Twelve-year-old Melody Kay is excited about visiting Los Angeles for the first time. But she's not a typical tourist. Melody is starring in the national touring company of "The Secret Garden," which opened Wednesday at the Shubert Theatre in Century City.
The Michigan native plays Mary Lennox in Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon's adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic.
Melody says she hopes to meet celebrities during the Los Angeles engagement.
"I don't know where Johnny Depp is right now, but I would love to meet him. My two favorite leading men are Denzel Washington and Robert De Niro. If they came (backstage) I would faint."
Melody has been acting since she was 6 when she played an orphan in "Oliver!" After appearing in everything from "The Sound of Music" to "The Miracle Worker," her family went to New York two years ago.
"I got an agent and we ended up staying there." Melody did several TV commercials prior to becoming understudy to Tony Award-winning Daisy Egan in the Broadway production of "Secret Garden."
Melody recalls the first time she went on for Egan as "really exciting. I had never thought in my whole life I would ever be on Broadway. I did it and I was real happy."
The producers gave Melody the choice of either taking over on Broadway or going on tour. "I said the tour because I figured I could get to see more places."
An only child ("I love it"), Melody's mother is accompanying her. "My dad visits," she says. Melody, who will be entering the eighth grade this fall, says that she misses her friends back home but that "my best friend is on tour with me. She is the alternate (for Mary)."
Melody says she loves acting because it is fun. "I try something new every night to keep me on my toes because if I did the same thing, it would become boring and I don't want that."