It is not everyday that a father and son get the opportunity to play the role of father and son in a show together, but McLean resident Brent Stone and his 13-year-old son Nick Stone are doing just that, and will take the Alden Theatre stage together beginning July 13.
“We’ve done shows together before but never as father and son,” said Stone. “So this has been very special for me.”
The father and son duo are part of the upcoming McLean Community Players production of the musical “The Secret Garden.” The musical, which was written by Marsha Norman and features music by Lucy Simon — sister of Carly Simon — opened on Broadway in 1991 and won three Tony Awards that season. Based on the children’s book of the same name written by Frances Hodgson Burnett, it tells the tale of 10-year-old Mary Lennox, who becomes an orphan after her parents perish in a cholera epidemic in colonial India. The spoiled girl is sent to her last remaining relative, her uncle Archibald Craven — played by Brent Stone — who is master of the gloomy Misselthwaite Manor in Yorkshire, England. Mary discovers a dormant garden, and as it blossoms and grows to life, so do she and the other characters in the show.
“It’s wonderful,” said Stone. “It’s a meaningful show of redemption and hope.”
His son Nick, a student at Longfellow Middle School, plays the role of Colin Craven.
“We were very fortunate to get a young man that was exactly what we were looking for,” said the show’s director Shelly Horn.
The role of Mary Lennox is played by 13-year-old Mary Watson of Great Falls, and Horn said both children are phenomenal.
“Mary is really something,” said Horn. “Sometimes when you have kids in a show they are intimidated by the adults, but they’re all just one big happy family.”
THIS IS THE FIRST time that Horn has directed “A Secret Garden,” and she said the experience has been challenging because, unlike most musicals, it does not have a lot of on-stage movement and choreography.
“I’ve had to think about how to tell a story that is not as well-known as some of the bigger musicals, and still get the point across without being boring,” said Horn. “But I think we’ve got it.”
Horn said the cast is made up of “a great group of actors” who are all supportive of one another. Danny Brogan of Silver Spring, Md., who plays the role of gardener Ben Weatherstaff, is also experiencing “The Secret Garden” for the first time, and describes the musical as “sentimental, wholesome and enjoyable.”
“It’s a very poignant show,” said Brogan.
Horn agrees and says that it will appeal to adults and children alike.
“The music is very haunting, but at the same time it’s hopeful,” she said. “The show is a powerful tale about hope and magic and dreams, and I think there are a lot of people that can relate to it — either now, or to something back in your life. It gives you hope, it isn’t just about hope.”