Saugus’s Theatre Spring Musical- The Sound of Music

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Photo courtesy of Play Bill

This year’s the Saugus High School Theatre department will be performing the Sound of Music.

Kylie McLean, The Scroll, Staff Writer

The Saugus Theatre is having a spring musical! The cast and crew have been working hard, especially with distance learning. This school year they have already done a virtual performance of The Outsiders and are now planning to perform The Sound of Music. 

The story of The Sound of Music is about Maria, who applies to be a governess to a large family. She works at the home of seven children and a widowed father, who was a naval captain. The story shows how Maria brings love and music into the family’s life. 

A play based on the story was first performed on November 16, 1959. The playwrights were Howard Linsey and Russel Crouse. The music was composed by Richard Rodgers, with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein. This play was based on the memoir in 1949 of Maria von Trapp and The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. It was originally performed on Broadway and won the Tony Award for Best Musical. 

The Sound of Music film was released on March 2, 1965. This film is an adaptation of the 1959 musical production that was performed on stage. Rotten Tomatoes commented, “A tuneful, heartwarming story, it is based on the real life story of the Von Trapp Family singers, one of the world’s best-known concert groups in the era immediately preceding World War II.”

The film was produced and directed by Robert Wise. It starred Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Richard Haydn, Peggy Wood, Charmian Carr, and Eleanor Parker. Sound of Music noted, “For millions of people, the film is a rare combination of a powerful and moving story, first rate music, and breathtaking scenery of Salzburg!”

Saugus Theatre is doing their spring musical on The Sound of Music. Bella Eng, a senior at Saugus High, playing Mother Abbess, commented, “I love the musical itself. It was one of the first musicals that was shown to me on film by my mom, and I have been familiar with the songs since I was about five years old.”

Edwin Danahy, a senior at Saugus High as well, playing Captain Georg von Trapp, said his opinion about The Sound of Music, “My favorite thing about The Sound of Music is that it appeals to such a wide audience. It is a timeless classic that can be enjoyed by all ages and is filled with love, fun, adventure, suspense, and most of all music.”

Another student at Saugus High, Lexi Hoek, who is a ninth grader and will be playing Sister Sophia added what she thinks of the musical, “The Sound of Music is such a different genre of show I’ve ever done, it’s way more classical and legit. The songs are super different also, but it’s really opened me up to how good these golden age musicals are!” A variety of different plays the actors can perform allow them to explore the different genres. They can be more engaged and put together an amazing show for the audience to enjoy.

Performing and practicing virtually has undoubtedly been something the performers have had to get used to. Eng stated, “It has definitely been an adjustment not only technically but chemistry wise. Acting relies on reacting, and when you’re in a zoom box with no one to physically draw a connection with, it can be really difficult to create an authentic performance.” It is much easier and more convenient to rehearse and perform with each other face to face, than through a screen.

Whether it’s online or virtually, theatre is something that Eng enjoys. She said why she enjoys theatre, “I like theatre because I use it as a form of escapism. Playing a character that feels the same way I do, whether that’s angry, scared, sad, etc., is a way that I can channel my emotions into words that aren’t exactly my own, but allow me to release pent up thoughts and feelings.”

Hoek also said her opinion about adjusting to doing theatre online, “It’s been really hard to adjust to virtual performing. In theatre especially, everything you do is based on what your scene partner(s) do, and so it’s hard to plan reactions. Also, vocals over zoom are crazy. You don’t get that same experience of singing together. In general, it’s just weird not being together, and having to record everything virtually.” Like Eng, Hoek also feels that expressing the character’s emotions can be difficult through a screen. 

Danahay included the pros and cons of performing online, “Of course, we would love to perform on stage in front of an audience but, a virtual performance opens the door for new possibilities. The ability to film and record our production ensures that our audience is able to view our best performance as many times as they like. This also allows us to share our art with more people than ever since, time and place are no longer obstacles. The actors are also learning new and invaluable skills if they decide to go into the industry.” There are some positive things about doing theatre online and is a new experience for the cast, crew, and audience. 

The theatre cast and crew have had to make adjustments learning and performing online, through a computer screen. Eng did say that the show is set to perform sometime in May, but she can’t say whether there will be an in-person performance in the Forum at Saugus. The shows the Saugus Theatre puts together can still be enjoyed virtually.