TPY Presents “The Sound of Music” as the Program’s First-Ever Virtual Show
By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
Each summer, Theatre Palisades Youth participants work together to offer live musical theater performances, enchanting audiences—and this year is no different, except the programming has shifted to online.
“When we made the heart-breaking decision to bring our program online, due to the rising cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles, I was skeptical that we would be able to recreate that magic,” Program Director Lara Ganz shared. “I was wrong.”
This year, a group of 24 performers presents “The Sound of Music,” which tells the story of the “Von Trapp family’s journey to rediscovering happiness after the loss of their mother, the idea of discovering one’s mission in life, and how the power of music brings people together, heals us, and fills us with joy.”
“These themes played out in real life as well, a strong and resilient community, came together to create our ‘Sound of Music’ Zoomsical,” Ganz shared.
Two versions of the show, each featuring a different lineup of the cast, were assembled for consumption online in the form of a streamable movie in just three weeks.
She explained that the cast faced many obstacles. Though parts of the show were cut, Ganz had to condense what is normally 100 hours of rehearsal time into 40.
“Zoom fatigue is a very real condition—it’s incredibly hard for the kids to learn a theatrical production, with singing, dance choreography and scene work—in an online format,” Ganz said, adding that this year’s production relied more heavily on parents than ever, as they were responsible for getting their actors into costume and filming each scene multiple times.
Moving TPY to a virtual format benefited the Grunauer family, who had three kids involved in the show: twins Lily and Gabe, and older brother, Ryan. Lily has just gone into remission from leukemia and was only able to participate in this summer’s show because of the online format.
“Lily was such an inspiration to the entire cast and crew, as she showed up every day to rehearsal with a big bright smile and an incredibly positive attitude,” Ganz shared.
Junior Reporter Vanessa Masterson shared with the Post that this was her first experience in a TPY production and that because everything was coordinated remotely, she learned a lot.
“I learned that you’re getting up and doing things over and over or you’re sitting there waiting,” Masterson explained. “It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s worth it in the end.”
Masterson, who played Marta Von Trapp, shared that all of the teachers involved in the program were “so supportive and patient and helpful.”
Ganz shared that the video editing team spent hours piecing together the show, including reviewing multiple shots of the same scenes and songs. The team included David Sartory, Ally White, Rick Bota, Jaime Mazur and Caitlin Tortorici. Nathan Heldman was the music director for the shows.
“This show is so perfect for the moment we are in right now,” Ganz shared. “Anyone who watches this will have that feeling of a big bright light in a very difficult, challenging time in our lives.”
The show premiered on August 7. Tickets are available for streaming through August 22. Visit theatrepalisades.com for more information.
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