Maria Rainer declared “the hills are alive with the sound of music,” and so begins the iconic Broadway musical you’ll never get out of your head.
Originally performed in 1959 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, “The Sound of Music” has since become a classic, garnering multiple reproductions, including a film adaptation and an unfortunate live TV performance.
Today, Kerstin Anderson, who steps into Maria’s shoes for the 2016 national tour, says that director Jack O’Brien focuses especially on history of the production for this reinterpretation. “He just looked at the text and brought out the rich history, which included a sense of urgency. [At the same time, he’s] keeping that romantic atmosphere while being really honest about the time period.”
Anderson was a sophomore at Pace University when she auditioned for the role of Maria, and she describes it as an exciting and incredible process. “It was like my fifth real audition, ever,” Anderson shares. “I went in with zero expectations, [but then] I got another call back and then all of a sudden I was working with [director] Jack O’Brien in the room. Life changed very quickly, but it was also like a dream.”
There’s a lot of pressure for Anderson, being so young and filling a role played by well-known actresses such as Mary Martin and Julie Andrews. But Anderson looks at it as an opportunity for learning. “I’m learning how to be an actor in this world and how to be a human being in the universe…how to find joy and nuance within [telling] the same story every day.”
Lucky for Anderson, she grew up in South Burlington, Vermont — about 45 minutes away from where the Von Trapp family settled. “One of the amazing things about Maria is her ability to sort of feel music everywhere,” Anderson notes. “Growing up in a mountainous place, I sort of understand how she feels and sees. I experience my own version of that song.”
Anderson’s enthusiasm for her role is evident and is sure to translate into her performance. Broadway actors Ben Davis and Merwin Foard also join her on tour as Georg von Trapp and Max Detweiler, respectively.
If you go:
March 29 – April 10
Boston Opera House
539 Washington St., Boston
Tickets are available at the box office or online at Broadway.com.