Take students from all three Liberty Perry buildings; Selma Elementary School, Selma Middle School, and Wapahani High School; and put them onstage together. What do you get? A fun, exciting, and unique challenge according to co-directors Mr. Kevin Van Note, middle and high school music teacher, and Mr. Ken Robinson, junior English teacher. “This is the first time we can remember that students from all three buildings have been in the same show,” they proudly point out. Since late August, the cast and crew of more than 30 students have been rehearsing The Sound of Music after school for 2-2 ½ hours a day Monday through Friday.
Going in, the directors knew they would need younger children for the von Trapp children, but having all ages onstage together has been interesting to say the least. Both directors admit helping the kids memorize their lines, blocking, and choreography and keeping the cast focused has kept them on their toes during rehearsals. “Really, the kids have been great, and their talent is incredible. The community should be very proud of what they are accomplishing,” said Mr. Robinson. The directors would like to thank the parents and grandparents, and other family members who have been making sure their children attend rehearsal and learn their lines and those who have been attending rehearsals with their children as well.
When asked why The Sound of Music, Mr. Van Note commented that he wanted a show that the potential audience would recognize and want to see. “Most people have seen the Julie Andrews version and can probably sing lines from several of the songs such as “Do Re Mi,” “Climb Every Mountain,” “My Favorite Things,” “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” and of course, the title song,” he explained. Mr. Robinson added that it is a show that the entire family can enjoy together but yet is set during a very crucial time in history, the beginning of World War II. “It’s a show that is fun but yet presents some important themes as well, and hopefully parents and children will talk about them together.”
Often called “the world’s most beloved musical,” The Sound of Music is the story of Maria Rainer, played by sophomore Olivia McCauley, a postulant who proves too high-spirited for the religious life and is sent to be the governess for the children of
Captain Georg von Trapp, played by senior Joshua Wright. As she builds a relationship with the children, she finds herself surprisingly falling in love with the Captain. Set in 1938, the show also focuses on the Captain’s struggle with loyalty to his country as Austria is invaded by Nazi Germany. When asked his thoughts on the show, Josh gave credit to the other actors, “We have such a great cast, and I am so proud of what we are accomplishing.” He also said he couldn’t have asked for a better musical for his senior year and thanked Mr. Robinson and Mr. Van Note for “an amazing musical experience over the past four years.”
The von Trapp children are played by first grader Audrey Bragg as Gretl; third grader Asa Leisure as Marta; sixth grader Jarryn Orme as Louisa; and eighth graders Cade Heffernan as Friedrich, Sophia Murrell as Brigitta, and Kevin Robinson as Kurt; and freshman Syndal Hittson as Liesl. And they seem to have come together as an onstage family and are enjoying working on the musical. Audrey said she loves her sisters in the show, and Asa is excited to be in her first show. Jarryn commented, “This show has been amazing….” and has been impressed by lead Olivia McCauley’s dedication and talent. “She’s an angel!” Sophia agreed, “Everyone worked very hard to perfect this musical.” All of the cast members probably agree with Kevin Robinson’s sentiments, “Coming to play practice is my favorite part of the day.”
Aiding Maria in her spiritual struggles are the Mother Abbess played by senior
Addyson Fritz; Sister Berthe, played by junior Joselyn Hittson; Sister Margaretta, played by junior Jordan Nelson; and Sister Sophia, played by freshman Macey Anderson. Other cast members include sophomore Parker Clingerman as butler Franz, senior Madi Cherry as housekeeper Frau Schmidt, senior Jaren Olds as the Captain’s friend Max Detweiler, senior Nathan Brant as Liesl’s boyfriend Rolf, freshman Victoria Hood as the Captain’s other romantic interest Elsa Schrader, as well as several other middle and high school students as nuns, postulants, neighbors, soldiers, etc. Echoing other cast members’ feelings, Victoria commented, “I love the cast and my character—she’s the complete opposite of me.” The directors have been greatly impressed by the incredible talent presented by these students and are enjoying working with them.
Mr. Van Note and Mr. Robinson are quick to point out that they could not do this show without a lot of help. They would like to thank Mrs. Penny Leach for all her efforts in securing and sewing costumes. “She has done a lot of work for us, and we and the cast really appreciate it.” They also appreciate the contributions of choreographers Molly and Priscilla Ervin and high school art teacher Mr. Kyle Rees who is coordinating the designing and painting of backdrops. “Of course, there are other parents and community members who are building set pieces, loaning us props and furniture, and helping in countless other ways. We truly appreciate their contributions to this show and to our students,” emphasizes Mr. Van Note.
As you can see, The Sound of Music is a corporation wide production but more importantly is another excellent example of the Selma community coming together. Mark you calendars to attend this truly amazing production at 7:00PM Thursday, November 2; Friday, November 3; and Saturday, November 4 in the Wapahani Auditorium. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and will soon be available from cast members and in school offices. Victoria Hood summed up the cast’s excitement, “Every time I’ve done a musical, it’s been great, but I feel this year is going to blow the rest out of the water!” You won’t want to miss it as the schools truly are “alive with The Sound of Music!”