Shannon Hoyt-


The Menomonie Theater Guild has taught us many life lessons through stories performed on stage. Their latest adaptation, “The Secret Garden,” is a 1900s musical that brings us through the beautiful journey of a child, a manor and the mysteries of a hidden garden.


The story revolves around 10-year-old Mary Lennox who is left orphaned after losing her mother and father to the early 20th century Cholera outbreak in India. She then relocated to England to live with her uncle.


“It’s really a story about redemption. Redemption of relationships, of hope,” said University of WisconsinStout Professor Mitch Ogden, playing the role of Captain Albert Lennox, Mary’s father.

Mitch Ogden who plays Captain Albert Lennox, Mary’s father.
Mitch Ogden who playsCaptain Albert Lennox, Mary’s father.

Before her relocation, Mary’s homelife molded an ungrateful and selfish attitude, which carried with her to England. However, the souls of her parents carried over as well, leaving a heartfelt connection between parent and child, something that would aid in Mary’s transition.


“I guess as British subjects, we go back home when we die?” added Ogden. “And there is a whole menagerie of dead people at the manor.”


Mary’s attitude begins to change when she is introduced to a hidden garden through the guidance of manor staff and the souls trapped within the grounds.


It was, as Ogden refers, “her destiny” to discover and rejuvenate the garden; the garden that would serve as a metaphor for the chance to grow, to discover and to take a chance (or risk).

The cast of The Secret Garden
The cast of The Secret Garden

Ogden encapsulates the play: ”Are we brave enough to enter the garden, to plant the seed, to nurture it, knowing that it might fail, knowing that it will die? But is it worth the beauty of that rose, that flower? Is it worth the loss that we knew was coming?”


Performances are Feb. 24, 25 and 26, and March 3, 4 and 5. Tickets are $20 for adults and $18 for students. Visit for more details.