Gregory Charles has found his Maria. After auditioning nearly 300 artists for the lead role in his new version of The melody of happiness.the director fell under the spell of Klara Martel-Laroche, knew The newspaper. “He’s a star in the making,” says Gregory without hesitation.
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Klara Martel-Laroche almost missed out on her dream project. The 25-year-old, who is currently completing her master’s degree at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, learned at the last minute that she had 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 I had to do it. »
A week later, she auditioned for “45 to 50 minutes” with Gregory Charles himself. “It was in her studio, at Radio-Canada, she says. It was very warm and cheerful when I arrived. She sat at the piano and we played all the pieces that Maria could sing. After that, we talked about the character. This is one of the best auditions I’ve ever experienced in my life. »
charm and magic
Although he met some excellent candidates in the weeks that the auditions lasted, Gregory Charles felt something special in Klara Martel-Laroche. “She is clearly the best option for this musicalthere, he said. She has a fantastic voice and charisma. There is a kind of magic in Klara. »
To substantiate his choice, the director focused on the voice above all else. “My perspective on musicals is that you have to act and dance, but first you have to sing,” he says. And particularly in a musical I 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,” she continues. I’ve had Marias in their 60s who told me they knew they weren’t Maria’s age, but still wanted to try. I didn’t necessarily follow the idea that Maria was young and white. I left without prerequisites. »
your 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 some 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 gave a memorable interpretation of her in the cinema in 1965. “I predict that after seeing the show people will go home saying that it is also her, Maria,” he says.
“I think my own color is coming through, because I’m sadly not Julie Andrews,” Klara says with a smile. I have an artistic approach that is personal to me. But then, surely Julie Andrews has established some standards that we cannot ignore. »
To what extent is Klara aware that this role of Maria could change her career? “I try not to think about it,” she replies. I want people to come and have a good time. I want to live it through art. »
Assign other roles
Gregory Charles estimates that he still has 160 children left 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 going to need more than that because something could happen to them. »
By the end of the process, around 800 people will have auditioned for all the roles in the production. At the time of our call, the director had not yet cast the other leading 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 script of this whole thing. If she wanted to cast a fantastic actor who sings well to play the captain, she would have. But I need to see if he’ll work with Klara. »
The new adaptation of The melody of happiness. It will be presented at the Théâtre St-Denis from December 3. Tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m. at melodiedubonheur.com. The show will also take place 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 have never done the musical. Instead, 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. Oh, and I also practiced it a lot with my hairbrush when I was a teenager. [rires] »
what’s your favorite song by The melody…?
“I love you all, but the one that always makes me very happy to listen is I have faith Where I have faith. In the film, it is at the beginning, when he leaves the convent and leaves with the family. She sings with her suitcase. It’s like she’s stressed, but at the same time, she’s trying to convince herself that everything is going to be okay. I like it a lot. She plays me, this song. »
How do you perceive the character of Maria?
“It seems to me that what is interesting about a character like María is the evolution between the beginning and the end of the work. We see her transition, her change of vision. At first, she is very young. She is the little rebel of the convent. She is full of energy, too much for her life context. At the same time, she has so much courage to go away and say: ok, if that’s what you want for me… She sees things so positively, even though she’s a little scared. In silence, we see her gaining confidence with the children. »
There is a part of the game in the program. What is your acting experience?
“I have taken acting lessons since I was very, very young. In fact, it was the theater that led me to music. I am a big fan of everything related to sung theater. I started taking theater classes at a very young age and 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 actually have a drama 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 does not work…”
AND star academy Where VoiceHave you ever thought about it?
“No, not at all! I go there a lot for intrinsic motivation. I go there when I feel like it. To date, I have never had the increase to make. But who knows? »