“Secret Garden,” the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical now playing at the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Sydney Harman Hall, offers a sweet and beautiful reminder that even from under the greyest skies and ashiest soils, life springs. As the city recovers from a harrowing election season and begins bracing for winter’s cold, it’s exactly what Washington needs right now.
Based on the classic children’s novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, the show–co-produced by DC’s own Shakespeare Theatre Company and Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre– tells the story of 10-year-old Mary Lennox, who is forced to live with her reclusive uncle, Archibald Craven, after the death of her parents.
Neglected by her uncle, who after ten years continues grieving the death of his beloved wife Lilly, Mary is left to entertain herself, and soon discovers a secret garden that had been kept by her late aunt. Encouraged by newfound friends, the garden becomes her refuge; eventually, it becomes a wellspring for others in her family, too.
If it sounds fanciful, that’s because it is. But in the best way. The scenery is gorgeous, the acting energetic, the singing flawless… It’s a feelgood tale about love and rebirth after tragedy. Can’t we all use a little bit of that?