wells Theatre, Norfolk, Virginia. It was produced by Virginia Stage Company and it ran from November 28, 1989 to December 17, 1989. On Broadway, the musical premiered at the St James Theatre on April 25, 1991 and closed on January 2, 1993 after performing for 709 days. It won the 1991 Tony Awards for Best Book of a Musical, Best Featured Actress in a Musical, and Best Scenic Design. The actress at the age of 11 became the youngest female recipient of a Tony Award.
In Australia, the musical was produced in 1995 and opened in Brisbane on 27 July 1995, in Sydney on 7 September 1995 and in Melbourne on 20 December 1995. A revised version of the musical was produced by Royal Shakespeare Company that ran at Stratford in UK from November 13, 2000 until January 27, 2001. It also ran at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto from February 13, 2011 to March 19, 2011.