After sold-out seasons in Sydney and Brisbane, The Sound of Music opened at Melbourne’s Regent Theatre on Thursday 19 May. With a cast lead by Amy Lehpamer as Maria Rainer and Cameron Daddo as Captain Georg von Trapp, this iconic musical has returned with great anticipation.
Maria Rainer is Amy Lehpamer’s dream role and opening The Sound of Music in her home of Melbourne is special to her. She remembers the film being her elder siblings’ way of ‘babysitting’ her when she was young.
“It became quite a family favourite just because they knew that I’d be transfixed for a few hours and they wouldn’t have to do anything with me so, it worked,” Lehpamer said.
“When you’re doing a job and you can do it 150 times and then still walk out on stage and it mean so much, you know you’re doing the right thing. Putting on this little cropped wig and sort of bounding out with the energy – and you know, I realised the other day I have a walk as Maria that I didn’t even know I did. She’s sort of taken over a bit of my personality which I think is kind of lovely. I love it.
“I literally scraped my knee the other day.”
Both Stefanie Jones (Liesl) and Lehpamer have come back to their roots in this musical. The co-stars grew up playing violin and Lehpamer recognises it’s nice to be performing in a classical musical.
“It’s really lovely, I have to say. I really enjoy singing in this kind of style. I think when you’ve played in orchestras your whole life, having an orchestra supporting you is something you always really dreamed about. So as much as I love you know, the rock beats and everything like that, I think I feel like I’ve come home in a way, in a musical sense, and I’m really happy about it,” Lehpamer said.
Most cast members mention without hesitation how privileged, honoured or lucky they feel to be involved. They see their involvement as as a gift.
Cameron Daddo, (Captain Georg von Trapp) seems to have been very humbled by The Captain. Being on stage with children is a joy for him, though it does remind him that he is away from his own.
“Being a father, and being away from my children, it’s difficult. And some days it’s easier and some nights it’s really hard. I respect these kids a great deal, so that always takes me to a ‘wow’; a deep emotional moment,” Daddo said.
“My intention every night is to be as honest as possible, and we’ve done it over 150 times now, so there’s always moments. It takes me to a very deep place, playing The Captain, and it’s such a privilege and it’s an honour and a gift that I am so grateful for.”
Rounding out the adult leads are Marina Prior as Baroness Schraeder, Lorraine Bayly as Frau Schmidt, David James as Max Detweiler and Jacqueline Dark as Mother Abbess. Dark is thrilled to be in such a well-known show, with “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” as her big moment.
“It’s an absolute honour because obviously it’s an iconic song and it’s such a beautiful song to sing and it’s so well-written,” Dark said.
“Being in Opera, you say whatever you’re doing and they’re like ‘oh, okay’, but as soon as you say you’re in Sound of Music, everyone knows it, everyone loves it, everyone’s got childhood memories of it.
“We’ve had a lot of feedback from audience when they say that they hear it at the end of act one, they go out wanting to actually achieve things in their own lives and I think that’s huge.”
Marina Prior loves playing Baroness Schraeder and believes she would be friends with the Baroness if she was real.
“She’s very different in the play to the film. I think she’s a bit more three dimensional and she’s a very hedonistic, glamourous, pragmatic, very modern woman, who knows how to bow-out very gracefully and I really like her. I think I would like to be her friend if she was a real person. She’s good times,” Prior said.
Stage and screen legend Lorraine Bayly is celebrating her 50th stage show with The Sound of Music, and is still genuinely enjoying the experience.
“I’m just loving everything about it and the beautiful singers that are around me. You heard Jacqui and you heard Amy – I just love to listen and let all the beautiful sounds wash over me and wishing I could sing like that,” Bayly said.
A special treat was Nicholas Hammond, the film’s Friedrich von Trapp, joining in the celebrations.
“You can’t go anywhere in the world, where if people realise you were in that film, that they don’t have a story to tell you about what it’s meant to them and the significance of it,” Hammond said.
“It was a wonderful thing. The seven of us were the seven luckiest children in the world. I still feel that way, I really do. Everybody has a personal connection to this film that makes you very proud. It’s humbling to feel that you had a tiny, tiny part of something that has meant so much to 1.4 billion people now, and growing.”
Stefanie Jones leads the von Trapp children as the only Liesl. Jackson Rudge (Friedrich), Bronte Muir (Louisa), Joshua Vass (Kurt), Chloe Vigilante (Brigitta), Kayla Muir (Marta) and Annie Jones (Gretl) joined Stefanie and sang their hearts out for the media before another von Trapp family performed at opening night.
Joining Jackson Rudge as Friedrich are Alexander Glenk and Oliver Wellington. Alongside Bronte Muir as Louisa are Emily Crockett and Darcy McGrath. Playing Kurt with Joshua Vass will be Beaumont Farrell and Tim Haskayne. Brigitta Chloe Vigilante, Amelia Szabo and Karina Thompson. Playing Marta with Kayla Muir will be Rachel Kipnis and Ruby Moore. Joining Annie Jones as the littlest von Trapp, Gretl, will be Portia Fragapane and Heidi Sprague.
The full cast is completed by Du Toit Bredenkamp as Rolf, and an ensemble of Annie Aitken, Johanna Allen (Sister Sophia), Eleanor Blythman (Sister Margaretta), Sophie Cheeseman, Connor Crawford, Colin Dean, Tony Farrell, Steven Grace, William Groucutt, John Hannan (Franz), Anthony Harkin, Daniel Humphris, Dominica Matthews (Sister Berthe), Katie McKee, Kathleen Moore, Meredith O’Reilly, Ashleigh Rubenach and Sophie Weiss.
Photo credit: Dani Rothwell
Venue: Regent Theatre, Melbourne
Season: From 13 May 2016
Performance Times: Tues–Sat 7.30pm, Wed 1.00pm, Sat 2.00pm, Sun 12noon and 5.30pm
Price: Tickets from $79.90*
Bookings: soundofmusictour.com.au or phone 1300 111 011, Groups 12+ 1300 889 278
* An additional transaction fee and/or a credit/debit payment processing fee may apply
Performance times and prices are subject to change