The year 2015 is the 50th Anniversary of the beloved movie musical,” The Sound of Music,” which won five Oscars and gained fame for its stars, Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. Fox Studios has planned festivities worldwide and has released new videos, soundtracks, and books in honor of the occasion. Many people forget that “The Sound of Music” was originally a highly successful Rodgers and Hammerstein, award-winning Broadway musical, first performed in 1959, starring Mary Martin.
Local theater company, Young Actors Stage, is also honoring the famed musical by performing the “The Sound of Music,” May 15-23 at the 24 th Street Theater in Curtis Park. This is one of their “Mainstage” productions, which means that the cast is made up of older, more experienced students from the entire Sacramento area. Liorah Singerman and her staff at Young Actors Stage were thrilled by the huge turnout at the competitive auditions in late January. So many experienced children tried out from all areas of the city that there will be two casts performing the musical.
Cast in the coveted role of Maria Von Trapp, the young Austrian postulant who is sent by the nuns to be a governess for a Navy Captain and his mischievous seven children, are Milan Williams and Ana Riley-Portal. Between them, these young performers have over twelve years of experience in musical theater in the Sacramento area.
Milan Williams is a seventeen year-old junior at Sacramento Waldorf School and is currently researching colleges with acting and musical theater programs. She has performed in several local theater groups, including Young Actors Stage, Davis Musical Theater Company, and Musical Mayhem Productions out of Elk Grove. She has a background in ballet training and loves to act. Her favorite roles include Millie in “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” and the Wicked Witch in the “Wizard of Oz.” She says tha, she loves performing and wants to “maybe even be on Broadway someday. You’ve got to have goals and dreams!”
Ana Riley-Portal is a fourteen year-old eight grader at Saint Francis Elementary School in Sacramento. She will be attending Christian Brothers High School in the fall. Although she is young, she has been performing in musical theater since 2008. She has performed for Sacramento Theater Company, River City Theater Company, and Young Actors Stage. Last summer, she was Marian in the Young Actors Stage’s production of “Music Man Jr.” Other favorite roles have been Jemima in “Cats,” and Polly Brown in Sacramento Theater Company’s Young Professionals Conservatory’s production of “The Boyfriend.” She has a mature soprano voice and has been taking lessons with vocal teacher, Maureen Mette for three years. Last year she took first place in the NATS San Francisco Bay Area Chapter Musical Theater/American Song Division competition.
Clearly, these two young women will honor all the previous “Marias” when they step on stage in May as they perform in “The Sound of Music.”
The production will be held at the 24th Street Theater in Curtis Park on Friday, May 15 and 22 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, May 16 and 23 at 1 p.m., 4 p.m., and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, May 17 at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.