Fall Play The Sound of Music Includes Many Younger Cast Members


The “Rogers cast” is one half of the total cast, and will perform half of the productions while the “Hammerstein cast” (not pictured) will perform the other shows.

Carly Collins, Writer

The Decatur High School (DHS) fall 2022 production of The Sound of Music began rehearsals in early September, with a cast that includes multiple members of middle school age or younger. Younger students have been included in past DHS theater productions, but this year, they are a much more central part of the show, playing many of the main characters. 

In past years, the spring musical has been the extracurricular musical, meaning anyone in the school can audition, and the fall musical has been the curricular show, where all advanced musical theater students are in the show and rehearsals are done in class. However, this year, the order was switched due to conflicts for members involved in the technical theater program, which allowed non-DHS students to be involved in this play. 

Senior cast member Audrey Levy voiced her opinion on the benefits of including students younger than high school age in the production. “It’s more believable with kids. For Matilda last fall, we were playing five-year-olds and it was no big deal, but I do enjoy having the kids here. They’re all very driven and they all really want to be there,” Levy said. 

Levy explained that many of the younger cast members, although only ranging from ten to fourteen years of age, are very experienced on stage. “They have some pretty big parts [in The Sound of Music], but some of these kids are more experienced than us. There are some who have been in community theaters [and] they’ve played lead roles […] they’re seriously into it,” she said. 

When the idea of including younger actors became a reality, there was some backlash, according to Levy. She recalled that there were around 70 students who weren’t in high school at auditions and over 20 at callbacks. “Some high schoolers were disappointed with that because it increased competition for the high schoolers,” she voiced, explaining that this was one of the only negative aspects of including younger students in the play.

However, Levy said that overall, the department is very excited to have the younger students as a part of the cast. She explained an additional benefit that she is particularly excited about: “In the movie when all the kids are lined up, it makes a perfect line. And we have that now.”

The department has been intending to produce The Sound of Music since last year, but according to Levy, they couldn’t get the rights, causing them to choose Mamma Mia! for the spring production instead. She explained that it was a long and complex process to get the rights, but the department was passionate about producing, as Levy put it, this “classic” play.

The Sound of Music will open on Dec. 1, 2022 in the DHS Performing Arts Center.