November 18, 2015
A magical tradition began 50 years ago when the film adaptation of Broadway’s The Sound of Music hit theaters across the country, introducing brand new audiences to the show’s infectious tunes and heart-warming story. The magic returns to Charlotte when a fresh production of The Sound of Music hits the stage November 24-29 at Belk Theater.
Stories of music and wonder abound during the fall and winter holidays, which may be why the film version of the tale shows up on TV throughout the season. The Sound of Music has a way of addressing a dark time in history and evoking a wide range of emotions, while still maintaining high energy and positivity. A combination of characteristics that make it perfect for the entire family.
It’s not just a story of love, family and choosing one’s own path, but also a captivating novel written by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse that wins audiences and loyal fans. The music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II have become standards that are recognized worldwide. No matter your stage in life, there’s a song in this Tony®, Grammy®, and Academy Award® winning show that likely resonates with you.
Even the most loyal fans of The Sound of Music may not know that the show is based on a book, the memoir of Maria Von Trapp, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. The book details Trapp’s life from her time in the convent through the years she and her family spent as refugees after their escape from Austria during the Nazi invasion.
The play and movie focus on a shorter period and don’t follow history to a tee, but they certainly create wonderful entertainment as Maria interacts with the Von Trapp children as their governess.
While the story takes place largely with Maria at the center of the action, the eldest Von Trapp child, Liesl, plays a major role as well. Liesl is 16, and as one of the favorite songs in the show “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” explains, the age is a pivotal time in a girl’s life. The show has several moments that focus on Liesl’s transition and her relationship with Maria.
Liesl’s major role in the show with its advanced choreographic scenes requires an actress who possesses a sharp set of singing, dancing and acting skills. Paige Silvester is one such actress with the winning combination to play Liesl in Director Jack O’Brien’s production.
“I grew up watching The Sound of Music, the movie. I watched it a lot and loved it! I’m sure it had a lot to do with me wanting to do musical theater. I’m really living my little girl dream in this part,” says Silvester.
“It’s been fun to revisit the show in a new way now that I’ve grown up; to really pick up on everything it presents. And then to see it from a stage production perspective, especially under the direction of Jack O’Brien. It’s given me an entirely different view of it.”
Liesl undergoes a complex development during the course of the show. Capturing the childlike energy of a 16-year-old and all of the transitions she’s going through internally, while simultaneously trying to appear ready for adulthood, takes some introspection on Silvester’s part.
“Of course, in real life, I’m older than 16 or 17, but not so much older that I can’t remember feeling that way, right on the cusp on growing up. And I think you can relate those feelings to a lot of different transitional times in life.”
“Even right now, knowing that I’m going away from my home and comfort zone for a year to tour, that’s a big transition. I can take those types of feelings and apply them to the role,” Silvester explains.
While touring definitely presents Silvester with a new adventure that necessitates adjustment, she isn’t a complete stranger to touring with a theater production. She was part of the 2014 EVITA Tour as well. Although, every tour has its own attributes that make it unique.
“People may be surprised to know that we don’t get off of work for holidays or anything. We are on the road together for those. So it’s wonderful that we have such an amazing group of people on this tour. It’s unique in that we have a group of kids around and there are adults of all ages. It really creates a family environment as we travel together. Everyone is fun and genuine.“
Each cast of The Sound of Music has had its own genuine chemistry on stage and screen, helping the story stand the test of time through the last 50 years. It’s continued to draw new fans and audiences, while holding on to the fans who continue to watch year after year.
Silvester points out, “No matter where you are in your life, no matter how many times you’ve watched the show, there’s always something new you can take away from it. There are so many different messages woven into the story. Even if you want to just turn off your brain and let the music wash over you, that’s also a valid experience. And while the messages make you reflect, they are all positive and universal.”
Wherever you fall in the spectrum, ready to settle in and sing along, or simply excited to see the show for the first time, this production of The Sound of Music will get your holiday season off to a great start.