Playing the Von Trapp children in Shoreline Musical Theatre’s production of the Sound of Music at the Tidemark Nov. 28-30 are (from left) Rose Gibson

Seven children needed – no experience necessary! 

The casting call went out in September for Shoreline Musical Theatre’s production of The Sound of Music

The casting call went out in September for Shoreline Musical Theatre’s production of The Sound of Music, and seven of the roles to be filled were those of Captain Von Trapp’s children.

“We were looking for children who not only could sing, but were interested and wanted to entertain,” said co-director Ruth Nichol.

“They not only needed to be creative and desire to be engaged,” added artistic director and choreographer Heather Gordon Murphy, “but they also had to have the ability to be still.”

“The children are very important to the story,” says Nichol, “they bring their father back to his great love of music, and they help instigate the friendship of Maria and the Captain (played by Mary Jo Wood and Ryan Mennie).”

“They create the beauty of innocence and wonder,” said Gordon Murphy.

There were a fair number of children auditioning, and, after callbacks, seven were selected, with a variety of backgrounds – from the experienced to brand new.

Plessa Walden plays Liesl, the oldest of the Von Trapp children. She has had previous experience on stage, and enjoys not only performing, but the challenge of finding her character.

“Liesl is naïve,” she explains. “When you look at her relationship with Rolf, she thinks she knows, but she doesn’t. She wants to be more mature than she is.”

There are two sons in the Von Trapp family – Jeffrey Lindenbach plays Kurt and Liam Broadhurst plays Friedrich. For both boys, it is their first time on stage.

Broadhurst’s sister was auditioning, and so he decided to give it a try as well.

“I’m enjoying all of it,” he said. “Friedrich is the oldest boy, so he probably feels like he needs to lead Kurt in the right way.”

Lindenbach is enjoying the singing, and thinks performing in front of an audience will be the challenge.

“Kurt is shy, and doesn’t make himself noticed. He’s way different from me,” he said.

Rose Gibson has the part of Gretl, the youngest member of the family, and this is also her first time on stage. She is enjoying the acting and singing, but says it is challenging “remembering every single thing you have to do.”

Her older sister, Olivia, has the part of Marta. Olivia has dance experience, and is really enjoying portraying a character, and “making all the expressions, like when our dad says he’s going to marry Frau Schraeder, I have a look like what?”

She explained that it can be tricky remembering all the blocking, but if it isn’t right, it’s done again, and then it gets easier to remember.

Abigail Broadhurst plays the part of Brigitta. She has training in musical theatre and voice, and decided to audition after seeing the ad in the paper. She is enjoying performing, and notes that she has one tricky scene where everything gets a bit tense. She said that her character is a “bit nosy – she likes to figure stuff out before other people.”

Louisa, the mischief maker, is played by Atraia Colongioli. She has had a variety of performing experiences in dance, theatre and choir.  She is loving being part of the production, and is happy to be part of such a dedicated group.

“My challenge was the audition,” she said, “I was really nervous and didn’t think I’d get the part, but I did!”

The children are coming together as a family in a lovely, entertaining way.

“My favourite scene is when the children start singing The Sound of Music,” says Nichol, “and their father can hardly believe his ears…then he joins in. The greatness of the music and the profound, gentle emotion is wonderful.”

The Sound of Music runs from Thursday, Nov. 28 to Saturday, Nov. 30, including a matinee on the Saturday. Tickets are $27, and available at the Tidemark Box Office, or on-line at tidemarktheatre.com.