THE­ATER: Bring­ing the sounds of the von Trapp kids to life.

Meet the scene-steal­ing young per­form­ers who play the von Trapp kids in ‘The Sound of Mu­sic’

The Washington Post Sunday - - ARTS & STYLE - BY NEL­SON PRESS­LEY PHOTOS BY MARVIN JOSEPH

The most in­tri­cate and in­fec­tious mo­ments in “The Sound of Mu­sic” be­long to the kids. The notes of “Do-Re-Mi” pop like hot pop­corn, as the jolly new nanny, Maria, teaches the hy­per-dis­ci­plined von Trapp chil­dren how to make songs from a ba­sic ma­jor scale. And then there’s all that giddy yo­del­ing and hop­ping on a bed as the brood drowns out a scary storm with “The Lonely Goatherd.”

In the na­tional tour­ing com­pany now at the Kennedy Cen­ter, the young per­form­ers could hardly be more charm­ing as they croon “So Long, Farewell,” or more pol­ished as they romp through their bois­ter­ous num­bers. If they don’t en­tirely steal the show — and maybe they do — they cer­tainly own the mo­ments that will linger on the way home.

The von Trap­plings, as the kids are af­fec­tion­ately known within this tour, which has lasted al­most two years (and which con­cludes with a fi­nal week in Cleve­land af­ter its Wash­ing­ton

stand ends July 16), range in age from 7 to 15. That group­ing doesn’t in­clude Paige Sil­vester, who at 26 is play­ing “I-am-16-go­ing-on-17” Liesl.

Sil­vester was a re­place­ment in the “Evita” tour that hit the Kennedy Cen­ter in 2014, and from the be­gin­ning she’s been Liesl in this re­spect­ful “Sound of Mu­sic,” di­rected by Jack O’Brien (“Hair­spray”). The rest of th­ese von Trap­plings joined in Jan­uary, ex­cept for Anika Lore Hatch, the 7-year-old who plays Gretl. She’s been tour­ing since last Au­gust.

The bud­ding pros seem at­tuned to the show­biz ropes. They fol­low di­rec­tions quickly dur­ing a splashy photo shoot, and even though they travel with chap­er­ons (usu­ally a par­ent), none are su­per­vised dur­ing in­ter­views deal­ing with po­ten­tially touchy sub­jects — for in­stance, home­work.

Least in­ter­est­ing ques­tion: how they make their de­mand­ing songs look so easy. Duh: When you know the notes to sing, you can sing most any­thing.

MATTHEW MUR­PHY

Char­lotte Maltby as Maria, with the von Tra pp chil­dren, in “The Sound of Mu­sic.” The na­tional tour­ing pro­duc­tion is at the Kennedy Cen­ter through July 16.

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