The Von Trapp family escapes over the Alps with the aid of nuns from the Nonnburg Abbey. Photo: BASE Entertainment
In 2014, Carmen Pretorius belted out “Sixteen Going On Seventeen” as the Von Trapp family’s eldest child “Liesl” in The Sound of Music in Singapore.
In 2017, the 27-year-old returned as the innocent and good-hearted young postulant “Maria”.
Carmen Pretorius (left) with Janelle Visagie who stars as “Mother Abbey”. Photo: BASE Entertainment

Set prior to the outbreak of World War II, the heartwarming musical revolves around Maria who changes the lives of the Von Trapp family by re-introducing them to music.

Attracting a 70,000-strong audience over its 5-week season in Singapore 3 years ago, the production has returned this month with an extended season due to popular demand.

Pretorius said: “I grew up with The Sound of Music and it’s something that’s part of my life. I wanted to be part of this classic musical so it was a no-brainer to audition [for the role of Maria]!”

Joining Pretorius as her leading man is Nicholas Maude who has been performing in the production since 2006. He is playing the broken and strict naval captain “Georg Von Trapp” after performing as the Von Trapp’s family butler “Franz” in previous productions.

What, in his opinion, keeps him going?

“He [the captain] has a very emotional dramatic arc which is a joy to create with each performance; plus of course the film evokes such fond memories for many people that the characters have become rather iconic!” he said.

Another highlight in Maude’s career was visiting Austria to sing inside the real Nonnburg Abbey.

“What actor would turn that opportunity down?” he quipped.

Samantha Lee (5th from left on top row) and Chloe Choo (4th from left on top row) are among the 18 children performing in the Singapore production. Photo: BASE Entertainment

Child actresses Samantha Lee and Chloe Choo have also grown up with the production, having played youngest daughters “Marta” and “Gretl” respectively in the 2014 version. As they’ve gotten older, they play more mature roles as older daughters “Louisa” and “Brigitta”.

Associate Director Frank Thompson believes what allures both cast and audience back to the timeless musical are its themes which are “as relevant today as when the production was conceived in 1967”.

Pretorius added: “The themes of magic through music, hope, family, problem-solving, overcoming difficulties and love are powerful to me and [that’s why] I love what the story is about.”

The Sound of Music is currently playing at MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands from November 7 to December 3.