Chesterfield: Operatic Society set for The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music, the Von Trapp children
The Sound of Music, the Von Trapp children

A chairman has sounded a warning note as he flags up the lack of men within the ranks of musical theatre groups.

Doug Melloy of Chesterfield Operatic Society said: “In common with many societies up and down the country, we are short of men. It makes it difficult to have a choice of shows.

“If we don’t solve the problem of the shortage of men in the society, the future is looking shaky.

“Every time we are looking to put on a show we have to look at do we have the cast to do it and whether it is one that will sell.”

The society’s current production, The Sound of Music, ticks those boxes.

Doug said: “It’s a very well-known show and the audience know what they are going to get.

“One of the reasons we chose it is that there aren’t many men in it. We won’t have a platoon of German soldiers - there will be two or three lads from St Mary’s School.

Drafted in to play the lead role of Captain Von Trapp is David Walters, making his first appearance with the Chesterfield society. David is a familiar face in musical productions around Derbyshire, having performed in shows for more than 20 years and was last seen at Buxton Opera House playing Horace Vandergelder in Hello Dolly! for Present Company.

David, 66, of Breaston, said: “I like the range of emotions involved in playing Von Trapp. He has got some depth to him and all the scenes have meaning.

“The director, Phil Simcox, has got some really class acting out of the children. A lot of the weight is taken off the principals because the children are directed so well.”

He has previous experience in the role, having played Von Trapp a couple of years ago for Present Company at Buxton Opera House and Derby Playhouse.

Leading lady Georgina Bailey has no hesitation when asked what is her favourite part of playing Maria in The Sound of Music.

“It is being with the kids; I love hearing them sing; it is as if they are little professional actors.

“They come out with the funniest things in rehearsals. Little Lilly Hayes, who plays Gretl, has got the cutest smile and when she says something she sticks her tongue through her teeth.”

Georgina, 23, is still pinching herself that she was lucky enough to be selected for the role of the singing nun. “It is an iconic role,” she said. “I joined the Operatic Society in July and obviously being a new person, didn’t think I would have a good chance of getting this role. I was absolutely gobsmacked and couldn’t believe it.

“I am a little bit nervous because I have so many people coming to watch the show.”

This may be her first major role with Chesterfield Operatic Society, but Georgina is no stranger to performing on stage. She has appeared in We Will Rock You, Sweeney Todd, Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Miserables with Inspirations Theatre Company and in many shows at university from where she graduated with a BA in musical theatre.

Georgina lives in Hollingwood, teaches classes at the Sheena Wallace Dance School and is working at the Soulville Steak House and BHS in Chesterfield to save up enough money to start an MA course.

The Sound Of Music will be staged at Chesterfield’s Pomegranate Theatre from November 19 to 23 at 7.15pm with a Saturday matinee at 2.15pm. Tickets: £15 and £13 (adults); £12 and £10 (child). To book, call 01246 345222 or www.chesterfieldtheatres.co.uk