Messenger photo by Mike Munden
In rehearsals for London High School’s performance of “The Sound of Music,” Danielle Dunkley (left) plays the part of Maria, who chats with Max (played by Adam Meredith) and sustains glares from Elsa (played by Courtney Bailey).
Last year, senior Danielle Dunkley was Thing 1 in London High School’s “Seussical the Musical.” This year, she is Maria Rainer in “The Sound of Music.”
While Dunkley made the leap from comical character to serious lead role, her counterpart, Jared Newbold, landed the part of Captain von Trapp without leaping at all.
“Jared was a total surprise to me,” said Director Stephanie Stephens, who said the junior is not a member of her choir classes and has not participated in previous musicals. “He’s a natural actor and has a beautiful singing and speaking voice.”
Dunkley and Newbold are two of the 40 members of the “Sound of Music” cast, which will perform shows at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7-8 and at 3 p.m. Dec. 9 at the high school. Tickets can be purchased at the door. They are $8 for adults and $7 for students and senior citizens.
“Every year, I look at the kids I have and what we did last year. I knew we needed something with a lot of women’s roles,” Stephens said of her selection of “Sound of Music.”
Senior Courtney Bailey plays Elsa Schraeder to whom von Trapp is engaged. Senior Tracy Sweigart plays the Mother Abbess, who guides Maria on her journey from studying to become a nun to following her heart to von Trapp.
The actors who play von Trapp’s seven children include high school, middle school and elementary school students: sophomore Alex Janusz, eighth-grader Matt Colvin, freshman Stefanie Dunkley, freshman Michael Dorsey, seventh-grader Samantha Dencher, sixth-grader Bailee Mayne, and fifth-grader Madison Ripley.
“The young ones are real troopers. They take direction well, and they are focused,” Stephens said.
Senior Adam Meredith, a veteran of the high school stage, plays Max Detweiller, von Trapp’s sidekick and the person responsible for setting up the children’s performance in the Kaltzberg Festival—from which they escape the Nazis and flee to Switzerland.
People who attend the performances will notice a few differences from the movie version of the story. For instance, Meredith’s and Bailey’s characters sing two songs, “No Way to Stop It” and “How Can Love Survive,” which are background music in the movie. Dunkley and Newbold also sing another stage-only song, “An Ordinary Couple.”
Of course, all of the favorites will be part of the repertoire: “Maria,” “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “16 Going on 17,” “The Lovely Goatherd,” “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” “Edelweiss,” and the title track, “The Sound of Music.”
London’s orchestra pit for the show features a high school student, sophomore Zachary Sisco on guitar, and several musically inclined adults: Joe Blaho on bass, Ruth Gorman on flute, Jeff Hamm on piano, Craig Lewis on trumpet, and Ernie Sparks on drums.
For more information about the show, call the high school at 740-852-5705.