Auditions for ‘The Sound of Music’ open Aug. 15

Although it likely won't be staring Julie Andrews, the IAHS Itawamba Indian Players' upcoming production of "The Sound of Music" will try to do justice to the classic movie and stage musical.

Although it likely won’t be staring Julie Andrews in its lead role, the IAHS Itawamba Indian Players’ upcoming production of “The Sound of Music” will try to do justice to the classic movie and stage musical.

The hills are alive with the sound of music. Or, at least they will be next year.

The Itawamba Agricultural High School’s Indian Players will be holding auditions for their 2016 production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic “The Sound of Music” on Aug. 15.

Auditions begin at 8 a.m. onstage at Fulton Grammar School. They will be open to Fulton students of all ages.

Actors auditioning for lead roles will be asked to perform from memory one of the character’s main songs. For Maria, that’s “My Favorite Things”; for Captain Von Trapp, it’s “Edelweiss;” Liesl and Rolf will sing “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” and for the rest of the Von Trapp children, it’s “Do Re Mi.” Finally, actors vying for a spot as either Mother Abbess or one of the nuns should practice “Climb Every Mountain.”

Although sheet music is available to candidates eyeballing a specific role (just email itawambaindianplayers@gmail.com and let them know the part), truthfully, these songs are so ingrained in population culture, most people looking to star in the production probably know them by heart.

Easily one of the most familiar musicals of all time (in soundtrack form, at the very least), “The Sound of Music” is a musical recounting of the true story of the von Trapp family, who escaped Nazi-occupied Austria during the height of World War II. The family — Austrian navy captain Georg and his 10 children (reduced to seven in the famous musical adaption) and ex-nun Maria — were singers of world-wide renown. Robert Wise’s 1965 film adaption of the musical, which helped make a star of 30-year-old Julie Andrews, was a box office smash, won five Academy Awards, including best picture and best director, and has gone on to be considered a beloved film classic.

In other words, there’s a lot of pressure on the Indian Players to get this production right. It’s going to be a challenge, said the play’s musical director, Danielle Adams.

“The Sound of Music presents new challenges for the Indian Players because it was written in 1959 and set in 1938 Austria, just before World War II. Shedding 21st century mannerisms and capturing the spirits and attitudes of the Von Trapp family will definitely be a learning experience for all the actors involved,” she explained. “Music-wise, it is one of the most vocally demanding shows that we have chosen in recent years. The music is so different from pop music today, but that’s also what makes it so beautiful — the rich harmonies, the soaring high notes. I can’t wait to begin working with the talented, dedicated students who will bring this show to life.”

Adams said the production calls for a principle cast of 15 strong singing actors, although the play also features several non-singing roles and ensemble opportunities for students of all ages and experience levels.

“Nuns, soldiers, music festival guests — we would love to fill the stage with as many bright, talented, excited kids as we can,” Adams said.

Rehearsals likely won’t begin until after Christmas, and the play itself won’t open until March.

adam.armour@journalinc.com

About Adam Armour

Adam Armour has been writing and taking photographs for "The Itawamba County Times" since 2005. His words and pictures have earned 18 Mississippi Press Association Awards, including several "Best of" category recognitions. He has written and independently published one novel and is currently working on a second.

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