The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


Student comes alive in ‘The Sound of Music’

The Erie community offers many ways for aspiring performers to get involved, from the Gannon University Schuster Theatre to the Erie Playhouse to independent companies as well.

In fact, there is generally a lot of crossover between the stages. For instance, the Erie Playhouse has featured Gannon students in most of its shows.

The second main stage production of the Erie Playhouse’s 2012-2013 season, “The Sound of Music,” kicks off this weekend with a spotlight on current Gannon student Natalie Pertz.  Pertz takes center stage as the energetic Maria.

Maria, a postulant in an abbey, becomes the governess of the seven unruly von Trapp children. The von Trapp children seem to be too much for their father, the naval officer Georg von Trapp, who writes to the local convent seeking assistance.

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Maria, constantly in trouble for her unconventional ways, is sent to the von Trapp family by her mother superior.

Through her lively personality, gift of song and patient ways, the von Trapp family learns to love and respect Maria, including Mr. von Trapp.

Pertz said the opportunity to portray Maria has been a rewarding experience.

“I can relate to the character of Maria because she is this insane ball of energy who has a lot of love and doesn’t always know what to do with it, or herself,” Pertz said.

Pertz is no novice to the stage. She has been featured on Gannon’s Schuster Theatre stage several times since her transfer from Mercyhurst University.

She found herself in all four of the Schuster’s main stage shows last year as well as the annual Mini-Fringe Festival. Even the Erie Playhouse’s stage is familiar to Pertz.

She first performed at the playhouse in the New Year’s Eve Gala two years ago.

“Technically, this is my first full production with them,” Pertz said. “That is the great thing about this production – so many of us are making our debuts here.”

In fact, five of the von Trapp children are getting their first experience at the Erie Playhouse in “The Sound of Music.”

Pertz also said working with actors so much younger than her character is a treat.

“This production doesn’t allow for any egos,” Pertz said. “From day one, particularly with the von Trapp kids, I have been as caring and helpful as I can be as the mature character and actor in letting them know that we can get through together. The children are totally respectful but a blast to work with.”

Pertz will have to overcome the differences between stages. While Gannon’s theater is a small, intimate space, the playhouse features a larger space that seats hundreds of people.

“What this means to me as a performer is understanding that the audience is always out front and much further from me than the Gannon stage,” Pertz said.

The classic show, “glorified by artists both young and mature,” as Pertz put it, has been seen on stages across the world.

Portrayed in the film version by Julie Andrews, Maria is an iconic role for young actresses. Pertz’s own energetic spirit is ready to open the show and take on the challenges.

“The Sound of Music” makes its Erie Playhouse debut Thursday. It will run through Sunday, Dec. 5-9 and 13-16. Tickets can be reserved by calling the box office at 814-454-2852.



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