The Sound of Music: Rehearsal Diary, Week 3

Ever wondered what it’s like to be a fly on the wall in the rehearsal room for a major musical in Australia? Or better still, inside the mind of an actor in a rehearsal room for a major musical in Australia? Performer David James is currently performing the role of Max Detweiler for the Australian production of The Sound Of Music and he kept a diary of the rehearsal process just for our AussieTheatre readers! Check out what happened in Week 3!

Uncle Max’s Diary

November 23 2015. Week three. Day 15

David-James_headshotWe complete the detailing process of the show. I have some terrific chats with Tanya Mitford, our resident director and choreographer. She’s a terrific person: focused, insightful and fun. She just knows when to come up and make a comment or observation or suggestion.

November 24 2015. Day 16.

Our assistant stage manager Ashleigh Boulden has a birthday; this time there are two cakes !!!!
*note to self- Discipline 007, discipline.

We work on the party scene at the end of Act One again. The Waltzing is a highlight! We run Act One- Wow! Amy is already luminous as Maria; so assured and in control of every moment… and it’s a physical role!

But Jacqui Dark as Mother Abbess gives us a ‘Climb Every Mountain’ that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. The entire room is moved to tears. She’s magnificent and such a warm, funny, general person as well.

November 25 2015. Day 17.

A precious half an hour,one on one with Gavin, on the concert scene. There are many levels to play in this climactic scene and Gav’s guidance and suggestions are spot on. Meanwhile, Marina appears to have found The Baroness’s perfume. One waft and we all agree.


We run Act Two up to the end of the concert when Max is led away at gunpoint to his death. Many of the girls comment on how sad this is which is lovely of them.

November 26 2015. Day 18.

We go through the show again and give all three kids groups a run at all the scenes. It’s tiring but necessary. A big publicity day today. We all record a to camera piece. Amy, Stef, Jacqui and the blue kids group appear and perform at the lighting of the giant Christmas tree in Martin Place. They sing ‘Deck the Halls’, ‘Do Re Mi’ and ‘Climb Every Mountain’. The big crowd who attended loved them apparently. As if our fearless leader Amy doesn’t have enough on her plate, she is now responsible for Christmas coming in Sydney as well. No Pressure!

Jonny Bowles, the kids director, makes a surprise appearance at Martin Place. All the kids are thrilled; It’s sad to think he leaves us on Saturday.

November 27 2015. Day 19

Gavin stages the final scene of the play with all kids groups and the full company. I go into rehearsal room 2 to seek some solitude. As I sit there trying to relax, I am at first bemused, then mildly alarmed to hear Max’s lines in the air. Just when I think I’m losing my mind, I realise it’s Colin Dean, my understudy, a proud Tasmanian and a great fella, in rehearsal room three being diligent.

* note to self- get more sleep!

We all then gather for speeches and presents to farewell Jonny Bowles who flys back to the UK tomorrow. It’s touching to see how much the kids love him. They will miss him… We all will. A great bloke and great at what he does. I hope he makes good on his parting promise to return next year and see the show.


We run the whole show. UK Producer Max Finbow flys in with Danuta, our UK Wig and Hair supervisor. It’s a big moment and very exciting. At the end of the run, Jonny stages the curtain call as Tanya watches, taking notes. It’s a show all of its own!!

November 28 2015. Day 20

We work through Act two notes from yesterday’s run before doing another full run at 2pm. It’s terrific and a highpoint on which to finish the week. Gavin, Peter Casey and Max Finbow are all really excited and encouraged by where we are at and make great speeches to that effect. Many of the company retire to the rooftop bar at a nearby hotel for a drink to end a great week. Where are all grateful that it’s the turnaround weekend and we have an extra day off on Monday.

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