One of my favorite parts of performing in and traveling with The Sound of Music is getting to do it with 8 younger siblings! I am inspired daily by their energy, positivity, and lack of inhibition. They are a constant reminder of why I started doing theater, and what I love so much about it as an art form and career. In this blog, I’ve described my life on tour, but I thought it would be fun to break down a day in the life of a KID on tour!
In The Sound of Music tour, we have eight children in the cast, who we’ve come to refer to as the ‘VonTrapplings!’ There are six kids who perform every night in the show and two ‘swings’ (one boy and one girl) who ‘cover,’ or understudy multiple roles and perform only when one of the six ‘calls out’ for sickness or a personal day. All of these children travel with us to each city, and because they are all under the age of eighteen, they are required to travel with a guardian, go to school, attend field trips, and even rehearse - in addition to performing in the show every night!
While touring, each child must be accompanied by a guardian. In most cases, this is a parent, but it can be anyone designated by the child’s family, and they can switch out as often as need be. For example, chaperones have included relatives, family friends, professional, hired guardians, and even members of the cast and crew! The guardian stays with them overnight at the hotel, and makes sure they get to and from school, rehearsals, and their call time for the show. The guardian will sign them in and out for these activities, but won’t need to stay while the show or school are going on. After the guardian signs them in for school hours, their teacher become their guardian, and after they are signed in at their ‘call time’ (a half hour before each performance), the ‘Child Wrangler’ becomes their guardian. The ‘Child Wrangler,’ like the school teacher, is also hired by, and travels with the company to make sure all performers under the age of eighteen are safe and where they need to be during work hours.
The kids in our cast accomplish school in one of two ways. Some are home schooled by their guardian, but most attend school everyday with a teacher who travels with us on tour. Each child receives a lesson plan from the school district in their home state, and she guides them through the curriculum. Those students attend three hours of school on weekdays, and one hour on the weekends, either in a designated school room at the theater or hotel. Because the kids in our cast are so varied in age and grade level, many of them have additional tutors who they Skype with or talk to on the phone for supplemental help in subjects such as math or foreign language.
A fun part of being in school on the road are field trips! Because we’re in a new city every week, the VonTrappling’s teacher tries to plan a field trip every week that has to do with the history or culture of the place we are visiting. They’ve gone to see the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, The National Aquarium in Baltimore, the Science Museum in Columbus, and many more!
In addition to school, field trips, and the show, many of the kids also find time to take voice, guitar, and piano lessons from some of our cast members or via Skype, and they take dance lessons from me! They also find time for hobbies like skate boarding, drawing, playing the ukulele, and memorizing every lyric to ‘Hamilton!’
One tough part of touring is being away from parents, siblings, and friends. Many of the kids haven’t been home since January - and even that was only a week long break! Luckily, our VonTrapplings have each other, and get along very well. They really have become like brothers and sisters! Keep an eye out for what’s up next - I’ll be interviewing some of the kids for first hand details about their experience! Thanks for reading, Theater Cats!