Cathy Street Pens New Musical Adaptation of THE SECRET GARDEN for Summer Youth Theatre Production

Cathy Street Pens New Musical Adaptation of THE SECRET GARDEN for Summer Youth Theatre ProductionStreet Theatre Company presents a new musical adaptation of The Secret Garden this summer, featuring nearly 30 younger actors under the direction of Elaina McKnight Shaver with musical direction by Erica Haines.

Based on the classic book by Tennessean Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden tells the story of Mary Lennox, a 10-year-old spoiled and sickly girl who, after the death of her parents from cholera, is sent to live with her uncle, Archibald Craven. There she meets Martha, a maid on the grounds, her brother Dickon, who can talk to animals and is able to grow anything with a little bit of soil and Colin, a boy who has given up the will to live, believing he is doomed to be a hunchback like his father.

Making the Street Theatre production unique, the original script and songs were written by artistic director Cathy Street.

“I had written about seven or eight musical adaptations for children’s shows in the past, but it had been a while since I had the opportunity to write again,” says Street. “It has been an amazing process hearing the children learn and sing this music that has never been performed before, and watching their flexibility as we adapt things along the way.”


Three of the principal roles have been triple cast; Mary, Martha and the robin, a bird that helps Mary find the secret garden. Each actress will have one weekend of performance in their lead role, and then perform in the ensemble for the other two weekends.

“There was just so much talent,” says Shaver, youth programming coordinator. “It was impossible to pick just one. The kids are very supportive of each other, and it has been very exciting to see what each actress brings differently to each role.”

All tickets are $6 and all performances will be held at Street Theatre, 1933 Elm Hill Pike. Performances are July 13-28 with shows Fridays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets are available at

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Jeffrey Ellis Jeffrey Ellis is a Nashville-based writer, editor and critic, who's been covering the performing arts in Tennessee for more than 25 years. He is the recipient of the Tennessee Theatre Association's Distinguished Service Award for his coverage of theatre in the Volunteer State and was the founding editor/publisher of Stages, the Tennessee Onstage Monthly. He is a past fellow of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center and is the founder/executive producer of The First Night Honors, held during Labor Day Weekend, which honor outstanding theater artists in Tennessee in recognition of their lifetime achievements and includes The First Night Star Awards and the Most Promising Actors. Midwinter's First Night, held the first Sunday in January after New Year's Day, honors outstanding productions and performances throughout the state. Further, Ellis directed the Nashville premiere of La Cage Aux Folles, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and An American Daughter, as well as award-winning productions of Damn Yankees, Company, Gypsy and The Rocky Horror Show, with Ellis honored by The Tennessean as best director of a musical for both Company and Rocky Horror. In 2015, he directed William Inge's Picnic for Circle Players and The Last Five Years for VWA Theatricals, with The Larry Keeton Theatre's production of The Miss Firecracker Contest set for spring 2016.


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