(Photo by Deena Caruso)
Tonight is Sophia Anne Caruso’s big night. As part of the cast of NBC’s landmark televised live production of “The Sound of Music,” starring Carrie Underwood, Stephen Moyer and Audra McDonald, she’ll be a part of something that hasn’t been done by any network in half a century.
But the 12-year-old veteran performer’s favorite collection--a stack of Broadway musical scores--shows she’s been preparing for years. She’s learned them all--”Annie,” “Mary Poppins,” “Les Miserables,” “Hairspray” and more-- and sings them for both the pure pleasure of it and for the constant auditions that are a big part of any actor’s life.
As it happens, one of her favorite shows is “The Sound of Music.”
“I saw the movie when I was five or 6 and I loved it,” Sophia says. “So my mother got the Broadway score for me and I learned it. I sang it constantly.”
Tonight she will perform those familiar songs again, this time for millions of viewers.
Sophia Caruso has worked steadily since moving with her mother from Spokane to New York City 18 months ago, and will play Brigitta von Trapp in tonight’s live production. She says it’s the role she would have chosen.
“I love Brigitta,” she says. “She’s a lot like me. We both like to read.”
Her mother, Spokane business owner, Deena Caruso, is the score keeper.
“I always have some of them with me,” Deena Caruso says. “You never know when you’ll need one.”
Tonight, when the show is over, she’ll pull out Sophia’s copy of “The Sound of Music.” “I’m going to have it signed by everyone in the cast,” Sophia says.
When asked if she thinks she’ll keep the stack of musical scores, Sophia Caruso doesn’t hesitate.
“Oh, of course, I’ll have them forever. They are my treasures,” she says. “They’re signed and marked in my kiddie handwriting. Years from now I’ll look at them and I’ll always remember how much I loved to sing those songs.”
Watch “The Sound of Music” tonight at 8 p.m. on KHQ-TV
Cheryl-Anne Millsap’s audio essays can be heard each week on Spokane Public Radio. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” which is available at Auntie’s Bookstore in Spokane.