The award winning musical “The Sound of Music” celebrates 50 melodic years on film and the Queen City gets to join in the fun and continue its legacy, when the stage production makes a stop at Blumenthal Theater in Charlotte on November 24th.
Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with a member of the cast, Teri Hansen, who plays the often loathed Baroness Elsa von Schrader. The Baroness unsuccessfully attempts to bond with head of the family, Captain Georg von Trapp, but quickly realizes he doesn’t necessarily fancy her as she does him, and is also preoccupied with his seven children and the unrest in his country of Austria.
Teri quickly shares that she has been a lifelong fan of the musical and was delighted to land the role. “Over the years, it has become comfort food for the soul.” The film version of “The Sound of Music” was produced in 1965, adapted from the original stage production in 1959, that was based on a book (the book was based on a memoir written by Governess Maria von Trapp). The story has traveled far, just like it’s characters, through the mountains of Austria across foreign lands; Except the von Trapp’s were escaping persecution.
When asked about her role as Elsa von Schrader, she laughs at the description of being unlikeable. “She’s actually not a bad person. We’ve all been in relationships when we were just not meant for one another. She eventually realizes she is not meant for the captain and he isn’t meant for her. And she very gracefully exits the scene.” Judging from that point of view, you can only appreciate someone who aggressively goes after what they think they want, but concedes once it’s realized the battle is not worth fighting.
Outside of being somewhat of a villain, Teri gets to indulge in the glamorous life for a bit, due to the baroness being a wealthy woman with jewelry and gowns galore. “For anyone who is fashionably inclined, these are direct replicas of what they wore. It’s 1930s fashion at its height.” And we agreed, that what better way to go to work, than to be able to put on your play clothes and wigs and be a part of this historic musical. Considering Teri’s dream was to become a chef, I’d say that’s pretty remarkable. After dedicating herself to food and even being accepted into a culinary program, she suddenly switched gears and ended up training at the Houston Opera Studio to become an opera singer. Even still, she had no interest in musicals and almost ruined an opportunity to work with Hal Prince, an award winning Broadway producer. He recognized her talent from a role in a small film, and so began her career.
She toured for over three years on her first endeavor and has not looked back since. “This production rivals all the musicals I’ve ever been apart of. It leads the pack into the future.”
For more information visit www.blumenthalarts.org.