If there is one thing that troubles Charmian Carr about the Sing-A-Long-A Sound Of Music screenings, it’s the drag queens. Carr, who starred as eldest daughter Liesl in the 1965 musical classic, admits the sight of drag queens at the screenings always distresses her.
It does bother me, to be honest, Carr says. Actually, more disappoints me. The thing is, the drag queens who turn up are so much more beautiful than any of us were in the movie. If only we looked so good -“ that is what really upsets me, she laughs.
But I love the effort they put into it and they so get into the spirit of the whole thing. I love it, I absolutely love it, but I never, ever had a clue that any of this would happen.
Carr is talking from her Los Angeles home in advance of the Mardi Gras presentation of Sing-A-Long-A Sound Of Music at the State Theatre on 22 February.
In fact, talking about The Sound Of Music is something Carr has been doing since the film was first released 41 years ago. Now 62, the actress speaks fondly, and with a great sense of fun, about the movie she made as a 21-year-old in Salzburg, Austria.
Carr made her movie debut as Liesl, the feistiest of the seven Von Trapp children, appearing alongside Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.
Upon its release, The Sound Of Music became a phenomenon, won five Academy Awards including Best Picture, and set box office registers ringing around the world.
Carr spent the next few years travelling the globe to promote the film. In addition to her other career as a successful interior designer in Los Angeles, working for the likes of Michael Jackson, she has been engaged by the film studio 20th Century Fox ever since to promote The Sound Of Music for its re-release seasons, restored editions, and video and DVD releases. Since 2000, she has also travelled the world for screenings of Sing-A-Long-A Sound Of Music.
Sing-A-Long-A Sound Of Music first emerged at the 1999 London Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. As sing-along screenings have become more popular, so has audience involvement with the film become increasingly animated. Now, not only does the audience sing along with the classic tunes, but they also dress up in a variety of costumes, speak the dialogue, and comment on the onscreen action as well.
That I especially love, laughs Carr. These are lines we spoke seriously, and now the audience thinks they are so hilarious. I remember an AIDS benefit screening in Boston, and there was a group of guys who had rehearsed all the lines so well that I laughed all night. Three hours later when I got back to my hotel, my mouth was sore from laughing so much.
With laughter considered the best medicine of life, Carr believes the sing-along screenings are playing an important role in the field of mental health. I think sing-along is like a therapy session, she says.
Where else can people dress up, pretend they can sing these songs, dance and have three hours of outrageous play? You can’t go to many places in life and be allowed to act this foolish.
Sing-A-Long-A Sound Of Music screens 22 February at the State Theatre. Bookings on 132 849 or at the Ticketek website.