The Sound of Music” is headed to Manila in September and there’s one important thing this popular musical needs: kids, lots of them.
“If the kids don’t work, it doesn’t work. So you’ve got to find the right kids to really bring the magic onstage,” said Jonny Bowles, the show’s resident director.
Based on the memoir of Maria von Trapp, “The Sound of Music” is the story of a young governess who changes the life of the family she works for by bringing music into their world. The show features music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. The original Broadway production won five Tony Awards including Best Musical while the 1965 film starring Julie Andrews bagged five Oscars including Best Picture.
The Manila season of “The Sound of Music” is produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Company and David Ian Productions, and is presented in Manila by Globe Live, Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, Concertus Manila and David Atkins Enterprises.
To find the right kids to play six of the seven Von Trapp children, auditions were held in Manila. Jonny flew in from London to oversee the auditions. Four hundred hopefuls from all over the Philippines showed up to display their acting, singing and dancing skills.
“Who wouldn’t? I mean, it’s ‘The Sound of Music,’” said Gwyneth Dorado.
A number of the kids said they were encouraged by their parents who are fans of the show.
“It’s one of my mom’s favorites,” said Angelica Mabuting.
Sophia Isabella Reyes said, “It’s one of my dad’s favorite childhood movies.”
“My mom wanted me to have fun aside from math,” said Jia Ruth Lauren Condino.
To prepare, Rayne Yssibel Cortez, who auditioned with her twin Tory, said, “We learned the songs and watched the movie and the live version of the movie.”
After three grueling rounds, the final 18 were chosen. Jonny said, “I was delighted with the number of children that auditioned, and we have found some really fantastic young performers… I can’t wait to start teaching them all the show. It is the opportunity of a lifetime for these talented youngsters to star in a West End production of this caliber, and Filipino audiences will be astounded at the quality of their performances.”
Meet the kids
Playing Friedrich are Orenci Ken Soleta from Rizal, Kyle Robert Rafanan from Negros Occidental (“I was jumping up and down in joy and watching my father and mother also jumping in joy,” Kyle said.) and Joseph Alexander Leggatt from Biñan.
Playing Louisa are Gwyneth Jearei Dorado of Pasig, Quinn O’hara of Laguna and Angelica Mabuting of Bulacan. “At first I couldn’t believe it,” said Angelica.
Tory Gil Emilio Cortez of Pasig, Dean Adhiel Angelia from Cavite and James Christian Hess from Makati will be the show’s Kurt while Brigitta will be played by Krystal Brimner from Laguna, Rayne Yssibel Cortez from Pasig and Sophia Isabella Reyes of Marikina. Yes—the Cortez twins both made it. “It feels really great to be together in one show,” said Tory.
Samantha Lagman from Manila, Leani Columna from Las Piñas and Princess Aliyah Rabara from Bulacan will play Marta. “I’m very happy,” said Princess.
To play little Gretl are Jia Ruth Lauren Condino of Taguig, Alysha Mari Africa of Parañaque and Faline Dorado of Pasig.
“I was surprised that I got in,” said Alysha.
“I’m happy because it’s my first time,” said Faline Dorado, whose sister Gwyneth is also part of the show.
Gwyneth said, “This is the first ever show that she’ll be in and I’m really excited because I’ll be with her.”
“The great thing about this production is our kids are all from here. All the kids except for Liesl are from the Philippines,” said Anna Yulo, publicist for Concertus Manila.
The kids will perform some of the show’s most iconic songs including “Do-Re-Mi,” “My Favorite Things,” “So Long, Farewell” and, of course, “The Sound of Music.”
They recently got the chance to meet their Maria—Carmen Pretorius, one of South Africa’s most established young actresses. Carmen, who had also spent a year playing Liesl in the touring production, has already stepped into the shoes of Maria in Hong Kong, China and Jakarta.
That marriage of international and local talent is even more reason to watch what is bound to be a memorable show.
Dean said, “I feel really blessed because an opportunity like this comes once in a lifetime.”
“The Sound of Music” runs at The Theatre at Solaire starting Sept. 27. Visit Ticketworld.com.ph.