Sheridan Stewart, Wesley Stewart, and Scott Solomon are about to set the foothills alive with the “Sound of Music.”
Sheridan Stewart and Wesley Stewart are siblings who auditioned and got parts as members of the famous von Trapp family. Scott Solomon will make his Foothill Music Theatre debut as the sometimes hard-nosed head of the family, Capt. Georg von Trapp.
All three of the actors live in Half Moon Bay, but it was on the Foothill stage that the Stewart siblings and Solomon first met.
The trio is no stranger to local theater. Both the Stewarts and Solomon have played parts at Coastal Repertory Theatre. For them, it was the much-adored story that drew them over the hill to Foothill College.
“I love the ‘Sound of Music,’” said Solomon. “The first time I did (the) production, I was 13 and living in Rochester, Minn.
It was a big deal and it was a lot of fun.”
Solomon majored in theater in college and has been acting since he was 13. He was most recently seen in Broadway by the Bay’s “The Music Man” and has also performed at Hillbarn Theatre, Los Altos Stage Co., Palo Alto Players, Pear Theatre, and, of course, Coastal Repertory Theatre.
Solomon acknowledges that the “Sound of Music” is heavy with child stars expertly navigating the roles of the seven von Trapp children. A few of the actors are performing alongside their brothers and sisters.
“It’s interesting that there are more siblings in the show,” he stated. “We have two casts of children, most of them are double casts.
“It’s been really fun to watch the kids just interact,” he continued. “All the kids have been getting along really well.”
Art is imitating life for Sheridan and Wesley Stewart, who play Marta and Kurt von Trapp.
In addition to navigating the somewhat tricky summer relationship that all brothers and sisters experience, the pair will also be performing together as siblings on stage.
They are enjoying the experience of putting together a musical production. In addition to learning more about dance, they are picking up tips on acting and stagecraft. They are even enjoying the humor that seems to fall into the most random places, like when they were rehearsing the song about the “Lonely Goatherd.”
“Our cast has a joke about when we were going to rehearse the ‘Lonely Goatherd,’” said Sheridan Stewart. “I thought they were saying our ‘Lonely Go-Gurt.’”
“So, once I brought Go-Gurt to the rehearsal,” added Wesley Stewart with a laugh.
Amid the fun, many feel the social messaging behind the musical is especially relevant with respect to today’s political landscape.
“The ‘Sound of Music’ takes place in the 1930s, when the Nazis were going to invade Austria,” said Sheridan Stewart. “Capt. von Trapp, they wanted him to come work at the naval base as the captain, but he didn’t want to, so we ran away to Switzerland.”
“In Austria, everyone didn’t want to go to concentration camps, so they did what the Nazis told them to do because they didn’t want to die,” added Wesley Stewart. “But the Captain made other choices and decided he’d rather run away.”
The pair agreed that some of the scenes can be a bit scary, but that the theater staff has done a great job making sure the children understand what is happening with the storyline and why.
“The scene where the Nazis can’t find Capt. von Trapp in the theater, it can be very frightening,” said Sheridan Stewart. “There’s these Nazis running down the aisles, yelling to block the exits.
“Our fabulous director, Melissa, she explained some of why we were scared and why we are hiding,” she continued. “The Nazis want to recruit.”
“The stage show is different from the movie. There are songs that people who only know the movie are going to be unfamiliar with. It’s a lovely, lovely show from that standpoint,” said Solomon. “On the other hand, politically, it is sadly more apt now than it was 40 years ago, when I first did it.
“For me there are a lot of ramifications that are pretty disturbing,” he continued. “In the show, the von Trapps cross the Alps and end up in Switzerland. I’m not sure where I go here in 2018.”
“The Sound of Music” will run from July 19 through Aug. 5. at the Smithwick Theatre in Los Altos Hills. For show times or to purchase tickets, visit foothill.edu/theatre or call (650) 949-7360.