BWW Interviews: Behind the Scenes with the Director & Cast of SDMT's THE SOUND OF MUSIC
BWW is happy to present a special, insider interview conducted by San Diego Musical Theatre's Susan Farese, as she sits down with Director/Choreographer Todd Nielsen and cast members of THE SOUND OF MUSIC.
It's not every day that we get the "inside take" on the personal journeys of Equity performers and Directors in a professional regional stage production. Here are some intimate, insightful tidbits about favorite scenes, songs, motivations, thoughts, special moments and/or difficulties they shared with me about San Diego Musical Theatre's current production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "The Sound of Music", (May 10th through May 26th) at the Birch North Park Theatre.
Todd Nielsen, Director/Choreographer
SF: Please tell us a little about directing this particular production..
TN: "The Sound of Music" is such a lovely, classical piece and we hope to show a fresh spin and approach in our interpretation for today's audiences.
SF: Are there any particular aspects you'd like to mention?
TN: We are focusing on the story, the relationships of the characters, the political climate. Also trying to utilize the creative space, more of a "suggested set" as we wouldn't be able to fit the usual set of "The Sound of Music" in this space.
SF: What's been the most fun?
TN: It's really been fun doing the choreography and scene work. We're not just "sitting back" we're trying to keep it alive, active and still stay true to the story".
Allison Spratt Pearce (Maria Rainer):
Note: I had a few moments to speak with Allison, who was gracious to grant me some time despite her extremely busy daily life ritual: simultaneously doing morning and daytime shows of "Twelfth Night" through The Old Globe while also rehearsing for SDMT's "The Sound of Music".
SF: Why is "The Sound of Music" so special to you?
ASP: "The Sound of Music" is one of my favorite shows for many reasons. Rodgers & Hammerstein's beautifully classic story is easy to follow yet so complex.
SF: And your role as Maria?
ASP: Maria is such a "meaty" role! I love playing Maria and couldn't wait to play her. I'm so grateful to be cast in the role at this time in my life.
SF: Any personal stories to share?
ASP: I traveled to Austria with my extended family and we went on "The Sound of Music Tour" and to the concert. It was great! We sang all the songs as a family!
SF: Do you have any songs from TSOM that you are especially fond of?
ASP: The song that is dear to my heart is "Edelweiss" because it reminds me of my maternal grandparents that would sing the song. My grandmother was a beautiful singer! In the Sound of Music, Edelweiss is such a sweet melodic lullaby yet it becomes monumental in the show because it is the story's climax.
Randall Dodge (Captain Georg von Trapp)
SF: Randall, tell us about the significance that The Sound of Music has for you.
RD: The Sound of Music will always have a special place in my heart because I got engaged to my wife Brenda during that production.
SF: Really? That is amazing. When was that?
RD: It was 2006 and we had been dating a year when we both were cast in The Sound of Music.
SF: What were your roles back then?
RD: Brenda was cast as a Nun in the ensemble and I was playing Captain Von Trapp. One night during dress rehearsal the young girl playing Gretl told her "non-stage" Mom that the actor playing her father (me) in the show didn't really love Maria and that he was going to marry one of the Nuns! It was the first time I had shared the stage with child actors and the first time I had played anyone's father.