Even before The Sound Of Music gets its Broadway revival this season, New Yorkers can hear a singing von Trapp. Elisabeth von Trapp, granddaughter of Maria (the governness whose escape from the Nazis with her family formed the basis for Rodgers & Hammerstein's musical), has come to New York to sing.
She won't be singing on Broadway, though. Not even in a cabaret. Believe it or not, she'll be singing on subway platforms.
According to the New York Times, von Trapp passed an audition for Music Under New York a free music series sponsored by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority at several dozen Manhattan subway stations.
"Do-Re-Mi" is not in the von Trapp repertoire, however; her material runs closer to folk and art songs, though she has sung the National Anthem at Boston's Fenway Park. Why subways? "It adds trust and willingness to reach out and bring something heartfelt to the people," von Trapp told the Times.
Gina Higginbotham, who runs the subway series, told the Times, "My first reaction was I didn't think there were any von Trapps left. I thought they were from the First World War, so she would be ancient. Then I realized it was the Second World War. I just thought it was funny. I just kept thinking of Julie Andrews coming down to accompany her granddaughter." Equally amusing was von Trapp's audition -- a Rober Frost poem set to music, done against the typical noise and hubbub of subway work crews. "It was difficult to sing with the jackhammers pounding away, [but] this song cut through like a laser beam. It was fun to sing the high part."
--By David Lefkowitz