MANY fans who have seen the film or have been exposed to its music in their youth have fond memories of The Sound of Music. Whether it’s seeing the mountain ranges at the introduction of the film and panning to Maria’s turns, or being introduced to the music by their parents. They may also have had the chance to watch the musical on which the film was based when the international touring production came to Manila in 2017.
Metro Manila audiences will again be able to see the musical live when the international tour of a reimagined version of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music, produced by Broadway International Group, comes to the metro for performances from March 7 to 26 at the Samsung Performing Arts Theater in Circuit Makati.
The musical’s story follows the governess (and failed novice) Maria who changes the lives of the widowed Captain von Trapp and his seven children by reintroducing them to music. It culminates with the family’s flight across the Austrian mountains as tensions rise prior to the outbreak of World War II.
The music, which celebrates its 65th anniversary next year, won five Tony Awards including Best Musical, and the Grammy Award for Best Show Album for its original run. It has also entertained generations of audience members with live productions across the world, and, of course, the classic film starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, which won five Oscar Awards including Best Picture.
“It’s quite exciting because Jack O’Brien — who is truly one of the great Broadway directors — has reimagined the show. He’s been able to really dig deep into the heart of the show can find a lot of the humanity, a lot of the honesty and the integrity of this really beautiful musical,” said Marc Routh, president of Broadway Asia Group, who has been producing, managing, and licensing the show for 30 years, at a press conference on Jan. 18 at the Samsung Performing Arts Theater.
Aside from the Broadway Asia Group, the new touring production of The Sound of Music is produced by Simone Genatt, along with co-producers Roy Furman, Broadway Asia Group, Cornice Productions and Gabrielle Palitz, in association with GMG Productions.
At the age of five, Jill-Christine Wiley saw The Sound of Music – her first musical theater show – together with her mother.
“[I remember thinking that] this five-year-old would not make it through the show or be at all interested. I apparently sat at the edge of my seat the entire time and had to meet the girl playing Maria afterwards and hand her a rose,” Ms. Wiley recalled. Soon after, she auditioned for the musical bagged the role of Marta von Trapp, the second youngest child in the family.
Now she plays the governess Maria Rainer and recently performed her 500th show with the musical.
The children are what she loves about doing the show. “The children of our show are one of my favorite aspects of the show and getting to share the stage with them…There is no greater masterclass in acting than watching a child light up onstage and watching them discover their characters and make genuine connection with their stage siblings,” Ms. Wiley said. The cast of children from North America will be joining the full company for the first time during the Manila leg of the tour.
Joining Ms. Rainer onstage is Trevor Martin who plays Captain von Trapp, and Lauren Kidwell as Mother Abbess.
“I love singing with Jill… I don’t know if many of you know but ‘My Favorite Things’ is actually between Mother Abbess and Maria,” Ms. Kidwell said. Unlike in the 1965 film musical, Maria and Mother Abbess perform the song together in Act 1 of the musical.
“Being able to access my character in a way that is surprising to a lot of people who come to see our show and just getting to play and access a fun childlike enjoyment of music through my character is something I love discovering every single time onstage,” Ms. Kidwell added.
THE MUSIC AND STORY
The show features music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, with a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse.
The touring production highlights the original creative work of three-time Tony Award winning director Jack O’Brien, Broadway choreographer Danny Mefford, and musical supervision by Andy Einhorn, as well as an award-winning Broadway creative, design, and production team.
“At the heart of it is the music,” Mr. Routh said of what makes the musical a classic. “It’s a story about self-discovery, deep romantic love, and supporting these children who are growing up in harsh environments and giving them love through the medium of song…,” he added.
Having performed in the show many times, Ms. Kidwell admitted to still getting emotional every time she sings her solo.
“Every time I sing ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain,’ without fail I get emotional,” Ms. Kidwell told BusinessWorld. “I sing it twice throughout the show, and the moment that underscoring happens, I get goosebumps.”
Aside from its music, the story’s relevance remains evident in situations around the world today.
“Georg von Trapp was a real person, so was Maria Rainer, and obviously these situations really did happen,” Mr. Martin said of the themes in relation to the Second World War. “There are some parts that are brought into the theatrical realm in the show, but that context is still there.”
The story, he said, transitions to being about surviving authoritarian rule and “refugees having to leave their home.”
“At the end of the show, the last 30 minutes or so, really feel like [a] new show… and that makes me very proud to be a part of it. [Because] I felt like that is an extremely important subject to talk about, whether it be from the 1940s or today,” Mr. Martin said.
Tickets to The Sound of Music are now on sale, online at ticketworld.com.ph and at TicketWorld outlets. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman