New Family Coming to Town

A new family, with seven children, will be moving into the Haliburton Highlands this summer.

Their much anticipated arrival was announced in November and ever since, everyone has been asking, “Who are these children?”

Last week, all was revealed as Scot Denton, Artistic Producer of the Highlands Summer Festival and director of this year’s opening show, The Sound of Music, announced the young actors who will be playing the von Trapp Family children. They are all looking forward to being part of this iconic family and telling this famous story. The von Trapp Family children:

River Christiano will be playing the oldest von Trapp daughter, Liesl – “16 going on 17”. River attends the University of Guelph and appeared in the Highlands Summer Festival’s 2017 production of Romeo and Juliet. River noted, “I come from a very large family, which makes this an extremely relatable role for me. I am look forward to having some fun with it!”

Evan Backus has the role of Friedrich, the second oldest of the seven children. He’s imagining, “The Captain might be a bit grumpy because he has seven kids.”

Tate Itani Smith has been cast as Louisa. Highlands Summer Festival patrons will remember her as Jane Banks in last year’s production of Mary Poppins. She thinks, rather than have a governess, “it might be better to go to school – you wouldn’t have to be with your brothers all day”.

Fynn Gooley will be playing Kurt, the middle child of seven. Fynn speculates what it would be like to have a governess, “It would be like eating breakfast with my teacher every day.”


Brynn Kilpatrick has the role of nine-year-old Brigitta. She suggests, “The Captain is scared of music, but secretly likes it”. Brynn is looking forward to “….becoming a different person in the show – but not really – I’m just like Brigitta.”

Ella Gooley has been cast as Marta. Ella is excited to sing for all the people who come to the show. “Having brothers will be awesome!” she commented.

And last, by no means least, Brooke Gooley has the role as the youngest child in the family, six year old Gretl. She says, “Being the youngest means I’m the cutest.”

So there you have the young actors who will be featured on stage this summer in the musical The Sound of Music. “I am delighted with this group of young performers and look forward to working with them as we develop this much loved show,” Music Director Melissa Stephens commented. “I know our audiences will enjoy them in their featured roles as the von Trapp Family children.”

With Music Director, Melissa Stephens, at the keyboard, left, five of the seven von Trapp children, from the left, Fynn Gooley, Ella Gooley, Brooke Gooley, Brynn Kilpatrick and Tate Itani Smith, sing one of their numbers from The Sound of Music, the opening show in this year’s Highlands Summer Festival season.

Tickets for The Sound of Music, which opens June 29 for ten performances, are available from the Highlands Summer Festival Box Office. Tickets are also available for the other Highlands Summer Festival productions, including: the Oscar Wilde classic, The Importance of Being Earnest; down east humour from Lucien; the funny and touching Every Brilliant Thing; and the British musical revue about the sixties, Across The Pond, starring Leisa Way and the Lonely Hearts Club Band. Tickets for some of these performances are already scarce, so now is the time to get yours.

Order tickets by calling the box office at 705-457-9933 or toll-free at 1-855-457-9933. They can also be ordered securely on line at the website Tickets are $37.50, with special pricing, $20, for youths, up to 18 years of age, for the three matinee performances of The Sound of Music.

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