Gregory Charles has found his Maria. After having auditioned nearly 300 performers for the main role of his new version of The melody of happinessthe director fell under the spell of Klara Martel-Laroche, learned The newspaper. “He’s a star in the making,” Gregory says without hesitation.
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Klara Martel-Laroche almost missed out on her dream project. The 25-year-old, who is currently finishing her master’s degree at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, only found out at the last minute that there were auditions for a new version of The melody of happiness.
“I don’t know why I didn’t know about this show! she said laughing. But as soon as I found out, I told myself that I had to do it. »
A week later, she had a “45 to 50 minute” audition with Gregory Charles himself. “It was in his studio, at Radio-Canada, she says. He was really warm and cheerful when I arrived. He sat down at the piano and we played all the pieces that Maria could sing. After that, we talked about the character. This is in my top auditions that I have experienced in my life. »
charm and magic
Even if he met excellent candidates in the weeks that the auditions lasted, Gregory Charles felt something special in Klara Martel-Laroche. “She is clearly the best choice for this musicalthere, he said. She has a fantastic voice and charisma. There’s a kind of magic about Klara. »
To base his choice, the director focused on the voice above all else. “My perspective on musicals is that you have to act and dance, but you have to sing first,” he says. And particularly in a musical like The melody of happiness. In the film, there are not even three minutes without music. There is music everywhere. »
“I auditioned a bunch of girls who have completely different voices,” he continues. I’ve had 60-year-old Marias who told me they knew they weren’t Maria’s age, but they still wanted to try. I didn’t necessarily go with the idea that Maria was young and white. I left with no prerequisites. »
Its own color
Originally from Pont-Rouge, in the Quebec region, Klara Martel-Laroche has participated in several opera performances in the past, including Cinderella and Lessons from Maria Callasbut also a few musicals, including West Side Story and sister act.
Gregory Charles is convinced that the young Klara will know how to appropriate the role of Maria, even if Julie Andrews made a memorable interpretation of her at the cinema in 1965. “I predict that after seeing the show, people will return to their homes telling himself that it’s also her, Maria,” he says.
“I think my own color is coming, because I’m not Julie Andrews, unfortunately,” Klara smiles. I have an artistic treatment that is personal to me. But afterwards, it is sure that Julie Andrews has established standards that cannot be ignored. »
To what extent is Klara aware that this role of Maria could change her career? “I try not to think about that,” she replies. I want people to come and have a good time. I want to live it for the art. »
Assign other roles
Gregory Charles estimates that he still has 160 children to audition for the roles of the von Trapp children. “I still have a few weeks left for that, because there are still seven children in this musical-the. And I’m gonna need more than that because something might happen to them. »
At the end of the process, he will have auditioned around 800 people for all the roles in the production. At the time of our call, the director had yet to cast the other lead roles, such as Captain von Trapp and Mother Superior. The reason? He wanted to choose Maria first.
“It was absolutely imperative that she be found and cast in the role. Because that’s the hyphen of this whole affair. If I had just wanted to cast a fantastic actor who sings well to play the captain, I would have. But I need to see if it’ll work with Klara. »
The new adaptation of The melody of happiness will be presented at the Théâtre St-Denis from December 3rd. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. today at melodiedubonheur.com. The show will also be performed at the Salle Albert-Rousseau in Quebec City in the summer of 2023.
Six questions to Klara Martel-Laroche
Have you ever done a show on The melody of happiness in your youth?
“I’ve never done the musical. On the other hand, I have already sung an air of The melody of happiness in a singing exam. It was a bit daring because it’s not really classical repertoire. Ah, and I also practiced it a lot with my hairbrush as a teenager. [rires] »
What is your favorite song from The melody…?
“I love them all, but the one that always makes me really happy to listen is I trust Where I trust. In the film, it’s at the beginning, when she leaves the convent and she goes to the family. She sings with her suitcase. She’s like she’s stressed, but at the same time, she’s trying to convince herself that it’s going to be okay. I really like. It touches me, this song. »
How do you perceive the character of Maria?
“I find that what is interesting in a character like Maria’s is the evolution between the beginning of the play and the end. We see his transition, his change of vision. At first, she is very young. She is the little rebel at the convent. She is full of energy, too much for her life context. At the same time, she has so much courage to leave and say: ok, if that’s what you want for me… She sees things so positively, even if she’s a little scared. Quite quietly, we see her gaining confidence with the children. »
There is a game portion in the show. What is your acting experience?
“I’ve taken acting lessons since I was very, very young. In fact, it was the theater that brought me to music. I’m really a fan of all things sung theatre. I started very young to take theater lessons and I continued at the conservatory. We still have acting classes today. That’s one of the reasons I was there too. I thought it was fun to really have a theater teacher. »
In Montreal, Just for Laughs has produced several musicals in recent years. Have you ever tried your luck for some of these shows?
“Yes, I already tried. But it didn’t work…”
And Star Academy Where The voicehave you ever thought about it?
” No not at all! I go there a lot out of intrinsic motivation. I go there when I feel like it. To date, I have never had the to strenghten to do it. But who knows? »