For parents who are part of Generation X—those born between the early ’60s and early ’80s—a 1965 movie called “The Sound of Music” starring Julie Andrews conjures all sorts of childhood memories. We grew up listening to songs like “Do-Re-Mi” and “My Favorite Things,” written by the famous writing team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II.
A stage adaptation, also based loosely on the true story of a family with seven children who used music to escape Nazi-occupied Austria, premiered on Broadway in 1959. More than 50 years later, the story and music still resonate. NBC presented a television version of the musical starring Carrie Underwood during the 2013 holiday season and garnered more than 18 million viewers.
Hale Centre Theatre, in Gilbert, performs “The Sound of Music” through Saturday, Nov. 29. It’s directed by D. Scott Withers, who says that although the production features a familiar tale, it’s imbued “with presence and drive.” He says it’s important to remember how the show fits into history. It’s not a dark show, but parts of the production feel “urgent and intense.”
Withers says children old enough to watch the movie should enjoy the show, noting that “adults pick up on things that kids don’t.”
Insights from young cast members
Sydney Del Fosse, a Chandler 12-year-old who plays Brigitta, recalls growing up with music from the show. “I’ve known the music since I was really little,” she says. “I think it’s really fun.” Her favorite part of “The Sound of Music” features governess Maria teaching the von Trapp children how to sing a scale of notes.
But she’s also mindful of the musical’s deeper themes: the importance of learning who you are, following your heart, doing what you believe in and using music to help get you through hard times.
Austin Porter, a Gilbert 12-year-old who plays Kurt, feels the show includes important reminders for parents. “You should learn who your kid is and know your kids’ interests,” says Porter. “Be sure your kid is happy instead of just doing what you expect for him.”
For Porter, the musical is all about overcoming obstacles. “The point of the story is that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.”
Kathleen Jensen, a Queen Creek 7-year-old who plays Gretl, says the show teaches people “that it is good to be kind instead of rude.”
It’s nice to know that family-friendly musicals can help reinforce the messages we share with our kids in various daily settings. Ticket information.
Did you know?
The real boy behind the character Kurt grew up to have four grandchildren—the great-grandchildren of Captain and Maria von Trapp—who now reside in Portland and perform around the world as The von Trapps. Their first album, a collaboration with Pink Martini called “Dream a Little Dream,” was released earlier this year.