Kentridge High brings ‘Sound of Music’ to life on stage

The audience could get a bit confused when Aaron and Nick Johnson take the stage during Kentridge High School's production of "The Sound of Music."

Kentridge High School’s Natalie Lawrence plays the role of “Maria Rainer” in a dress rehearsal of 'The Sound of Music.' The school's drama club presents 'The Sound of Music' April 21-24 and April 28 to May 1.

Kentridge High School’s Natalie Lawrence plays the role of “Maria Rainer” in a dress rehearsal of 'The Sound of Music.' The school's drama club presents 'The Sound of Music' April 21-24 and April 28 to May 1.

The audience could get a bit confused when Aaron and Nick Johnson take the stage during Kentridge High School’s production of “The Sound of Music.”

The twin brothers play separate roles during the show’s two-week run. But director Jennifer Grajewski wonders if the audience might think it’s the same actor playing each part until eventually they are each on the stage at the same time. They are fraternal twins who look alike.

“I want to see the faces in the audience at that point,” Grajewski said.

Aaron Johnson plays Captain Georg von Trapp, the head of the singing family. Christopher Plummner played that role in the 1965 movie version of the original Broadway production.

Nick Johnson plays Rolf Gruber, a messenger, who falls in love with Leisl von Trapp, the oldest of the children.

Ninety-five students are involved in “The Sound of Music” during the play’s April 21 to May 1 run. That includes 47 cast members, 35 in the orchestra and 13 in the stage crew.

The show times are 7 p.m. April 21-24 and April 28-May 1, 2 p.m. April 24 and May 1, and at 7 p.m. April 27 for a sing along with the orchestra and cast.

Natalie Lawrence, a junior, plays the lead role of Maria Rainer, the governess for the seven von Trapp children. Julie Andrews starred in the movie version that won an Academy award for the Best Picture.

“I know there will be high expectations because Julie Andrews was amazing,” Lawrence said during an April 8 backstage interview. “But it’s fun to play someone well-known by many and make it into your own.”

With the music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, the production includes such standards as “The Sound of Music”, “My Favorite Things”, “Edelweiss”, “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” and “Do-Re-Mi.”

Lawrence, in her seventh play at Kentridge, expects the audience to find the live version of the popular movie quite entertaining.

“The movie was so great, but it’s important to see the stage version because there are things you gain from that experience that you do not get on TV such as the intimate setting for the show,” Lawrence said.

The Johnson brothers are pumped to take the stage. The juniors transferred last fall to Kentridge from Rainier Christian High School in Auburn. They made their stage debut in November in “Little Women.”

A seventh-grade teacher at Rainier Christian encouraged the twins to turn out for the drama club because they were so expressive in the classroom.

“We were like the class clowns,” Nick Johnson said. “But we’ve always loved music and to sing and we always wanted to act.”

There’s no clowning around in “The Sound of Music” when Nick Johnson plays Rolf Gruber and must sing to the girl he loves.

“That’s kind of weird for me,” he said. “I’m not a guy who sings to a girl. But I’m growing into the role and love it.”

The twins and Lawrence want to make acting a career. The brothers plan to go to a community college first and then to a four-year university. Lawrence, who gave up soccer as a sophomore to focus on acting, plans to audition next year for musical theater schools. She’s looking at the University of Michigan, Syracuse, Ithaca (N.Y.) and Penn State.

All three said theatergoers can expect an outstanding show.

“It’s cool to see high schoolers,” Aaron Johnson said. “There’s a lot of talent in high school to see on stage.”

And if you can’t tell the Johnson twins apart, Grawjewski had Nick grow his hair for the part.

In fact, until Nick skipped that first haircut, the brothers always had gotten their hair cut at the same time, usually every two weeks.

“I haven’t had it cut for six weeks,” Nick Johnson said.

If you go

What: Kentridge High presents “The Sound of Music”

When: April 21-May 1

Where: Kentridge Performing Arts Center, 12430 S.E. 208th St.

Cost: $10, $8


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