The Secret Garden

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Musical Theatre University and Palm Springs Art Museum, in association with Neon Noir present an immersive and atmospheric musical production of The Secret Garden.

Join us for a truly unique theatrical event presented after hours within Palm Springs Art Museum’s galleries and gardens. 

Experience the enchanting revival of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s Victorian classic, The Secret Garden, in this musical adaptation by Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Marsha Norman and Grammy Award winner Lucy Simon.

When young Mary Lennox loses her parents to a cholera outbreak in India, she is sent to live with her hermit uncle, Archibald Craven, and his bedridden son, Colin. In the haunting house upon the hill, Mary discovers her Aunt Lily’s hidden, overgrown garden and is determined to revive its beauty. Surrounded by spirits from the past, Mary begins to peel away the layers of sadness that cover the house and the garden, showing the power that “one small girl” can have when she “wants things to grow.”

The show features Broadway veterans Kevin McMahon and Brent Schindele, and a cast of 20 students from the Palm Springs Unified School District, selected by MTU via a conservatory audition.

Celebrated chef Gabriel Woo will curate a bespoke menu and specialty drinks inspired by settings and elements of The Secret Garden, offered during the show’s two intermissions (included in the price of all tickets).

Additionally, as part of the VIP experience ticket, Palm Springs Art Museum will host an intimate pre-show cocktail reception in the Meyerman Sculpture Garden — 75 minutes before each performance.

Doors open at 5:45 p.m. for VIP ticketing and 6:45 p.m. for general admission; all six nightly performances begin at 7:00 p.m.. Total running time is two and a half hours (incl. one 10-minute and one 25-minute intermission).


Event Details

The Secret Garden is the third and final production of MTU's eleventh anniversary season. It is being produced in partnership with the Palm Springs Art Museum and in association with Neon Noir to create a very unique theatrical experience for our audience as we tell this beautiful story.

The VIP Experience includes a pre-show, catered reception in the Museum's sculpture garden with a special "small bites" menu tray passed by servers and an open bar. 

There will be two intermissions during the evening. The first intermission will include tray-passed beverages (both adult beverages and non-alcoholic beverages) and the second, longer intermission will include a lavish charcuterie table with breads, cheeses, meats, chutneys and desserts and beverages (both adult beverages and non-alcoholic beverages). This is NOT a "dinner" show – the food will be plentiful but is more like appetizers than it is a meal. The second intermission will be at approximately 8:30 p.m..

The audience will follow the cast from gallery to gallery and into the gardens on all three floors of the museum. Audience members will follow the story up and down flights of stairs – there are elevators available for those who cannot take the stairs, however they may miss some of the visual action while doing so.
There is a lot of walking for the duration of the show. Please wear comfortable shoes.

There is no "theatre-style" seating because we wanted to have the museum "come alive" and never lose the fact that we are in the museum, not in a theatre. There will be benches and some fixed seating here and there, so no one will be forced to stand up for the duration. Also, the museum has hand-carry stools available for most guests to take with them, if they wish, so they can sit whenever they choose. The audience will be up close and personal with the actors at all times. 

The production is appropriate for children, however there is no child-priced ticket available. Also, this musical's score is somewhat "classical" in nature, and the story, even though originally a children's story, was written for an adult audience, so children might become bored.

Unfortunately, because the audience is limited to 100 patrons per night, there are no discounted tickets for this theatrical experience. Unlike other MTU productions produced at The Helene Galen Theatre, there is no "student rush" ticket sold for this event.

