The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden

by  Marsha Norman, Lucy Simon, Frances Hodgson Burnett

Full Length Musical, Drama  /  12m, 10f, 1boy(s), 1girl(s)

This enchanting classic of children's literature is reimagined in brilliant musical style by composer Lucy Simon and Marsha Norman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of 'Night Mother. Orphaned in India, 11 year-old Mary Lennox returns to Yorkshire to live with her embittered, reclusive uncle Archibald and his invalid son Colin. The estate's many wonders include a magic garden which beckons the children with haunting melodies and the "Dreamers", spirits from Mary's past who guide her through her new life, dramatizing The Secret Garden's compelling tale of forgiveness and renewal. 

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The Secret Garden
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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    12m, 10f, 1boy(s), 1girl(s)
  • SubGenre


    Adaptations (Literature), Theatre for Young Audiences, Period
  • Accolades


    Tony, From Broadway
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Appropriate for all audiences

Additional Info

Winner! 1991 Tony® Award for Best Book of a Musical.

Enchanting musical based on the 1911 novel of the same name by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Also Available - SCHOOL VERSION perfect for Young Performers!

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  • WINNER! 1991 Tony Award® for Best Book of a Musical
    NOMINEE! 1991 Tony Awards® for Best Musical and Best Score
    WINNER! 1991 Drama Desk Award for Oustanding Book of a Musical 
    NOMINEE! 1991 Drama Desk Awards for Oustanding Music and Outstanding Lyrics


"Elegant, entrancing...The best American musical of the Broadway season." -Time

"A splendid, intelligent musical...It's all you can hope for in children's theatre. But the best surprise is that this show is the most adult new musical of the season."- USA Today

"A many splendored children's fable that neither cloys or loses grip on its unique spell."-Newsday

"Revels in theatrical imagination [and] achieves the irresistible appeal that moves audiences to standing ovations."-Christian Science Monitor


27 Plays & Musicals for Book Lovers
by Annette Storckman
August 2, 2019

A Love Letter to The Secret Garden
by Steve Malone
November 4, 2016

Staff Picks: The Secret Garden
by Courtney Kochuba with Ben Coleman
January 13, 2015


  • The Secret Garden Tony Awards 1991
  • Where In The World/How Could I Ever Know
  • Farmers Alley Theatre Production
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Performing Groups

  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Large Stage


  • No Special Cautions

License details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.



  • Time Period: 1900-1910
  • Setting: 1906. Colonial India and Misselthwaite Manor in North Yorkshire, England.
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes


  • Musical Style: Classic Broadway
  • Vocal Demands: Difficult
  • Orchestra Size: Large
  • Chorus Size: Small

Song Samples

Winter's on the Wing (Dickon)
Lily's Eyes (Archibald, Neville)
Round-Shouldered Man (Colin, Mary, Ayah)
The Girl I Mean to Be (Mary)
Hold On (Martha)
How Could I Ever Know? (Lily, Archibald)


12m, 10f, 1boy(s), 1girl(s)

LILY - Female, 28-38 (Range: Soprano, Bb3-D6) Mary's aunt and Archibald Craven's wife. Died of a tragic accident within her garden and metaphorically haunts the walls of Misselthwaite Manor.
MARY LENNOX - Female, 10 (Range: Young Voice, Ab3-D5) A ten year-old girl sent to live with her uncle, Archibald, when her parents die from cholera in India. Quite the curious explorer, and often finding herself in trouble. Stubborn and always fighting for what she believes in.
MRS. MEDLOCK - Female, Age Flexible (Range: Ensemble/Part Flexible) Archibald’s housekeeper. As cold as the Misselthwaite Manor.
DR. NEVILLE CRAVEN - Male, 35-45 (Range: Baritone, C3-F#4) Archibald’s brother. Trapped by the idea that he is responsible for the caretaking of Colin. Even though he was never loved back by Lily, he is still in love with her. This adds to his unwillingness to move on and leave Misselthwaite.
MARTHA - Female, 18-30 (Range: Mezzo-Soprano Belt, G3-D5) A faithful housemaid. Grew up near Yorkshire and has the accent to prove it. Although she is from a lower class family, her wisdom is often far beyond her age.
ARCHIBALD CRAVEN - Male, 35-45 (Range: Baritone, C3-A4) Mary's uncle and lord of Misselthwaite Manor. He has a hunch-back. Haunted by the past and afraid of the future, he locks himself away both physically and mentally. Mary painfully reminds him too much of his wife, Lily, who died ten years ago.
BEN WEATHERSTAFF - Male, Age Flexible (Range: Ensemble/Part Flexible, E3-D#4) Head gardener. Secretly entrusted to take care of the garden after Lily’s death. Knows a great deal about the history of the garden and the grounds it sits on. He has worked for the family for many years. He calls himself “an old man.”
DICKON - Male, 16-25 (Range: Tenor, D3-G4) Martha's younger brother. Looks after the sick plants and animals within the Misselthwaite grounds—including Mary. He is a young man who is between the world of child imagination and adult reasoning. Befriends Mary and convinces her to take care of the Garden.
COLIN CRAVEN - Male, 10 (Range: Young Voice, A3-E5) Archibald's ten year-old son. Spent his life in bed due to a heart condition. He is very stubborn and throws temper tantrums to get what he wants. He believes his father hates him for causing Lily’s death.
MRS. WINTHROP - Female, Age Flexible (Range: Ensemble/Part Flexible) Headmistress of a private school. Prides herself on nurturing girls with tempers. Mary seems to be more than she can handle.

