Ashley Brown, Ben Davis & Newcomer Kerstin Anderson Will Hit the Road in New National Tour of THE SOUND OF MUSIC
BroadwayWorld has just learned that casting has been announced for the brand new production of THE SOUND OF MUSIC, directed by three-time Tony Award winner Jack O'Brien. This lavish new production launches this September at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, under the auspices of the Center Theatre Group, and will then tour North America for multiple seasons, playing multi-week and week-long engagements.
BEN DAVIS (Broadway's Violet, A Little Night Music, La Bohème) will play Captain Georg von Trapp and ASHLEY BROWN (Broadway's Mary Poppins, NBC's The Sound of Music) will play The Mother Abbess with MERWIN FOARD as Max Detweiler, TERI DALE HANSEN as Elsa Schraeder, DAN TRACY as Rolf and PAIGE SILVESTER as Liesl. The von Trapp children will be played by ERICH SCHUETT (Friedrich), MARIA KNASEL (Louisa), QUINN ERICKSON (Kurt), SVEA JOHNSON (Brigitta), MACKENZIE CURRIE (Marta) and AUDREY BENNETT (Gretl).
And introducing Jack O'Brien's brand new discovery, KERSTIN ANDERSON as Maria Rainer. A current student at Pace University, Ms. Anderson won the coveted role from hundreds who auditioned. This will be her first national tour.
"I've always believed Maria was a "star-making" part, rather than the leading role we remember from the movies; so I went looking for someone with star-making magic," says director O'Brien. "And in through the audition door one day walked Kerstin Anderson, still studying at Pace University in New York. She opened her mouth, she sang and the tears welled up in my eyes. If ever there were an enchanting young woman standing on the brink of discovery - this was it! And now, the discovery is about to be all of ours!"
The ensemble includes Carey Rebecca Brown, Ron Brown, Caitlin Burke, Christopher Carl, Kyla Carter, Austin Colby, Daniella Dalli, Elisabeth Evans, Donna Garner, Meghan Hales, Adam Hill, Jenavene Hester, Jeremy Lanuti, Darren Matthias, Kelly McCormick, Julia Osborne, Andrea Ross, Brent Schindele and Jim Schubin.
THE SOUND OF MUSIC features music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, suggested by The Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp. This new production is directed by Jack O'Brien (credits include: Hairspray, The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Coast of Utopia), and choreographed by Danny Mefford (Fun Home, The Bridges of Madison County and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson). The design and production team is comprised of Douglas Schmidt, Set Design (Tony Award nominee: 42nd Street, Into the Woods); Jane Greenwood, Costume Design (2014 recipient of Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre), Natasha Katz, Lighting Design (Five-time Tony Award winner: An American in Paris, Once, Aida, The Coast of Utopia, The Glass Menagerie) and Ken Travis, Sound Design (Aladdin, Newsies, Memphis).
According to director Jack O'Brien, "THE SOUND OF MUSIC has been in our ears for decades, as it deserves to be. But it might be time to look once more, and more closely, at this remarkable work which, I feel, begins to reveal itself as deeper, richer, and more powerful than ever. It's no longer 'your mother's' familiar SOUND OF MUSIC. We are tearing off the varnish of the past from one of the great glories of our theatergoing experience and making it fresh! This is an opportunity we've all longed to create!"
Producer Beth Williams (Grove Entertainment) said, "It's a great privilege to bring this beloved Rodgers & Hammerstein musical to theaters across North America. We hope that people of all ages will continue to fall in love with it for the first time, or all over again, and that it will truly become one of their 'favorite things.' From our distinguished team led by the creative master Jack O'Brien, audiences can expect a truly magnificent production of THE SOUND OF MUSIC."
In the words of Ted Chapin, President of Rodgers & Hammerstein, "THE SOUND OF MUSIC continues to be the world's most beloved musical. When a major national tour was suggested, I not only agreed, but was willing to roll up my sleeves and do whatever I could to fashion a new stage production that would re-engage today's theatergoing public. The show was originally created for Broadway, and seeing it on stage only reinforces the power of the story and the score. And with Jack O'Brien at the directorial helm - well, we simply couldn't do better. Landing somewhere between The Coast of Utopia and Hairspray (shows for which Jack won the Tony), his production will be smart, focused, and surprising. I can't wait."
THE SOUND OF MUSIC enjoyed extraordinary success as the first live television production of a musical in over 50 years when "The Sound of Music Live!" aired on NBC in December, 2013; 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the film version, which continues to be the most successful movie musical in history. The spirited, romantic and beloved musical story of Maria and the Von Trapp Family will once again thrill audiences with such songs as "My Favorite Things," "Do-Re-Mi," "Climb Ev'ry Mountain," "Edelweiss" and the title song.