The Sound of Music is hitting the stage here in sunny Sri Lanka and is set to take Colombo’s fledgling theatre scene by storm!
Presented by Cinnamon Life
Storyline and interviews by Ruwandi Perera
The hills – or rather, a city by the sea – are destined to come alive with The Sound of Music, which will be staged in Colombo in mid-February. Presented by Cinnamon Life, South Asia’s first international theatre performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Ian’s West End production of The Sound of Music will be played out at the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre, and run for seven shows.
A world-class musical depicting a fun loving nun who was never meant to live life in a convent, The Sound of Music has made its mark on some of the world’s most revered stages including Broadway and the West End.
Featuring a host of lovable characters, cherished songs and a heart-warming storyline, the famed musical was first staged in Broadway in 1959 by Rodgers and Hammerstein. It has won a gamut of accolades including five Tony Awards and a coveted Grammy Award. The musical rose to height-ened fame with the 1965 American musical drama film adaptation starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.
One of the greatest musicals of all time and a critically acclaimed piece of work, the iconic musical is brought to life by the Broadway Asia Group. The first event of this magnitude, The Sound of Music will be staged with 26 cast members (including locals), nine musicians, 20 touring crew members and some 60 stage hands.
A nun, a retired naval officer, seven children, several Nazis and a whole lot of cherished songs, The Sound of Music will take top billing on Colom-bo’s theatre scene for years to come!
with David Ian
British theatre producer, former actor and co-producer of The Sound of Music
Q: How do you think Sri Lankan theatre-goers will embrace the musical?
A: This production gained fantastic reviews when it opened at the London Palladium and therefore, I think Sri Lankan audiences are in for a real treat.
Q: What are the challenges of staging this production in Sri Lanka?
A: The challenges of moving any large-scale musical across the world are huge but I’m thrilled to say that with our wonderful and experienced team, we will be presenting a first class show.
Q: Could you tell us about the cast and crew?
A: Our cast and crew are amongst the best in the world. At the end of the day, apart from its story and songs, a show comes down to how good the cast, crew and orchestra are. And our team members are superb.
Q: What’s your most cherished piece of the show?
A: My favourite bit of the show is Do-Re-Mi – the first time we see the children. It is wonderful!
Q: How about the music – how is it being managed and directed for the show?
A: We have a top-notch group of musicians in our orchestra and Kevin Kraak as our Musical Director.
Q: What are your plans for the rest of the year?
A: My company will be producing multiple shows across the world such as Cats, Chicago, Annie, Evita and The Bodyguard, and many more.
with Carmen Pretorius
Stars as the vivacious Maria
Q: What has it been like to take part in a larger than life production?
A: It is an absolute dream to play the role of Maria. She is an iconic female figure in world history, musical theatre and film history. While playing this role, I eat, sleep and breathe the show.
I absolutely adore how Maria never changes herself for others.
She has a fearless belief in the perfection of the gifts that God has bestowed upon her – and she always uses them for the good of all despite the fact that other people try to fit her into boxes they create for her.
I have to take good care of my voice by steaming three times a day, eating well, avoiding spicy foods, getting enough sleep and taking all my vita-mins. I can’t socialise and talk as much as I can when I’m not in the show. It can be lonely sometimes but luckily, I am perfectly content with a cup of strong tea and a good book.
This show has afforded me the opportunity to meet incredible people – both young and old – from around the world and my own country. I’m so hon-oured to be sharing the stage with such talented world-class artistes, and to be able to work with and learn from the likes of our Associate Director Frank Thompson and Resident Director Jonny Bowles.
Q: Do you take any cues and tips from the movie?
A: I undoubtedly feel responsible to refer to Dame Julie Andrews’ iconic performance of Maria since the film has popularised this tale exponentially. Many people aren’t familiar with the stage show and not aware that it preceded the film. Therefore, it is important to take this into account but I wouldn’t be an actress if I simply copied it outright.
Under the master guidance of Frank, I was given a map, a torch and my own hiking boots in order to explore the intricacies of this character. My por-trayal of Maria is true to me as an actress and to my method of finding personal authenticity in portraying a role. However, it is most definitely influ-enced by Julie and the manner in which the film painted Maria.
Q: Singing, dancing and acting – how do you manage all three at the same time?
A: With much concentration and nerves of steel.
It takes a while for one’s body to become ‘show fit,’ as we say. This is why rehearsals are so important for us all to learn the show and serve the pur-pose of training our ‘instruments.’ It takes skill to learn how to do all three at the same time and the only way one can improve on this skill is by doing it. It looks easier than it feels, though.
Q: What’s your favourite part of the show?
A: My favorite part of the show is when Maria starts singing to the children for the first time in Do-Re-Mi. It is such a momentous moment in their lives; it changes the way they view (and live in) the world forever.
I also love being barefoot on the mountain at the beginning as I love feeling the grass under my feet. I’m a huge nature and animal fanatic!
Q: How would you rate the on-stage chemistry between the performers?
A: We have a wonderful cast, crew and band, and this contributes to a very happy and fruitful chemistry. Nicholas Maude who plays Captain von Trapp is such a laugh, and we get along very well onstage and off it.
Janelle Visagie who plays Mother Abbess is a dear friend of mine and has been so for many years. And Zoe Beavon who plays the role of Liesl von Trapp is simply a star.
We all bounce off each other very well and this translates so tangibly into an audience when they watch the show. One can see that we all love what we do… and love telling the story together. We’re like a family.
There are scraps and arguments now and then, much like any family would have, but everyone gets on with it and enjoys each other.
- Maria Rainer
- Captain von Trapp
- Mother Abbess
- Max Detweiler
- Baroness Schraeder
- Liesl von Trapp
- Rolf Gruber
- Frau Schmidt
- Sister Bertha
- Sister Sophia
- Sister Margaretta
- The Sound of Music
- My Favourite Things
- I Have Confidence
- Sixteen Going On Seventeen
- The Lonely Goatherd
- How Can Love Survive?
- Climb Ev’ry Mountain
- No Way To Stop It
- Something Good