Nationwide tour for Lucy

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Together time . . . Lucy Ward, aged 11, left with her sisters, Olivia, aged 12, and Charlie, aged 7, at their home in Fernside last week.PHOTO: SHELLEY TOPP

By SHELLEY TOPP

Do not tell Fernside schoolgirl Lucy Ward to “break a leg” before she starts a nationwide tour of “The Sound of Music” this September.

“Break a leg” is the old-fashioned way of wishing performers good luck before a show.

Now they prefer to hear the Australian word “chookas” for good luck, before they go on stage.

Lucy, aged 11, will perform in some of New Zealand’s historic theatres during the tour, including four shows over two days at Christchurch’s Isaac Theatre Royal, on October 21 and 22, and one in the Wellington Opera House, on October 17.

She will play Marta von Trapp in Ben McDonald’s new production of one of the world’s best-loved musicals which tells the true story of Maria, a music-loving nun who changes the lives of widowed Captain Georg von Trapp and his seven children.

It is a role Lucy knows well after playing Marta when she was a member of the Strudels group of children in the North Canterbury Musical Society’s sold-out production of “The Sound of Music” in Rangiora earlier this year.

The new show will open in Wellington at the Lower Hutt Little Theatre, on September 29 and end with a show in the Oamaru Opera House on October 29.

The four-week tour will take in 24 cities and towns.

“It is an exciting time for Lucy who loves to perform and is also a keen dancer.

She has been a pupil at the Jenna McKenzie School of Dance in Rangiora, studying ballet, jazz and hip hop, since she was five.

She also plays the piano and is a member of the choir at Fernside School.

When Lucy was told she had been chosen to play Marta again in the new show she was so excited she could not sleep that night.

“I didn’t believe it at first,” she said.

It will be the first time she has spent such a long time away from her family, mum Sharon, dad Greg, and sisters Olivia, 12 and Charlie, 7.

She doesn’t know how she will cope being away from them for such a long time.

“I am going to miss them a lot,” she says.

The children all have chaperones on tour.

There is a busy schedule to keep them occupied and Lucy’s family plan to attend many of the shows.

“Greg will go up for opening night and during the school holidays the family will follow the tour,” says Sharon whose mother is also planning to attend several concerts.

Rehearsals for the show begin in early September.