By MIKE CHAIKEN
There’s a little theatrical serendipity happening this weekend at St. Paul Catholic High School.
The classic movie, “The Sound of Music” with Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, is celebrating its golden anniversary this year.
And the members of St. Paul Performing Arts will be putting their skills to the test by staging the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical this Friday through Sunday.
“I like how it’s such a classic,” said Caleigh Lozito, a senior who plays “Elsa” (the fiancée of “Captain von Trapp” in the St. Paul production. “It’s the 50th anniversary. It’s really exciting and perfect timing for us to perform ‘The Sound of Music.’”
“I think one of the things that is really going to draw audiences to our production is the fact that it is the 50th anniversary,” said Chiara Giampietro, the 11th grader, who plays the lead character, “Maria.” (The role that made Julie Andrews a star.) “It’s such well known show. Everybody grew up with it. It’s an American classic.”
“I like how everybody knows most of the songs,” said Joseph Schigas, the sophomore performing the role of Captain von Trapp (which was performed by Christopher Plummer in the movie. “It’s a musical you can sit down to and sing along to.”
“I love how the songs everyone knows them,” said Caleigh of the score to the musical. “There are such classics such as ‘Do-Re-Mi,’ ‘The Sound of Music,’ and so on. Everyone knows those.”
Chiara said she also likes the show because “It’s a historical piece. It’s true to life. And it shows you can imagine something for your life and it can be the opposite of your bigger plans.”
“This show is such a big show, such a well known show,” said Caleigh. “People have such high expectations. But I think St. Paul can meet and exceed those expectations.”
“We’ve made a name for ourselves at St. Paul and that already draws people … now more people are going to be drawn to the show because it’s the first show we’ve every done that a lot of people know about,” said Chiara.
The young performers said the show describes a story that can be difficult for them to imagine for their own lives.
Caleigh said, “It’s really hard to relate to this story… because it’s during the time of Hitler. It’s hard to relate to what the von Trapp family is going through. They had to move to an entirely different place, walking over the hills.”
But Chiara said there are some portions of the story that she can indeed relate to. For instance, Leisl, the 16 year old daughter of Captain Von Trapp is going through some of the same things as the students at St. Paul. Chiara explained that Leisl’s father doesn’t want her to grow up. And she has a boyfriend who says she can’t grow up without his guidance.
The young performers also said the production at St. Paul is also helping them grow as actors.
“The show stretches my performance abilities personally because Maria (the young novice who is hired as a nanny for the von Trapps) is a lot like who I am as a person. It’s hard to play myself because it’s sometimes not acting. It’s hard not making it so real and not try to make it so like me.”
As for the St. Paul production, Caleigh said, “St. Paul is trying different things with the show. You’re in for some surprises you wouldn’t expect from the show. So it will be interesting to see if the audience likes these new twists.”
“It’s true to the original… but we also add our own touch,” said Chiara. “There are something you don’t expect because everyone knows the movie. But we’re doing the musical, so there are some differences there. And we really accentuate those differences.”
Joseph said, “The way we put on shows here is different… We make it as if you’re going to an actual professional production.”
St. Paul Performing Arts will present Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music” at St. Paul Catholic High School’s Theater, 1001 Stafford Ave., Bristol on Friday, April 24, Saturday, April 25, Sunday, April 26, and Sunday, May 3. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, April 24 and 25 and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 26 and May 3.
Ticket prices are $20 and $15, all seats reserved. Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.spchs.com or by calling (860)584-0911.