BWW Interview: Get to Know The Cast of THE SOUND OF MUSIC
Manila, Philippines--The hills are truly alive with the arrival of London's West End production's "The Sound of Music." On the gala night (September 29), audiences across generations came running to the Theatre at Solaire just to see the show for the first time and for some, many times over a beloved musical that became part of their childhood. "The Sound of Music" is a nostalgic theatrical experience that brings candid memories of yore and a myriad of familiar tunes that would prompt any viewer to go home humming if not singing.
For the cast that came from the United Kingdom and South Africa, the Philippines is an unfamiliar shore that has a lot to offer. Of all the casts, only Jonathan Taylor who plays Max Detweiler has visited the Philippines before. During a media call, he recounted beautiful memories of staying in the country, experiencing first-hand its culture.
"The Philippines is a very nice place... I have visited Boracay before, the beaches here are all lovely... and you got friendly people here not to mention the food... if ever I'll have the chance, I'll retire here. I already have friends here whom I have met years ago..." said Jonathan.
With such a very tight schedule, the casts were able to squeeze in some side trips to nearby historical places such as Walled City of Intramuros, which is just a couple of kilometers away from the theatre.
"We went to this walled city (Intramuros) and it was lovely. It was preserved and the churches are like the ones seen in Milan. We also saw horse-drawn carriages... the kalesa... it's a beautiful place." said Janelle Visagie who plays Mother Abbess.
Visagie who is originally a trained opera singer dreams of starring in Puccini's Madame Butterfly. She said her training in opera enables her to land a role in the production and that her signature show tune, "Climb Ev'ry Mountain," is a personal favorite as the message is clear--to follow one's dream, search for it, and never give up.
For Zoe Beavon, Leisl von Trapp of this production, she shared just like most of the cast that she saw the film adaptation of "The Sound of Music" when she was about four years old.
"I saw the movie when I was about four years old. I will never forget that movie as I watched it many more times and now, I am performing it... it's really exciting I got to play a major role and get to sing the musical's famous songs," said Zoe who likewise praised the Filipino cast members who play her siblings, the six remaining von Trapp children.
According to her, the kids are all hardworking and passionate about their parts and that the children were already rehearsing for weeks before the cast arrived in Manila.
Carmen Pretorius who plays the title role of Maria von Trapp is truly amazed by the performance of the children considering that most of them are just normal elementary students. Of all the casts of the production, Carmen spent most of her time with the kids rehearsing and even bonding with them if there's time.
"I admire the talents of the kids here, the Filipino kids. You don't realize but in this part of the world, there is so much talent yet to be seen. These raw talents are really unbelievable," said Carmen.
Nick Maude, Captain von Trapp in this production, also praised the singing abilities of Filipinos citing that Filipinos are good singers and entertainers. In fact, he recalled his wife working with Filipino entertainers in Hong Kong Disneyland.
"My wife worked with Filipinos and certainly they are one of the best in the industry, their ways and talents are truly amazing... That is why it is no surprise that performing here in Manila is a challenge, we are like performing in a theatre filled with equally talented audiences!" shared Nick.
When it comes with local delicacies, the majority of the cast members fancy a local specialty made of baked bread sprinkled with cheese, the ensaymada. According to them, this pastry would always welcome them after rehearsals and somehow became a comfort food and snack in between their work in the theatre. According to Carmen, ensaymadas are best enjoyed with freshly brewed coffee or just anything like tea! The casts are all excited in their stay here in Manila and are more adventurous in having an authentic taste of Philippine culture.
Brought to you by Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Really Useful Company, Globe Live, Lunchbox Productions, and Concertus Manila, "The Sound of Music" plays at the Theatre of the Solaire until October 22.
Book tickets at TicketWorld.com.ph.
Photos: Ulysses Manuel