Melbourne’s Von Trapp children have begun their auditions and we’ll be finding out in the next week or so who they are. The three sets of children will join the Sound of Music cast come 13 May when the Regent Theatre will be alive with the sound of music.
A thousand hopeful Melbourne children have put their hands up to play some of the most iconic children roles in theatre. At the beginning of Tuesday 2nd February, the numbers were already down to 600 and over three days it’ll dwindle down to the final 18, creating three sets of the six children to join Stefanie Jones as Liesl. It’s a process that can be daunting but the Australian tour’s Children’s Director and Associate Choreographer Jonny Bowles said it’s a fair system.
“We give them all a really good chance and a chance to take it slowly, to an extent, to let them learn as much as possible,” he said.
“There’s a misconception that it’s easier than the movie, but it’s a lot more difficult.
“It’s very tricky this production.”
The children auditioning sing both collectively and individually, are taught choreography from the show and are asked to show their smiles and personality. So what exactly do The Creatives behind Australia’s Sound of Music tour look for in their children stars?
“We need kids that can really concentrate, can pick up the choreography and the singing and harmony,” Jonny said.
“We ask a lot, but it’s been proven around the world that we can do it.
“The most important thing is that when you see kids that are not really listening to what I’m asking for, you can tell quite quickly that they’re not going to be alright for rehearsals because we have to move so fast.”
It’s a quick turnaround from rehearsals to opening night, made even tighter by regulations on how often and long children can rehearse.
“In London, we can rehearse children from 10 o’clock in the morning until 5pm, 6pm, and we can do it Monday to Saturday,” he said.
“My experience in Sydney was we had to rehearse every other day, and stop every hour or so to give them a break, so that’s a factor of getting the kids ready in a small space of time.
“If I have three weeks, it’s easy, but when you’ve got three weeks of a day on, a day off, a day on, a day off and you can’t rehearse Saturday, which is all fine, but the kids have got to have the concentration otherwise we just can’t achieve it.”
With children ranging from seasoned pros like Claire who has been in Les Miserables and Kirra’s experience in Beauty and the Beast, to those like Lola auditioning for the very first time, the environment around the auditions is full of encouraging comments and support. These three triple threats have their favourite talent though: Claire and Kirra love acting, while Lola loves to sing.
But what is the most consistent confusion amongst children determined to be a Von Trapp?
“One of the biggest factors is the coordination actually,” Jonny said.
“You always ask them if they know left and right and they always say yes, but if we don’t test it properly and get to rehearsals it’s difficult.
“It’s a very big advantage if they have natural coordination to start with.”
So what does Jonny think of the Melbourne talent pool?
“What I’ve seen so far, these kids are fantastic, they’re great,” he said.
You can see the Melbourne Von Trapp children for yourself at the Sound of Music playing at Melbourne’s Regent Theatre from 13 May 2016.
Sun 12noon and 5.30pm
Price: Tickets from $79.90* and available from: http://www.ticketmaster.com.au/The-Sound-of-Music-tickets/artist/844227
*An additional transaction fee and/or a credit/debit payment processing fee may apply
Performance times and prices are subject to change.
For more information, visit soundofmusictour.com.au