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Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

Katie Maupin as Mary Lennox

Photo by Ben Krantz Studios

Almost a week later and my kids and I are still humming the tunes from 42nd Street Moon’s rendition of “The Secret Garden” playing at the Gateway Theatre in San Francisco, now till December 24th. Even though “The Secret Garden” is a classic English children’s novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and 42nd Street Moon’s version is intended to be family friendly, it was a bit dark and slow paced at points for my kids aged 7 and 4. I would definitely recommend this version of “The Secret Garden” to very theater savvy kids, kids that already familiar with the story, or kids at least 8 years old and older.

The Secret Garden Mary and Martha

Photo by Ben Krantz Studios

From an adults perspective I thoroughly enjoyed this version of “The Secret Garden” the lyrics held my interest wanting to hear more, the acting of the entire cast was strong especially Katie Maupin who plays Mary Lennox she is just 12 years old. I would also happily have Martha over for dinner any night of the week, for the entertaining conversations alone. The props and scenery Were simple, but no more was needed to tell the story. I easily followed along with which characters were alive or dead, and any flash backs that occurred, this is where my young kids became a bit lost, but still watched along even if they were not completely following along.

The Secret Garden Mary and Colin

Photo by Ben Krantz Studios

I grew up knowing the story of “The Secret Garden”, In the late 19th century, 11-year-old Mary Lennox is orphaned in India and comes to Yorkshire to live with her reclusive uncle and invalid cousin. There she discovers a mysterious and seemingly enchanted garden, and all three come to know forgiveness, renewal and hope. However, this was the first time my kids have been introduced to “The Secret Garden”, the themes of death and grief were prevalent, and the mysterious cries from within the house initially spooked my 7 year old, till Colin was revealed towards the end of act 1. My son also could’t wait to see the kids enter the garden, so the excitement to see the second act after intermission was high.

In the end the story is still heartwarming, and the performances from the children actors, Katie Maupin as Mary Lennox and Tyler Groshong as Colin Craven, were especially top notch. As the garden grows the children grow into their own better selves, also prompting my kids to watch the movie and seek out the book.

I love that my kids get to see live theater, and seeing other kids living their dreams while acting in live theater is so valuable for continued art appreciation and support. I love how 42nd Street Moon‘s mission is to celebrate and preserve the art and spirit of the American Musical Theatre. Through their productions, educational programs, and community outreach, they are committed to increasing the awareness and appreciation of the rich heritage and cultural perspective of the musical theatre and its vast influence on the world stage.

Don’t miss this performance of “The Secret Garden” by 42nd Street Moon at the Gateway Theatre in San Francisco this holiday season. Many shows are close to being sold out but tickets can still be purchased HERE or by contacting the box office at 415.255.8207