Interview with Katherine Kelly – Elsa Schraeder in The Sound of Music | The Sound of Music Live airs Sunday 20th December, from 7.30pm on ITV
Katherine Kelly plays the role of Baroness Elsa Schraeder in the Sound of Music Live
Q: Did you sign up for The Sound of Music Live the moment you were offered it?
A: Not to be begin with, to be honest. I thought “I don’t know if this is for me.” But when I spoke to
the Director, Coky Giedroyc, it was a game-changer. I suddenly realised this is going to be great. Her vision
for the show is why I said yes.
Q: Are you excited by the prospect of performing this show?
A: Yes. I love a challenge! If something terrifies me, I’m attracted to it. I’m an idiot! This is something very
different for me. If something is a repeat of something I’ve done before, it doesn’t appeal to me. I like to
keep mixing it up.
Q: How do you feel about it going out live?
A: Troubled! I did the 50th anniversary episode of Corona;on Street live, but that was very different. I’d
been there for four years, and I knew the sets and the crew so well. I didn’t feel the same pressure. Let’s just
say that in this production there’s so much which can go wrong that’s beyond your control. If you drop a line
in the theatre, you can usually find a way round it. But you can’t do that as easily on television – you’re in the
hands of too many people. So you just have to suck it up and hope for the best. But on the night, the
adrenaline will be surging through us, and I’m sure it’ll be amazing!
Q: This is the stage version of The Sound of Music rather the film isn’t it?
A: Yes, and that fascinated me from the off. The stage version is quite different from the film, especially
from my character’s point of view. The Baroness is still fabulous but she’s very different in this version to the film. She has fallen madly in love with Captain von Trapp, and he’s brought her to the villa to introduce her to his children. They’re close to getting married – if it hadn’t been for Maria, they would have done.
Q: Are there other reasons why the Baroness and Captain von Trapp part?
A: Yes, the main reason why they don’t get married is poli2cal differences. He’s going to fight the Nazis, while she believes they should just wait for it all to blow over. Politically, they’re worlds apart.
Q: Tell us more about the Baroness.
A: She’s a great character. She’s a good woman of impeccable breeding. She comes from Vienna, which was then the ar2s2c heart of Europe, the home of Mozart, Mahler and Freud. It was very forward-thinking. She’s living in the place to be and is the president of a corpora2on there. But I’m also finding there’s a real gentleness and vulnerability to her. Now she finds herself in this rural backwater with the von Trapps, and she doesn’t really fit in, but she tries her best!
Q: Why has The Sound of Music endured so well?
A: It boils down to Maria’s relationship with the seven Von Trapp children. Everyone loves that. She’s the mother every child wants and the mother we all want to be. It’s primarily about her and the children. Q: What about Rodgers and Hammerstein’s songs?
A: I already thought they were wonderful, but hearing Kara and Julian sing them, they sound even better! Everybody knows and loves these songs. My husband has never seen the film, but even he knew four of the songs. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s songs are ouen taken for granted and seen as a bit mainstream. But they’re so brilliantly constructed.
Q: Can you expand on that?
A: They work like a Disney film. As a 5-year-old, you can admire their songs on a surface level, but as an adult, you can see there is so much more to them than meets the eye. On the surface, yes they’re easy listening, chart-topping songs. They’re also rich and dynamic and very clever. Every time you go back to them, you discover something new. I thought I knew these songs, but in rehearsals I’ve gone, “Oh my gosh, that song is amazing”. You hear it afresh every time. Their songs have really stood the test of 2me.
Q: What parts of rehearsals are you particularly enjoying?
A: Julian is a dream to work with and I’m loving my duets with Alexander (Armstrong). He’s a wonderful singer and has got an album out – no pressure there, then! We’re really enjoying working together. Doing The Sound of Music is such fun!