On Thursday, NBC presented a live production of the classic musical “The Sound of Music,” with Carrie Underwood …
The secret weapon of any "Sound of Music" show is always a truckload of adorable von Trapp children, and last week's NBC production was no exception. Especially show-stealing were Ariane Rinehart, the Barnard junior who took on the role of "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" Liesl, and 15-year-old Joe West, who hit the night's highest of high notes playing Kurt.
We spoke to both of the young stars by phone as they recovered from their big night.
What have you been doing today to celebrate?
ARIANE: Well, I slept in. That was one mode of celebration. Mostly I've just been talking to people. I wish I could say I did something really fun, but I did not. A lot of contacting friends and family and catching up with everything that happened in the eight hours I was offline yesterday.
Carrie Underwood, Stephen Moyer and the ensemble perform a long-time favorite from NBC's The Sound of Music Li …
How was working with Carrie and Stephen Moyer?
ARIANE: They were wonderful. Carrie was incredible; she worked very hard throughout this entire thing. Everyday I was like, 'I'm tired, I'm sore.' But then Carrie comes and and she had just been recording and [doing] interviews. It was very inspirational to work with someone who was so dedicated and never complains. Ever! And Stephen's lovely. It was interesting seeing him switch between Captain and Stephen.
JOE: Carrie's great. She has the prettiest voice, and she is so nice to the kids. I wasn't really expecting such an awesome person. I've listened to her music a lot and she always sounds beautiful, but I really didn't think she'd be spending so much time with the kids, and we kind of formed a bond offstage, too.
How did you get along with the other kids?
ARIANE: I think it helped that we spent so many hours together. We pretty much had music during the rehearsals: at least an hour every day. And then on break, there weren't really a lot of places to go, so we'd hang out. I just have one brother. I think it was really great. We bickered, and then we got over it. We teased each other and played games and got along. We definitely connected as a family, which was important just to show that.
JOE: It was great. There's a lot of kids, so you're always with kids all the time. It's like a big family. I come from a big family, a family of five, so I know what that's like. Singing and dancing all day is the best.
Ariane Rinehart as Liesl and Michael Campayno as Rolf Gruber -- (Photo by: Will Hart/NBC)
Did you study what the real von Trapp family went through?
ARIANE: I had done it previously for a German class in college, so I knew a little bit about them. We didn't really research the original, true real-life family. We got a background on them, but also because their story is different. Having played younger characters in the show before [when] I didn't understand the historical context, it was interesting doing it again as Liesl, and I feel like she would also be similar to me understanding the situation a little bit more.
We were talking about when the movie came out and when the show came out, it was so much closer to the actual event that it had such a different meaning for people. I think now it's just really hard to understand how that would even feel. I don't know, she was 16; she fell in love with the wrong boy and grew up with him.
What's your favorite song in the play?
JOE: "The Lonely Goatherd." That was my original audition song, and so I loved it enough to pick it out in the very beginning. Jumping on the bed is really awesome, and all the other kids just kind of moved along to it. It just feels great when you get to do that one.
Watch "The Lonely Goatherd" from "The Sound of Music Live!" right here:
Were you surprised there weren't puppets in this version?
JOE: Yes. When I originally heard about that, I was like, "Oh, really?" I'm so glad that we get to do this instead. It's different enough to not be a true comparison, but it's similar enough to make people see that "Yeah, this is a good song!" when they watch it.
What made you the most nervous yesterday before the big show?
JOE: Probably that high note in "So Long, Farewell." I never had too much trouble with it, but I'm always nervous about it. Sometimes it comes out easily; sometimes it doesn't so easily. But I'm glad it came out easily that time.
Sophia Ann Caruso as Brigitta, Ariane Rinehart as Liesl, Michael Nigro as Friedrich, Grace Rundhaug as Marta, Carrie …
What was going on backstage during the show?
ARIANE: If you weren't in the scene, pretty much everyone was crowded around the monitors. We tried to keep the energy going. People didn't necessarily cheer during commercial breaks or anything. There was a nice, loud cheer at the two-minute mark. I think people were just really excited. Everyone was so lovely and supportive. When Carrie would come out, people would say "Beautiful job!" When you don't have an audience, you need your audience to be your cast members cheering you on, because you don't have that live energy from physical people.
JOE: Lots and lots and lots of quick changes. Nerves. And a lot of happiness and jokes. It's not like the theater show that runs for a long time. You don't get to do it more than once. We were happy, but also kind of sad because we weren't going to get another chance to see each other for a while. It's devastating but exciting at the same time, because you want to do a good job but we also really enjoy it.
What happened right after the show ended?
ARIANE: Lots of cheers. And then we had our little wrap party on the terrace. People were just very excited, ready to unwind a little bit. Costumes were all ready to peel off. I think people were so happy; we worked hard and put so much energy into this.
Did you check the Twitter response when you came offstage?
ARIANE: There was some really hilarious live-tweeting. DiGiorno [Pizza] live-tweeted it. The amount of people who watched this, the age range, was crazy. This makes me so happy.
Team Baroness or Team Maria?
JOE: Team Maria all the way! Kurt's just in love with Maria; he's totally in love with her. And I love her too. She's a wonderful character, and Carrie did such a great job portraying her.
ARIANE: Oh God, that's so hard. See, Team Maria as like a mother, but Team Baroness as best friend/drinking buddy. It'd be super fun to go shopping with the Baroness and run a corporation. I'm so down for that. She seems like she'd take over the world.
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