The cast of The Secret Garden features Sofia Lanza (as Lily Craven),Torie Mendoza (as Mary Lennox), Kevin McMahon* (as Archibald Craven), Alisha Bates (as Martha), Brent Schindele* (as Dr. Neville Craven), Ben Van Dijk (as Dickon), Elijanna Kennedy (as Rose Lennox), Elijah Sweeney Bousquet (as Captain Albert Lennox), Brayden Gravdahl (as Colin Craven), Fabrizio Ibanez (as Ben Weatherstaff), Elizabeth Eldar (as Mrs. Medlock), Maverick Carpio (as Major Holmes), Alondra Meza (as Ayah), McKenzey Kenan (as Mrs. Winthrop), Payton Hoy (as Alice), Ruben Regalado (as Lieutenant Shaw), Percy Goodwin-Knight (as Lieutenant Wright), Madeline Klein (as Claire). The ensemble features Addison Clark, Sasha Kaye, Danica Rodriguez, Lyla Stanley, and Chanel Ward.

*Members of Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) participating in The Secret Garden are current faculty of Musical Theatre University as Artists In Residence, and their participation is a required teaching assignment, with special permission granted by AEA.

With a Tony Award-winning book by Pulitzer Prize winner Marsha Norman, lyrics by Norman, and music by Grammy Award winner Lucy Simon, the immersive production is directed by David Green. The creative team includes vocal direction by Constance Gordy, musical direction by Bob Marino, additional choreography by Jose de la Cuesta, technical direction by Anthony Flores, costume design by Joyce Jenkin, and sound design by Anthony Flores/Freq Audio.

About Musical Theatre University (MTU)

Musical Theatre University, led by founder and executive director David Green, is a pre-professional, comprehensive conservatory training ground for young people with aspirations for professional theatre careers, specifically on Broadway. Students in grades 8-12 are selected by audition from all parts of the Coachella Valley and neighboring communities. MTU is sponsored and presented by The Palm Springs Unified School District, with no participation costs for students or families. The MTU faculty comprises working professional artist-teachers who are veterans of Broadway, film, and television. Concurrent with daily conservatory instruction, MTU produces three mainstage musicals each season where the students are joined onstage by Broadway veterans who serve as mentor teachers throughout the rehearsal and performance process. Mr. Green’s celebrated alumni from his multi-conservatory teaching career include Tony Award winners Stephanie J. Block and Lindsay Mendez; Tony Award nominees Susan Egan and Matthew Morrison; Krysta Rodriguez, Grace McLean, Anneliese van der Pol, and Pedro Pascal, to name a few. This theatrical season marks the Broadway debut of Leana Rae Concepcion in the highly acclaimed revival of Merrily We Roll Along, MTU’s first desert-campus alumni graduate to achieve this distinction.

Jesse Singer (Producer) is the Founder of Neon Noir, specializing in live entertainment and immersive experiences. Jesse is a Managing Partner of The Empyrean Club, a new theatre, nightlife venue, and social club opening next year in Park Slope, Brooklyn. He recently produced The Shark Is Broken on Broadway. While at Act 4 Entertainment, Jesse developed and produced the world premiere stage musical adaption of Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho in London (The Almeida Theatre) and the US premiere on Broadway; he also produced the play American Son (Broadway), and the documentary The People Speak based on Howard Zinn’s national bestseller, "A People’s History of the United States." He is consulting for Crossroads Capital, a value-centric investment fund. Jesse began his career at Creative Artists Agency and Jerry Bruckheimer Films. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College.

David Green (Producer; Founder/Executive Director of Musical Theatre University) has staged and directed over 500 productions for both educational and professional theatre; written, produced, and directed 10 television holiday specials for PBS and Coachella Valley ABC and NBC affiliates; and directed and/or written material for such legendary performers as Debbie Reynolds, Carol Channing, Liberace, Betty Garrett, John Raitt, Julie Wilson, Rex Smith, JoAnn Worley and more. He was named one of the top theatre educators in America by The Broadway League and Carnegie Mellon University at the 2017 Tony Awards.

Jack Peirce (Producer) serves as Deputy Director & CFO of Palm Springs Art Museum. He began his career advising on corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions. He pivoted to the not-for-profit sector, working for his alma mater, the University of Illinois, then Canine Companions, a national provider of service dogs to persons with disabilities. Since 2021, he has led the museum’s theatrical strategy and operations, including the highly successful “Cabaret 88” series.

VIP and General admission tickets available

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