Going to school in Hong Kong and taking the stage in Macau: how the young cast of The Sound of Music balance their double lives

By Tiffany Choi

The musical, which begins its run at the The Venetian Macau, stars 13 students from Hong Kong

By Tiffany Choi |

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The cast spent two months rehearsing.

A free-spirited young nun, a stern, handsome captain, and seven adorable children – all of whom are coincidentally great at singing. Is The Sound of Music popping into your head yet?

Thirteen students from Hong Kong and seven students from Macau are joining the West End cast from the London Palladium on stage at The Venetian Macao for a production of the beloved musical, which will continue its run through Christmas until January 7.

Set in the 1930s in Austria, The Sound Of Music is based on the true story of tells the true story of Maria and the von Trapp family. Maria isn’t your typical nun; she is late for sermons, runs through the convent instead of walking respectfully, and can’t help but escape to the mountains from time to time.

Not really cut out for monastic life, Maria is sent to work as a governess for the seven children of the widowed Captain von Trapp.

The captain is not very friendly and is very strict with his children. But all this changes when Maria brings her passion and enthusiasm into the household. 

A fantastic cast, iconic musical numbers and a timeless story are a few of our favourite things.
Photo: The Venetian Macao

Young Post caught up with some of the production’s cast members earlier this week to find out more about their experience taking part in the show.

Nicholas Maude, a permanent cast member, plays Captain von Trapp, It’s a role he has played numerous times since the musical made its London debut back in 2006.

“The children stopped singing after the Captain’s wife died. But after Maria joins the house, she encourages the children to sing again,” Maude said.

“To me, it is very emotional when the kids hug the Captain when he sings for the first time at the house,” he added.

Both Maude and his co-star Carmen Pretorius, who plays Maria, are professional stage actors – but they relished the opportunity to work with the budding student actors.

“The pupils are very talented. So we’re really excited to see their characters grow and get to know them a bit better,” said Pretorius.

The young cast went through several rounds of auditions between September and October. Twenty students from Hong Kong and Macau were selected for different roles in the production.

Both Nicholas Yu (fourth from left) from West Island School and Casey Lee from Diocesan Girls’ Junior School (first from right) watched the 1965 film as part of their research into their characters.
Photo: The Venetian Macao

Twelve-year-old Nicholas Yu from West Island School was chosen to play Kurt, the fourth-eldest child in the von Trapp family. Although he find similarities between himself and the charismatic Kurt, he still made time to research the role.

“I have watched the movies and different versions of the musical to observe the character,” he said, adding that he wanted to portray the character as best as he could.

Casey Lee from Diocesan Girls’ Junior School plays Gretyl, the youngest – and cutest –member of the von Trapp family.

“I am like Gretl – I love being loved and I love running around,” seven-year-old Lee said.

“I read the books and saw the movie to get into the character,” she added.

With the exception of Zoe Beavon, who plays the eldest von Trapp child, Liesl, all the actors cast as the von Trapp children are students. During the intense two-month lead-up to opening night, striking a balance between rehearsals and school work was a challenge.

“I pay extra attention in class and I also have to do revision and school works in cars,” Lee said.

Fourteen-year-old Freddie Fawcett from Chinese International School, who plays Friedric, found his own way to juggle his busy schedule.

“The play is extremely important to me and I know I need to be professional, but school matters just as much,” Freddie said, “So I split my time in half.

“I took a break after I had finished all my school work. I then went through all my songs, lines and dance moves. After another break, I had at least one hour to make sure that I am on top of everything that I need to know,” he said.

But with the opening night a success, all the students’ hard work has certainly paid off.

Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge