The beloved Rodgers and Hammerstein musical opens today and runs through
"I got called back for this role so many times prior to meeting my husband, and I never booked it," Saver said. "You don't know why. It's always just, 'Man, I was so close.' I think I was supposed to wait until now to fully be able to do it right."
Saver, whose first professional job came when she was 14 and was cast as Liesl, the eldest
"She's kind of me," Saver said. "There's a line in the script where she says she can't stop saying things, everything she thinks and feels. Some consider that honesty but she says, 'No, it's terrible.' My mother used to always say I'm blunt to a fault. I say what I think and feel. I don't censor. It's my greatest asset and my biggest downfall."
In this case, it's an asset because it made her the Maria director
"She is Maria," Viets said. "She so approachable and open and loving and nurturing. She bonded immediately with the kids. That's the key, that relationship. It's not forced or fake. They genuinely like her, and vice versa."
That Saver, who married musical director/composer
She wasn't looking to get married. Neither was her husband, who had lost his wife to cancer when his girls were 6 and 7. The two reconnected in
"It was instant. I'll never forget,"
The spark simmered slowly, mostly because of his young daughters.
This is her first extended stay away from her family, but she inherited a family to watch over on the stage.
"The kids are great," she said. "They're so cute. I'm in love with them."
Viets is fond of them, too.
"I won the jackpot," he said of his youthful team.
About 50 auditioned for roles and he managed to assemble a group that looked as though they were siblings, had the ideal staircase height difference when they lined up, and most importantly, had talent.
"The thing that surprised me in doing this was the scope of the demands put on the children," Viets said. "They don't come in, do a number, leave and show up occasionally. They are the show. They're in six production numbers. They do a ton of stuff and it's not sing-along kids stuff. It's complex harmonies that adults have a hard time with. They sing, harmonize, blend and they have to be able to move, do choreography and act."
Viets was only a child himself when he fell in love with "The Sound of Music." Growing up on an
"I was so enthralled by it, obsessed with it," Viets admits. "I wore it out. I played it over and over and my mission was to see this movie."
Born in 1965, the year the film starring
"I would scour the papers every day for a year, and one day, there it was. It was coming back," Viets said. "It was in
As a director, Viets finds more rewards in the classic musical.
"It's so wonderfully crafted," said Viets, putting on his director's hat. "There's a perfect balance of that score and the heartwarming story. The love story is beautiful. You have this widower who is dying himself, inside, and this person comes along and reawakens things. He rediscovers the love for his children."
And, of course, "that music," Viets said.
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