Entertainment Hive 2020

Sound of Music is twice as nice for Stefanie Jones

By Honey B

Let’s start at the very beginning of Stefanie Jones’ Sound of Music journey – because it’s a very good place to start. It was 16 years ago when Jones first stepped onto the stage to perform in the much-loved musical theatre classic as one of the 7 von Trapp children, Brigitta. Now the 24 year old is starring as the eldest von Trapp child Liesl, who is 16 going on 17, in this lavish London Palladium version of the show. “When auditions for Sound of Music were announced, I knew immediately that I wanted to get the role,’’ Jones enthuses. “Sound of Music was a big part of my childhood and of my family’s journey into musical theatre as well. “It is such an amazing thing to have happened – to play Brigitta back in 2000 and now to play Liesl in 2016.’’ Jones says the role is also very important for the current children starring in the production. “The current children in the show know that I did just what they are doing now and I was one of the younger von Trapp children. “They have read a lot of my interviews and my biography in the program and they look at me and think, ‘I could do this when I am older like you’. “It’s really exciting and special for them to make that connection and to know that they could do this for real as a profession.’’ The effervescent artist says she cried when she met the Sydney children back in December last year. “I just kept getting flashbacks of when I was 16 and remembering everything from that time. “I remember the people and how special it was and I have so many wonderful memories and I knew that this was all about to happen for all of these kids as well. “We get new Von Trapp children in every city, which is wonderful because it keeps the show so fresh and exciting and they make us laugh in all of their different and special ways. “I am looking forward to meeting the Adelaide children this week (first week of August) and sharing a bit of their journey.’’ Jones says there is so much to love about Liesl as she blossoms on-stage. “I love the journey that I go through every night as Liesl, because she has had a bit of a rough time since her mother has passed away. She became the motherly figure to all of these children. “They have had governess after governess and no-one has quite stuck, so the children look up to her and she’s taken on a lot of responsibility in her young 16 years.’’ Jones says while Liesl is sceptical of Maria (played by Amy Lehpamer) there’s a beautiful relationship that grows on-stage every night. “I love how Liesl learns to love Maria and to be thankful for her being there and becoming her new mother. “Liesl is learning to love and to grow up and she’s in that awkward stage of thinking about a future with a boy and I love all of those moments that Maria and Liesl share when they are talking about love and what to expect and what not to expect. “It’s a very sweet role and I enjoy it very much.’’ Inspired by the lives of the actual von Trapp family, The Sound of Music tells the uplifting story of Maria, a fun-loving governess who changes the lives of the widowed Captain von Trapp and his seven children by re-introducing them to music, culminating in the family's escape from the Nazis across the mountains from Austria. The adult Sound of Music cast are quite a formidable bunch with the likes of Cameron Daddo as Captain von Trapp, Marina Prior as the Baroness, Lorraine Bayly as Frau Schmidt and Amy Lehpamer as Maria. “Oh you will absolutely love Cam. He is wonderful on-stage and he just embraces the role of Captain von Trapp and he has this connection with the kids. “He Just loves them so much and they love him. “And Marina Prior and Lorraine Bayly are just wonderful, but at the helm of it all is Amy Lehpamer as Maria and she is just our fearless leader and she is incredible and flawless.’’ This isn’t the first time that Lehpamer and Jones have worked together, they recently starred in the musical Once in Melbourne, and the pair share a special bond. “I have been playing violin since I was four and Amy is also a violinist. “We both played our violins live on-stage in Once last year and we struck up a friendship there. “Now, on a two show day in the break we will bring our violins out and play.’’ With Jones having played two roles in the Sound of Music, there’s already plenty of buzz for her to play the role of Maria next time around. “People are saying to me that I will have to play Maria next time, but I think by the time it comes back I might be a bit too old. “Maybe I can be the housekeeper and I would like to fill Lorraine Bayly’s shoes – that would be fun!’’ This acclaimed production of the legendary Rodgers and Hammerstein musical premiered in 2006 at the home of West End musical theatre, the London Palladium, where it celebrated a record-breaking 954 performances seen by more than two million people, before going on to enjoy sell-out seasons internationally. Sound of Music, Adelaide Festival Theatre, August 9 to September 4. Bookings: BASS 131 246
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