The 1991 Lucy Simon-Marsha Norman musical The Secret Garden is being prepped for its first Broadway revival.
Gerald Goehring and Michael F. Mitri of Patriot Productions have picked up a Broadway option. Goehring told Playbill.com. “We got it right after we saw the amazing work done in Washington, D.C.” by the recent revival there. This new production was created in partnership between Seattle's The 5th Avenue Theatre and Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington D.C.
The musical is based on the children’s novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, which tells the story of Mary Lennox, an orphan girl being raised by her strangely cold and distant uncle. Mary finds renewal when she discovers a locked, dead garden and brings it back to life. Librettist Marsha Norman won the 1991 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical. Lucy Simon was nominated for Best Score, and the entire show was nominated for Best Musical that year.
Goehring said, “Under the extraordinary guidance of Michael Kahn and his team at the Shakespeare Theatre Company, and director David Armstrong [executive producer and artistic director of Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre], this beautiful show is even more powerful than it was in 1991. The reviews certainly reflect that. Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon have approached rewriting the show with a fresh eye, so it can be rediscovered by a new generation of theatregoers.”
The D.C. production featured Daisy Eagan, who won a Tony Award in 1991 for her performance as Mary Lennox. At age 11, she is the second-youngest person ever to win a Tony. Eagan played the housemaid Martha in the fall 2016 production at D.C.'s Shakespeare Theatre Company, and in a February 2016 concert version of the show at Lincoln Center. Asked whether Eagan will appear in the Broadway production, Goehring said Eagan, “has come full circle with this show and is wonderful in her portrayal of Martha.... Daisy brings an emotional and rich performance to the show. Her deep history with this story shines through no more than when she sings ‘Hold On.’ We are thrilled she is back home in Marsha and Lucy's new version of The Secret Garden.”
No timeline have been set for bringing the show back to New York. The new production is scheduled to play the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle this spring and Goehring said, “We will be announcing additional pre-Broadway regional theatres soon.”
Goehring was lead producer of the 2012 Broadway musical adaptation of A Christmas Story.