HomeCherry Hill NewsWest stages 'The Sound of Music'

West stages ‘The Sound of Music’

Beloved story of the Von Trapp family to be performed with two casts

Emily Liu/The Sun
Cherry Hill West and younger township students rehearse for the show. Performances begin Saturday.

The hills are alive with “The Sound of Music” at Cherry Hill West.

The tale of an Austrian family fleeing the Nazis during World War II is based on the true story of the Von Trapp family of singers. The West version of the show will feature elementary- and middle-school students in the children’s parts.

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“We felt like this would be more of a family musical where people could bring their kids and it’s that all-ages musical,” said theater director Carolyn Messias. “It’s a musical that people have loved and we thought it was the time to do something more traditional. We haven’t done a traditional musical in years.”

As in previous years, this year’s production will be performed by two casts representing the show’s settings. The Vienna cast will feature Adriana Lai as Maria and Alex Santos as Captain Georg von Trapp, the lead chracters. The Salzurg cast will feature Gaby Creighton as Maria and Ben Hess as Von Trapp.

Elementary- and middle-school kids ranging from 7 to 13 years old will play the Von Trapp children for both casts. They include Gabi Rappaport and Rebekah Bruesehoff as Liesl, Tony Meccareillo as Friedrich, Talia Sworaski as Louisa, Andrew Langman as Kurt, Lindsey Langman as Brigitta, Maxine Masi as Marta and Teigan DiCicco as Gretl von Trapp.

“There’s a lot of challenges in terms of times to rehearse each cast, and that each cast gets enough time for rehearsal,” explained Messias. “Blocking the show takes twice as long with two casts, but it gives students more opportunity to have a lead or a featured role, and that’s what I like about it.”

Students participating in the show say they’re most excited for the audience to see their costumes and dancing and to experience the humor of the show.

“It’s a bit surreal saying the lines of the movie you were watching when you were 8 years old,” noted Hess, a senior, of the show’s 1965 film version.

For many in the West cast, “The Sound of Music” has taken on a deeper meaning given its historical context during the second world war. Julian Dappolone, a junior, plays Rolf, a delivery boy and Liesel’s love interest, in the Salzberg cast.

“I think in definitely telling a story like this, you can look back and see how terrible and frightening it was for people back then,” Dappolone related, “and it’s important that everyone has knowledge of what happened in the past so we can continue to appreciate that that kind of thing is gone, and that we can hope to do better in the future.”

Messias shared that when portraying the Nazis, the cast will wear red arm bands but there will be no swastikas.

“I don’t think that that’s something that we want on stage,” Messias said, “so we’ll have something in the program book about that as well. But because it’s based on a true story, it’s important to tell that story of how they (the Von Trapps) left Austria.”

The Vienna cast will perform “The Sound of Music” on Saturday, March 16; Sunday, March 17; and Friday, March 22. The Salzberg cast show dates are Friday, March 15; Thursday, March 21; and Saturday, March 23.

All shows will begin at 7 p.m. with the exception of the March 17 performance, which will begin at 2 p.m.


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