BWW Interview: Mike McLean as Captain Georg von Trapp in THE SOUND OF MUSIC on Tour
THE SOUND OF MUSIC is a spectacular show with amazing music and a riveting story to go along with it. As there touring company of THE SOUND OF MUSIC prepares to come to San Antonio, Texas from March 8 to March 10, BWW had a chance to chat with Captain Georg von Trapp (played by Mike McLean) and find out about this amazing production.
Tell us how you first got interested in performing.
The first role that I appeared on stage in was an ant in Thumbelina in second grade. It was one of those made-up parts. There [were] 52 ants across the stage. Tossing candy on the stage. My sister was in fourth grade and she had the title role. I think I got sucked into it because they needed some extra bodies. So, that was where it all began. I've always loved singing - you know, a little kid singing in church. Then I joined a boys' choir when I was 12. I joined the choir at the junior high school and started doing some musicals in junior high and high school. I never really thought it would become anything, it was just fun. Then I started winning awards in high school. I just started to think maybe I can do it in college and make something out of it.
Do you remember doing Thumbelina? What are some other early memories you have of performing onstage?
I have a very vivid memory of myself on stage. I took it very seriously. There were 40 or 50 of us lined up onstage with our little brown sweatshirts and brown tights. We were supposed be passing candy down the line. I just stepped out and really yelled, "Come on. Get moving." It was my first improvisation. That's a great memory of being onstage. The next show I got to be in was still in elementary school. I got to be the scarecrow in the Wizard of OZ. That was a lot more fun. I remember starting to like it at that point.
Fast forward to now and you get to play Captain von Trapp in THE SOUND OF MUSIC. How did that come to be?
It's such a great role. I heard about it and had been for awhile. I have a fairly decent relationship with the casting company that was working on it so I shot them an email. They let me come in and I honestly didn't think that I was right for the part. I just wanted to go into these casting people because they're a pretty big name in New York. I just wanted to go in and do a good job and have them say "Thank you very much. We'll see you for the next one." But, in fact, the day after my initial audition, I was getting on a plane to go to Kauai for my mom's 60th birthday. A family event. Sure enough, when I landed in Kauai, I had phone calls and emails telling me that I was supposed to come in the next day for a callback. I called the casting director and I said I'm in Kauai. I'm not going anywhere. But, I'd be happy to send you a video of this callback material. They said yeah that's fine. I had never had much luck doing video auditions so I didn't think nothing much will go for it. So, I did the video. I was standing in my board shorts and a t-shirt in a beach hut in Kauai recording myself on my lap top. A couple of days after they said the director wants to meet you. When are you coming back? We came back to city in a week. Had a little audition with the director and a couple days later, got the call. Kind of a wild ride. I really did not think it was going to happen but, here we are.
Tell us a little bit more about this particular production of THE SOUND OF MUSIC.
You're going to learn something new about THE SOUND OF MUSIC. It's obviously a fan favorite. Everyone knows the movie. But, the movie was an adaptation from the original Broadway show. Most people would see our show and say,"Oh, they changed it." But, in fact, it's the movie that made the changes. So, when you come to our show, you'll see the original. The thing that modernized about our production as opposed to when it was on Broadway in the 50s, is that the technology that goes into theater productions now is much better. We have a beautiful production onstage that does feel like you're watching a movie even though it's not the movie that you watch at home when you watch THE SOUND OF MUSIC. It flows extremely well. There's never a blackout onstage where you sit there and wait for the scene changes and then lights up on the new scene. The show is constantly flowing. It's beautifully designed. The set is gorgeous. The lighting is gorgeous. The costumes are absolutely top notch. This is definitely the best production value of shows I've ever been involved with. You're going to see a lot of beautiful things onstage. You're going to hear all the music you know from the movie but there's also songs that they cut out of show and those are added back in. I really like those songs because they highlight the grown-up themes in the show. There's a little bit more politics. The class, the etiquette and all these things I feel are a little bit lost in the movie. It's definitely a show for everyone. Obviously you can bring kids, Mom and Dad. It's also that your natural theater goer would enjoy. I've had people come up to me after the show that are ex frat boys or law or finance and they're blown away how much they connect to our show. It really is something for everyone. Bring everybody to the show because it's a very special production. I'm very proud of it.
This is sure to please everyone including small children. Don't delay. Get your tickets at the Majestic/Empire Theater.
PHOTO CREDIT: Matthew Murphy