Patrick Gibbons, Jr., 9, who has had a recurring role in ABC-TV’s daytime drama, “One Life to Live,” is currently appearing in the Philadelphia Theatre Company’s production of “Mothers and Sons” at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, Feb. 6 through March 8.

by Rita Charleston

Actor Patrick Gibbons, Jr., a Plymouth Meeting resident, has had a recurring role in ABC-TV’s daytime drama, “One Life to Live”; he has appeared in “A Little More Alive” with the Kansas City Repertory Company, plays the guitar and the piano, and is a member in good standing with SAG/AFTRA.

But he still has to be in bed by 8 p.m. because Patrick is only nine years old. He’s currently appearing alongside Michael Learned, longtime star of TV’s “The Waltons,” in the Philadelphia Theatre Company’s production of “Mothers and Sons” by Terrance McNally at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, Feb. 6 through March 8.

The story revolves around Katherine (Learned), who, 20 years after her son’s death, leaves her Texas home and pays an unexpected visit to the New York apartment of Cal, her late son’s partner who is now married to another man and has a young son. Patrick, who alternates in the role, appears as the son on Saturdays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“Being in this play,” says Patrick, who attends Saint Philip Neri school in Lafayette Hill, “is so much fun.” But because his father, Patrick Gibbons, Sr., was so cautious with his son’s future, the young thespian almost never got the chance to act. Patrick and his parents were watching his sister, Anna, sing at an audition for a role she wanted when the family was approached and asked if little Patrick wanted to audition too. Patrick was about two years old at the time.

“My husband immediately said no,” recalls Maureen Gibbons, Patrick’s mother, “but Patrick was so excited about the thought of acting, and because we kept being approached, by the time Patrick was about five years old, we finally gave in. Patrick’s audition, when he stood on a chair and began to sing, led to his role in ‘One Life to Live.’”

Currently, Patrick goes to school until 11 a.m. After that it’s time to go to the theater. At night it’s time to do homework or rehearse his lines. And what might be difficult for some youngsters comes easy to Patrick. “In the beginning the only hard part for me was memorizing all my lines. But now that I have learned them all, it’s not difficult at all. It’s just a lot of fun. Even the other kids in school say they have fun watching me. It started in kindergarten when the teacher played some of my scenes from ‘One Life to Live.’ They’re not jealous of me. They just say how lucky I am.”

Maureen Gibbons says her hope for her young son’s future “is that he follows his dreams, no matter what they may be. He’s fallen in love with acting and always wants to audition. Patrick is passionate about everything he does and enjoys everything he does, so I hope we can help him balance out everything in his life.”

She adds that the advice he gets from his parents is to always do his best, whether in school or on the stage. “Trying your hardest and doing your best is what will get you what you want in life.”

And Patrick knows exactly what he wants. “I love acting so much that I never want to let it go. So I know I definitely want to be an actor when I grow up. I also play hockey all the time and love that, too, so I never want to let that go, either. I heard of an actor who also plays hockey, so that’s what I see myself doing in the future.”

For “Mothers and Sons” ticket information, call 215-985-0420.