RSC Reworks Broadway's Secret GardenDate: 5 April 2000
Following on the success of its recent production of CS Lewis' The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the Royal Shakespeare Company is tackling another classic children's story for its winter 2000 season at Stratford-upon-Avon. This year's family production will be a new version of the Broadway musical The Secret Garden, based on Frances Hodgson Burnett's 1911 novel.
The RSC is currently collaborating with playwright Marsha Norman and composer Lucy Simon on the reworking of their original 1991 Broadway musical adaptation. It's unclear yet exactly how different the new version will be or whether more songs will be added, though an RSC spokesperson told Playbill Online that changes would be 'substantial'.
The RSC production is expected to join the repertory at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in mid to late October. It will be directed by RSC artistic director Adrian Noble, who also directed The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, a highly successful RSC production which attracted 40,000 new theatregoers (half of them under 16 years old) over its opening four-month period.
Norman won a Tony Award for the Broadway production. Her many other theatre credits include Third and Oak, The Laundromat, Traveler in the Dark and Night Mother for which she won a Pulitzer Prize in 1983. Simon was nominated for both a Tony and a Drama Desk award for her Broadway score of The Secret Garden. In addition to her musical theatre work, Simon won two Grammy Awards for her 'In Harmony' albums and has recorded two solo albums for RCA.
The Secret Garden tells the story of spoilt orphan Mary Lennox and her sickly cousin Colin. After the death of her parents, Mary is brought back from India to live in her uncle's house in England, but she is desperately unhappy until one day she discovers the key to a secret garden.
Like Hodgson Burnett's other books, Little Lord Fauntleroy and A Little Princess, The Secret Garden has been a favourite children's story for generations. It has translated onto film many times, including Warner Brothers' major release in 1999.
Dates and casting for the RSC production have not yet been confirmed.