The Sound of Music looks to fill roles of von Trapp children

340 children were put through a series of dance and singing auditions as they vie for a role as one of the von Trapp children in The Sound of Music musical.

Words by Imagine TV Network

Divided into groups according to what role they are auditioning for, the children, aged six to 14 years, were nervous and excited Director Anton Luitingh had each group of children brought on stage and listened to each of them sing the first stanza from "Over the Rainbow," noting on paper if they were able to stay on pitch. 

The Sound of Music is a critically-acclaimed musical that is well-loved by many and since its opening on Broadway in 1959, the musical has established the popularity of musical numbers such as "My Favorite Things," "Do Re Mi," and "Edelweiss."

The first part of the audition is straightforward and after hearing "Over the Rainbow" hundreds of times in quick succession, Luitingh and a few of the staff from Center Stage School of the Arts proceeded to teach each group of children to sing "The Hills Are Alive."

"It's the trickiest part of the show. That's why we're doing it as [part of] the audition," Luitingh told his group, which comprised of potential Brigitta's and Friedrich's. Five groups were taught to harmonize the melody to the song except for the "Gretl" group, which sang the melody. 

"For some of you, I know the song's a bit low but it's been low for children around the world. Remember to keep your cheeks up. We don't want it to become a German beer song. No droning," Luitingh added.

A few children from each group were asked to lined up around Luitingh and he listened patiently and intently them sing, occasionally asking some children to sing solo.

Almost six hours have now passed since the auditions began but the first day is not over yet. From the original 340 children, they were whittled down to about two hundred, and taught a short choreography from the original "Do Re Mi" musical number.

A seasoned performer and the resident director of many well-known touring musicals like RENTChicagoThe Phantom of the Opera and Jersey Boys, Luitingh spent the second day coaching the shortlisted children and working with them individually on their lines. Each of the children were given a script to learn and had to read their lines and act out their parts.

By the third and final day of the audition, the group of children have been narrowed down to 36. Although there are seven von Trapp children in the family, the audition will only be seeking for six roles.  

The role of Liesl von Trapp, the eldest child of Captain von Trapp, will be undertaken by a professional actress. Owing to the children's relatively young age, a total of 18 children will be cast for the six roles, creating a weekly rotating set of six cast. 

Luitingh and the creative team from London will select the eventual 18 children and the will spend three weeks in June 2014 rehearing for the musical in preparation for the premiere of the musical in mid-July 2014. 

The Sound of Music will premiere at the MasterCard Theater in Marina Bay Sands on 11 July 2014. Tickets are available for purchase via SISTIC's website.



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