SOUTH KINGSTOWN – Local residents Peter Bucci, 16, and Grace Romanello, 13, take to the stage in Theatre By the Sea’s production of “The Sound of Music.”
Bucci, a student at South Kingstown High School, plays Friedrich in Cast B -- there are two casts of von Trapp children who perform on alternating dates.
He said he decided to try out for the show when his mom encouraged him to do so, and he ended up doing well. Bucci’s talents landed him the role as one of the seven von Trapp kids, not surprising for the budding actor who played Billy, the male lead, in the high school’s production of “Anything Goes.”
He said his experience at Theatre By the Sea has been fun so far.
“It’s different than what I’m used to doing,” he said. “I’m not used to noon to midnight rehearsals, I’m not used to the full 12 hours of just rehearsing after rehearsing and it’s very fast pace, but it’s fun.”
Bucci’s favorite scene in “The Sound of Music” is the scene where the children and Maria sing “The Lonely Goat Herd.”
He has enjoyed working with the other children and the adult actors, and said that Captain von Trapp, played by Dan Debenport still tries to keep the father-son relationship going off stage.
“We love all the actors,” Bucci said. He added that he has formed good friendships with many of the actors and they “hang out” outside of the theater.
Bucci hopes to audition for additional Theatre By the Sea shows in the future. He also plans to audition for shows at the high school this coming school year.
“I’ll definitely be trying out for the next show,” Bucci said. “I’m friends with the director so I’ve been trying to influence his choice on what to do for it.”
Bucci’s dream role is playing Harold Hill in “The Music Man.”
Another Wakefield resident, Grace Romanello, plays Louisa in Cast B.
Romanello recently graduated from Curtis Corner Middle School and will attend The Prout School next year, where she hopes to continue her involvement in theater.
This is her second performance at Theatre By the Sea, having performed in “Evita” in 2008.
She continued to look for auditions for shows with children at theater and found a fit when she learned this season included a production of “The Sound of Music.”
“I love working there,” Romanello said of Theatre By the Sea. “It’s a really good environment and it’s really good with kids too and I think that’s a really good thing. It makes you feel comfortable and they just make you feel like [it’s] home.”
Like Bucci, Romanello attested to the hard work and late nights that rehearsals often require.
“It’s just constant work and you always have to remember what you’ve been doing,” she said. “But overall it’s really good; it’s fun.”
Her favorite scenes in “The Sound of Music” are the party scene, when the children sing “So Long, Farewell,” and the concert at the end.
“I love looking at the costumes in that scene,” Romanello said of the party scene. “Between all the party dresses and all that and I love the song that the children sing.”
Romanello also said that she believes she will remain friends with the other actors who portrayed the von Trapp children once the show is over. She also made friends with the adult actors.
“I love working with the adults,” she said. “We have a lot of fun people in our cast; I love our cast.”
She raved about Brianne Moore, who plays Maria in the show, and said that she does Moore’s hair on the nights when Cast B performs. She has also forged a friendship with Lauren Gemelli who plays Baroness Elsa Schraeder.
Romanello is excited to be a part of Prout’s theater program next year and ultimately wants to go into performing in the arts as a career.
Her dream role is playing either Nina Rosario or Vanessa in “In the Heights.” She would also like to be in “Cats” because she loves the dancing.
Aside from theater, Romanello is passionate about dance. She is a dancer at Atwood Performing Arts Center in Cranston, and was recently awarded 10th place overall in her age group for her solo performance at the national championships of the Headliners Performing Arts Competition.
Both Bucci and Romanello can be seen at Theatre By the Sea through July 14. The theater is located at 364 Cards Pond Road in Matunuck.