SOM vonTrappchildren

Working alongside children in a stage production can result in any of a number of circumstances. Let’s face it, kids are kids. They have a thousand different things that are important to them at any given moment when we would prefer they stay focused on something else. They’re kids – learning about life at a rapid pace (likely a far more rapid pace these days than the pace I experienced back in the middle of the last century).

The girls: (clockwise from left) Kennedy Martin plays Louisa; Madison Moll plays Brigitta; Lucy Neal plays Marta; Emma Rogers plays Gretl

The girls: (clockwise from left) Kennedy Martin plays Louisa; Madison Moll plays Brigitta; Lucy Neal plays Marta; Emma Rogers plays Gretl


That said – the 6 children (I am not including the oldest Von Trapp daughter, Liesel, who is 16 going on 17, and is being played by recent college grad, Hillary Smith) involved in our production of The Sound of Music have been really great kids! Just the fact that they each had to compete with 260 other hopeful auditioners and get through a callback of 60 possibilities to get their roles puts them in a very special group. Then, the fact that their rehearsals started 2 full weekend days before the rest of ours and they had to learn to sing and dance 7 of the show’s musical numbers, plus memorizing lines and blocking, and they have 6 or 7 full changes of costumes, some of which they change into twice…I’ll tell ya – I am very impressed!

Thomas Whitcomb plays Friedrich

Thomas Whitcomb plays Friedrich

Backstage behavior is very often an item of some consequence when working with young people in shows, but even in that aspect, these kids are doing just fine. Oh, there have been a few moments that needed correcting, but under the guidance of their wonderful “kid wrangler”, Carrie Neal, they do darn well. Carrie’s job is a multi-tasked affair; not only does she make sure the kids know what is happening next, are in the right costume, are on the correct side of the stage for their entrances and are keeping quiet backstage – she also plays Sister Sophia, as well as party guest, Baroness Elberfeld, in the show. On top of that, her daughter – Lucy, was cast as Marta, so Carrie has an added responsibility there.
Isaac Herzog plays Kurt

Isaac Herzog plays Kurt

Which brings me to the parents (and grandparents, I see). These talented children are lucky enough to have a very special brand of support coming from their dedicated family members, who make sure they are at the theatre on time – well-fed and ready to go. Our evening shows end around 10:30 pm during the week and Saturdays, so the kids must be picked up and transported home for bed and school the next day. (I am certain there will be a good deal of relief felt shortly when school lets out for the summer.)

So, all in all, this is a positive group of talented, interesting youths, who each bring a whole lot to the stage in every performance. It’s compelling and fun for me to get to know some of them. I share a large dressing room with the two boys and two other actors, and I must say, these kids’ parents can be very proud of how they handle themselves in a full-blown musical theatre production. I have a feeling that all of them will be seen again soon on local stages throughout central Indiana. I’ll hope to be there watching.

If you are interested in attending Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music at Beef and Board Dinner Theatre in Indianapolis, ticket information can be found by calling 317-872-9664. The show opens May 16 and runs thru June 30. Further info about the show can be found at http://www.beefandboards.com .

*Group photo of the Von Trapp Children by Julie Curry

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