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Younger players as R&H principals? 
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Tony Winner
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Post Younger players as R&H principals?
I've wondered what would the R&H musicals be like if professional productions of their shows cast younger players in the lead parts. I know that everyone who plays the part of an R&H principal needs to have the vocal chops to sing their music, but I've thought that younger performers who sing their shows would really make them more relevant.
I don't know many specific examples, but I rather like the recent Carousel revival with a younger Billy and Julie. I feel as if they capture more pathos in their tragic love. No offence against John Raitt, Alfred Drake and Gordon MacRae, but even if Hayden may not be the best singer on the planet, I am struck by how he portrays Billy as a tortured soul. I'm also very fond of how Lauren Kennedy portrayed the role of Nellie in the Trevor Nunn version of South Pacific - a young, fresh-eyed nurse who in in a whirl over her feelings for Emile, as she is trying to get over her prejudices.
I would also like to say something about Maria. Many people may know her as a woman bursting with energy and music, but I think that it would be a better idea for Maria to have some vulnerabilities in her, as if she is frail and uncertain about how to face her new states of existence. It would be marvellous to portray her as someone with a deep sense of longing for her spirit.
I do not say these things to harm anybody, but I had a thought that younger principals would help give the R&H musicals some kind of a reality, that these situations confront us.


Fri May 09, 2008 10:35 pm
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Post Cool ideas!
Dear Yip1982,

I think that you have presented some cool ideas about how the R&H characters could be portrayed.

I think that those actresses who portray Maria oftentimes think that she's supposed to either be super energized, or that she's supposed to hide her insecurities fairly successfully. I think that a more vulnerable, soul-searching Maria could lend a different tone to the story of "The Sound of Music".

I wonder if an insecure Maria's insecurities could be played as being comical ("I Have Confidence), crazy (She's probably wondering exactly WHAT her role should be, now that she's in charge of 7 children who's father has "checked out" emotionally), and moody (She doesn't necessarily know herself yet, so she may be surprisingly angry with the Captain, and later, she might want to fight for his love more than she realized before. Is she really THAT unaware that she's actively competing with the Baroness, or isn't she as innocent as we think that she is?) at the same time.

Thanks in advance for your reply.
8)

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Sat May 10, 2008 12:30 pm
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You realize Raitt and Drake were in their 20s when hey played the roles too right?

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Sun May 11, 2008 11:25 am
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Tony Winner
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I'm terribly sorry I didn't, but thank you so much for correcting me.


Sun May 11, 2008 4:59 pm
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Tony Winner
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I always saw Billy as being a little bit older. Not Emile's age or anything, just old enough to be a "tortured soul" and old enough to have been around and seen a lot of things. I think of him in mid-30s.


As for Julie, I think a young Julie is a great idea. 16 or 17 is good age; it captures the character's naivete.

This is slightly off-topic, but a pro theatre near me did Thoroughly Modern Millie and Millie was only 17. A teenage Julie would work well.

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Thu Sep 04, 2008 3:30 am
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IndigoMedusa wrote:
I think of him in mid-30s.

As for Julie, I think a young Julie is a great idea. 16 or 17 is good age; it captures the character's naivete.
WHile I agree that a 17 year old (maybe 18 or 19 would be even better) Julie would be perfect... I don't think she'd EVER be attracted a Billy in his 30's. The oldest Billy I could picture should be late 20's (opposite a teenage/young adult Julie).


Thu Sep 04, 2008 4:33 pm
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