This Spring, Westwood residents will have the chance to follow the trials and tribulations of the von Trapp family with a Thurston Middle School production of The Sound of Music.
The classic musical is a collaboration by Rodgers and Hammerstein, and is one of the most widely known and loved musicals of all time.
The story, which is based on true events, takes place in Austria in 1938, when a nun named Maria is sent to help a widowed naval captain with his seven children. She and the captain marry and after their honeymoon, Austria is invaded by the Nazis and demand the captain’s service. The family then goes on a fantastic escape from the Nazis over the mountains of Switzerland.
The movie version starred Julie Andrews as Maria, but Thurston's own Sarah Danforth will be filling the role in the upcoming production. Auditions for the production took place in January and the student actors have been practicing their singing, dancing and acting since February.
(Editor's Note: Due to a reporting error, the above paragraph originally stated that actress Mary Martin starred as Maria in the 1965 film version of The Sound of Music, when Julie Andrews actually filled the role. Mary Martin starred in the original Broadway production.)
The play is directed by Gina Cosimini, who is also the sixth grade drama teacher at Thurston Middle School. Diana Legere, a chorus teacher at Thurston, is the production’s musical director, while Jennifer Walsh is choreographer and Susan Costanza is in charge of costumes and props. Walsh is also a seventh- and eighth-grade drama teacher, and Costanza is a seventh- and eighth-grade Life Skills teacher.
Cosimini explained that there are many reasons why she chose The Sound of Music. The first, she said, is that there are so many great parts. With an exceptionally talented eighth grade, she wanted a show that would give as many students as possible a good part.
The second reason is that she has great memories of being in the production herself, when she played Louisa von Trapp in high school. Lastly, she said that she loves the themes of family, finding your true place in life and surviving hardship.
“People have grown up watching the movie and singing the songs,” said Cosimini. “It’s one of those musicals that just never goes out of style.”
Cosimini said that she has been impressed with how the cast is taking on the role of the characters. She said that it is amazing watching 12- and 13-year-olds to play younger and older people than themselves, demonstrating the feelings and emotions they may not have even experienced yet.
“They have risen to the challenge and are exceeding my expectations,” said Cosimini. “I couldn’t be happier or more proud of them.”
The production will starts on April 13 at 4 p.m. and then April 14 and 15 at 7 p.m. at Westwood High School.
- Maria Rainer (played by Sarah Danforth)
- Captain George von Trapp (played by Skyler Beach)
The von Trapp Children
- Liesl, age 16 (played by Kayla Doherty)
- Friedrich, age 14 (played by Keyon Rostamnezhad)
- Louisa, age 13 (played by Katie Blanchard)
- Kurt, age 10 (played by Dominic Giugliano)
- Brigitta, age 9 (played by Kate Gardner)
- Marta, age 7 (played by Abi Walsh)
- Gretl, the youngest (played by Janine Murray)