« The melody of happiness »: « a show we need »

Starting December 3, the Théâtre St-Denis will resonate with the iconic songs of The melody of happiness. And it is Gregory Charles who signs the staging of this show all in music, presented in French and in English.

The seasoned musician will bring to life in a grandiose show tinged with modernity the musical original of The Sound of Musicborn on the boards of Broadway in 1959, then adapted to the cinema in 1965.

Recall that the story takes place in Austria during the 1930s when the Second World War is on the horizon. Captain von Trapp, widower, and Maria, the new governess of his seven children, will fall in love with each other before having to flee the country with their family, the captain opposing the Nazis.

Subway met Gregory Charles during a rehearsal evening at the Théâtre St-Denis to learn more about his version of the work, which promises to be salutary. “I am quite convinced that we need a show family, multigenerational, where we remember that happiness is achieved through collective participation, » he says.

Here is why to get carried away by The melody of happinessa hymn to the life-saving power of music, community and love.

The melody of happiness stars as Maria and Captain von Trapp Klara Martel-Laroche and Éric Paulhus. Image taken from the play’s Facebook page

Made by a lover The Sound of Music

Gregory Charles, who comes from a family where music ruled, has a very intimate connection with the Broadway play. « My parents had an immeasurable love for everything Broadway, » says the only son. We didn’t have a car or a cabin, but twice a year we went to New York for a week to see shows. »

Gregory, who is directing his first musical comedy, must have seen this musicalon stage some sixty times, in various versions and several countries. His essence, he knows it. » The Sound of Musicit’s an opera, but from the 50s, with music at theAmerican Song Book contrary to musicals came later in the 70s, as greaseWhere Anne with some books pop written in those years. »

As for the film, winner of five Oscars, it is the first feature film that his parents have seen together in the cinema. Gregory Charles was perfect for tinting with his gaze the work that rocked him his entire life.

Gregory Charles
Gregory Charles is a regular at musicals on Broadway since childhood. Photo: Denis Germain/Metro

His timeless message of solidarity

The melody of happinessis a story of redemption that resonates with our times, Gregory Charles explains. “The captain is in mourning for his wife and his country, which is being swallowed up by Nazi Germany. This new baby sitter , Maria, and the music will bring him back to light. It needs the participation of everyone around to regain happiness and freedom,” he explains, drawing an analogy between music, in this case, and the Force in Star Wars “Luke Skywalker is just an excuse to bring the guy who went dark, Darth Vader, back to the light. »

This is where the fundamental interest of this work lies, according to him. “The story, everyone knows it, they will flee. The important idea is not that; it is who intervenes so that the captain finds happiness, who brings back the beautiful and the good. »

Moreover, he points out, it is this idea that the title of the Italian version of the play conveys, which translates as “All together with passion”. As the saying goes, it takes a village to heal a man wounded in the depths of his being.

Its cruelly topical plot

The melody of happiness Although it was created more than 60 years ago, its framework remains current. “A country that is swallowed up by another, it’s not as if it no longer exists. We saw it there, with a country that takes pieces of the neighboring country, ”says Gregory in a dark voice, echoing the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. “It’s a universal story that could happen at any time. »

This is why viewers « will understand that the showtakes place in the 1930s, but [qu’]they won’t see it,” he says. In addition, children of all origins camp the offspring of the captain. « If we are thick enough to think that only blond and white children can represent Austrian children today, I would find that obtuse », affirms the director bluntly.

Gregory Charles
« A country that is swallowed up by another, it’s not as if it no longer exists », underlines Gregory Charles in an interview with Subway . Photo: Denis Germain/Metro

Immerse yourself in it

This show, Gregory Charles promises it to be grandiose, with a flamboyant ball and wedding as a bonus. In all, 25 performers and dancers, in addition to an orchestra of 10 musicians, will inhabit the stage, stripped of props.

Places and landscapes — abbey, terrace of the von Trapp manor, mountain, garden… — will be projected onto huge suspended panels.

We can expect to hear all the songs of the musicaloriginal and with many choreographies. With his long career in choral singing, Gregory even increased the number of nuns in the choirs from 4… to 16!

See future stars shine

Gregory Charles is full of praise for the interpreter of Maria in French, Klara Martel-Laroche, from the world of opera. “At the end of Klara’s audition, there was no doubt that she would be Maria. She is made to do that. “The couple she forms with the captain, played by Éric Paulhus, used to musicals, “we believe in it,” he says.

It will also be necessary to keep an eye on the interpreter of the eldest of the von Trapp children, Audrey-Louise Beauséjour. « She will go far, » says the multi-talented artist.

Put an end to « musical comedy »

The French name « comede musicale » to designate a musical , from the lightest to the most dramatic, in the cinema as on stage, does not faithfully convey its meaning. Gregory Charles’ version of The melody of happiness emphasizes the music, in the purest tradition of the genre.

“It’s not theater with tunes. It really is like an opera, he points out. There are about four minutes without music on a showtwo and a half hours. »

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