The Following characters, referred to collectively as the Dreamers, are people from Mary's life in India, who haunt her until she finds her new life in the course of the story. They are free to sing directly to us, appearing and disappearing at will.

ROSE LENNOX - Female, 28-38 (Range: Soprano, A3-D6) Mary's mother. A “dreamer” from the past who doesn’t understand how her sister Lily could truly love Archibald. Very loyal to her husband and refuses to leave India during the cholera outbreak that takes her life.
CAPTAIN ALBERT LENNOX - Male, 30-40 (Range: Tenor, D3-A5) Mary's father. Tries to send Rose out of India during the cholera outbreak.
ALICE - Female, Age Flexible (Range: Ensemble/Part Flexible) Rose's friend.
LIEUTENANT WRIGHT - Male, Age Flexible (Range: Ensemble/Part Flexible) Officer in Mary's father's unit.
LIEUTENANT SHAW - Male, Age Flexible (Range: Ensemble/Part Flexible) Fellow officer.
MAJOR SHELLEY - Male, Age Flexible (Range: Ensemble/Part Flexible) Officer.
MRS. SHELLEY - Female, Age Flexible (Range: Ensemble/Part Flexible) Major Shelley's wife.
MAJOR HOLMES - Male, Age Flexible (Range: Ensemble/Part Flexible) Officer.
CLAIRE HOLMES - Female, Age Flexible (Range: Ensemble/Part Flexible) Major Holmes' wife.
FAKIR - Male, Age Flexible (Range: Tenor, C3-B4) Itinerant Hindu ascetic.
AYAH - Female, Age Flexible (Range: Ensemble/Part Flexible) Mary's Indian nanny.

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Cast Attributes

  • Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)
  • Features Children
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)


Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package

Piano/Conductor’s Score
Keyboard I
Keyboard II
Woodwind I (Flute, Piccolo, Recorders, Clarinet, Pan Pipes)
Woodwind II (Oboe, English Horn)
Woodwind III (Clarinet, Bass Clarinet)
Horn I
Horn II
Violin I
Violin II
Percussion (Keyboard III, Bell, Bell-Tree, Chimes, Finger Cymbal, Suspended Cymbal, Frame Drum, Tom Drum, Glockenspiel, Hindu Ankle Bells, Hindu Shaker, Indian Ankle Bell, Indian Bell Stick, Marimba, Mark Tree, Ship Bell, Tabla, Tambourine, Timpani, Toy Drum, Ratchet, Small Triangle, Medium Triangle, Large Triangle, Wood Block, Tom-Tom)

20 Chorus Books

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Marsha Norman

Marsha Norman - award winning playwright - won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize, Blackburn Prize, Hull-Warriner, and Drama Desk Awards for her play 'Night, Mother. In 1992 she won a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award for her book for the Broadway musical, The Secret Garden. She also wrote the book for the Broadway musical, The C ...

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Lucy Simon

Lucy Simon began her professional career at age 16 with her sister Carly as part of The Simon Sisters. She made her Broadway debut in 1991 as the composer of The Secret Garden, for which she received Tony and Drama Desk nominations, The Drama Loge Award, and a Grammy nomination for the recording of the score. The Secr ...

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Frances Hodgson Burnett

Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden opened at the St. James Theatre on April 25, 1991 after 23 previews. The show played for a total of 709 performances and closed on January 3, 1993.

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