by: Vincenza Belletti
Nov. 14 is the opening night of the first school play of the year, The Sound of Music. The Sound of Music is a musical written in 1959 about a woman named Mara who leaves an Austrian convent to become a governess to the children of a Naval captain widower in 1983. The children treat Maria with hostility but soon warm up to her because of her kindness and generosity. She and the captain begin to fall in love despite him being engaged to a Baroness. Their personal lives must then be put on hold for World War I and the possibility of the captain being drafted into the German military.
The director is Stuart Chorus teacher Emi Eiting, who directed the previous three plays The Music Man (2011), Little Women (2013) and Songs for a New World (2014). The lead, senior Hilary Leersnyder, was also the lead of last year’s play, Little Women. Leersnyder has been acting in school plays since the seventh grade, but began performing at a young age in ballet and continues to do so. She says what she likes most about the play is, “getting to work with all these wonderful people, putting together costumes, building the set, and working with young children, because we have ages 7-18 in the play.”
“The largest challenge has been from a scheduling perspective. The elementary and middle school children get out of school much later than we do, and given how much of the play they are involved in we’ve had to hold rehearsals later in the evening to accommodate. We’ve also had to introduce new elements, such as microphones, earlier than usual because many of the kids have never used them. Each elementary school child has her own personal dresser backstage as well to help with costume changes–it’s a lot of extra steps to make sure that they are cared for,” said Eiting.
Eiting also stresses the accomplishments of the actors and crew, “To put together a musical of this size in only 6 weeks is nothing short of extraordinary. We couldn’t have done it without a committed cast, crew and pit as well as a vast support network of parent and teacher volunteers too. Anyone who wants to see the best of the best at Stuart should be certain to come see The Sound of Music.”