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The ‘Burg is alive with ‘The Sound of Music’

The hills are alive with the sound of music—and for the next 2 1/2 months, so is the Fredericksburg region.

The beloved Tony Award-winning musical “The Sound of Music” opens at Riverside Center Dinner Theater on Saturday, Oct. 20, and runs through Jan. 6.

About 120 young people auditioned for the coveted roles of the charming von Trapp children. Fourteen youngsters, divided into two casts, were chosen.

—Bridget Balch

Riverside Center’s production of ‘The Sound of Music’ features two casts of children. One group includes (from left) Annalese Fusaro, Caroline Mork, Joshua Otten, Nicholas Kahane, Jillian Brence, Caroline Griswold and Rhianna DeGeorge. The family-friendly production opens Saturday, Oct. 20, and runs through Jan. 6.

RHIANNA DeGEORGE, 8

Character: Gretl

School: Battlefield Elementary third-grader

Favorite song from musical: “Edelweiss”

Why did you audition? “I really, really like acting, and I thought Riverside was the best place to do it. . . . I actually complain when there’s no rehearsal.”

JILLIAN BRENCE, 10

Character: Marta

School: Rockhill Elementary fifth-grader

Favorite song from musical: “So Long, Farewell”

Why did you audition? “I’m really into acting. This is my first show, but I’ve been wanting to act for years.”  

ANNALESE FUSARO, 10

Character: Brigitta

School: Wilderness Elementary fifth-grader

Favorite song from musical: “So Long, Farewell”

Why did you audition? “I already did the show with CYT [Christian Youth Theater], and I thought it would be fun [to be in it again].”

Annalese has acted in several plays, including “A Little Princess” with the Christian Youth Theater and “White Christmas” at Riverside.

JOSHUA OTTEN, 11

Character: Kurt

School: Home-schooled sixth-grader in Fauquier

Favorite song from musical: “The Sound of Music”

What’s your favorite part of acting? “It’s fun to be the character. It’s an experience not many people have outside of the theater—you get to be someone else.”

Joshua has acted in other Riverside plays, including playing Charlie in “Willy Wonka Jr.”

NICHOLAS KAHANE, 12

Character: Friedrich

School: Gayle Middle School seventh-grader

Favorite song from musical:  “Do–Re–Mi”

Why did you audition? “This is my seventh show [at Riverside]. I thought it would be a good opportunity for me.”

Nicholas said his favorite parts of being in the play are performing and being with his friends. He has also acted in “Annie,” “Snow White,” “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” “Willy Wonka Jr.” and “Hello, Dolly!”

CAROLINE MORK, 12

Character: Louisa

School: Battlefield Middle School seventh-grader

Favorite song from musical: “So Long, Farewell”

Why did you audition? “Last year I did a lot of Riverside. . . . I loved it. It’s like my second family.” Caroline has also been in Riverside’s productions of “Annie” and “Hello, Dolly!”

CAROLINE GRISWOLD, 24

Character: Liesl

School: Graduated from Duke University in 2010; lives in Arlington

Favorite song from musical: “Sixteen Going on Seventeen”

Why did you audition? “I just love ‘The Sound of Music.’ It’s one of my favorites.”

Caroline has done professional dance and theater with regional theaters all over the East Coast, including the Ballet Theatre of Maryland.

The other cast portraying the von Trapp family children features (from front to back) Evelyn Gansler, Alexa Norbeck, Abigayle Anderson, Jacob Nielsen, Rachel Shrader, Max Nicholson and Hannah von Oeyen. The show runs through Jan. 6.

 

EVELYN GANSLER, 5

Character: Gretl

School: Rocky Run Elementary kindergartner

Favorite song from musical: “Do–Re–Mi”

ALEXA NORBECK, 10

Character: Marta

School: Brock Road Elementary fifth-grader

Favorite song from musical: “Do–Re–Mi”

Why did you audition? “I love the movie, and my two favorite characters were Brigitta and Marta, and they’re my age.”

Alexa has been in several plays before, including “Annie,” “101 Dalmatians,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Cinderella.

ABIGAYLE ANDERSON, 11

Character: Brigitta

School: Gayle Middle School sixth-grader

Favorite song from musical: “Do–Re–Mi”

What’s your favorite part about being on stage? “Getting to make people laugh and smile—it’s just really fun.”

Abigayle has been in several Riverside shows, including “White Christmas,” “Hello, Dolly!” and “Annie.”

JACOB NIELSEN, 11

Character: Kurt

School: Freedom Middle School sixth-grader

Favorite song from musical: “So Long, Farewell”

Why did you audition? “I thought it’d be nice [to be in the play]. My mom is playing Maria.”

MAX NICHOLSON, 13

Character: Friedrich

School: Home-schooled seventh-grader in Stafford

Favorite song in musical: “So Long, Farewell”

Why did you audition? “I love theater. I’ll be in any play I can get my hands on!”

Max has acted in several Riverside plays, including “We the People,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Big Bad Musical” and “Phantom.”

RACHEL SHRADER, 16

Character: Louisa

School: Home-schooled senior in Stafford; taking classes at Germanna Community College

Favorite song from musical: “How Can Love Survive?”

Why did you audition? “I was in [‘The Sound of Music’] seven years ago. It’s like a brotherhood—once you do one [show] you have to do more.”

Rachel has been in other Riverside productions, including “Phantom,” “Anything Goes” and “Peter Pan.”

She said she loves “the family atmosphere [and] the idea of being a sister to all the awesome kids I get to work with.”

HANNAH VON OEYEN, 22

Character: Liesl

School: Graduated from the University of Mary Washington in 2011; lives in Fredericksburg

Favorite song from musical: “I Have Confidence”

Why did you audition? Hannah did theater in elementary school and high school, but her college years were her theatrical “dark ages.”

“I really missed doing musicals. . . . I really wanted to be in one again,” she said. “To be someone else is the best—you forget about all your worries and be somebody else on stage.”

WANT TO GO?

“The Sound of Music” runs from Oct. 20 through Jan. 6 at Riverside Center Dinner Theater, 95 Riverside Parkway in Stafford. Shows include Wednesday and Sunday matinées as well as evening productions on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Tickets range from $20 to $60, and some include a meal. For more information, call 540/370-4300 or visit riversidedt.com.

Bridget Balch: 540/374-5444

bbalch@freelancestar.com

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