Tiffany Solano rediscovers Maria in Dallas Theater Center’s “The Sound of Music” – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

When Tiffany Solano talks about playing Maria in The sound of music at the Dallas Theater Center, she makes something clear.

“I am not Julie Andrews and I will never be Julie Andrews,” Solano said with a laugh.

Presenting at the Wyly Theater in the Dallas Arts District until April 24, the Dallas Theater Center production is a re-examination of the beloved musical that became an iconic film. This production contains all music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. Every word of Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse’s book is preserved. This production aims to reveal the humanity of the legendary family.

“It’s based on real people and real events and frankly, at a time when socially and politically the world was in turmoil,” Solano said. “The reason I’m excited about our version of The sound of music it’s because we’re really, really, really trying to tap into the human history there.

Tiffany Solano talks about playing Maria in The sound of music.

Solano, a member of the theatre’s Brierley Resident Acting Company, remembers watching Julie Andrew’s famous performance as a child on a set of two VHS tapes.

“As early as six or seven, I remember watching the movie,” Solano said.

As a teenager, she played Von Trapp’s eldest child, Liesl, and was just thrilled to star in one of the best-known musicals of the 20th century. Acting in the Dallas Theater Center production forces the actors to reconsider the history surrounding the story and the real lives shaped by that story.

“We are all tasked with looking at this piece through a new lens,” Solano said.

The actors visited the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum to learn more about what was happening in Austria in the 1930s.

“Having the opportunity to approach it with this knowledge and these stories and these human voices and faces, it was really game-changing,” Solano said. “I just try to tell the story as a storyteller.”

As rehearsals begin, Russia has invaded Ukraine, making the musical’s historical setting and the story of the Von Trapp family’s war refugees more resonant.

“It’s so relevant and heartbreaking that we humans keep repeating our bad behavior,” Solano said. “It’s important that we learn from the past to hopefully move forward in a better, brighter and more positive way.”


Iman Thomas

Tiffany Solano calls Beowulf Boritt’s set “her playground.”

With a set designed by Tony Award winner Beowulf Boritt, the show immediately defies audience expectations.

“It’s amazing,” Solano said. “This one is spectacular and also a little scary and it really helps us tell the story in a new and unique way and the minute the audience walks into the house and sees the set, they’ll know we’re not doing not the traditional music sound.”

The cast is varied. Little Latina, Solano never imagined playing this role.

“Growing up, I wouldn’t have seen someone like me play that role. I wouldn’t even have seen a brunette play that role,” Solano said. “The opportunity to be on that stage and represent other little girls who wouldn’t have seen someone like me, that I couldn’t see, is really important to me.”

The start of the show establishes the grief of the Von Trapp household over the death of the children’s mother. “

It’s raw. It’s okay to be a little messy and a little grainy and all those things you don’t associate with The sound of music“said Solano.

Solano’s seven-year-old daughter, Sofia DeSena, plays Gretl. When DeSena first saw the kids in the movie The sound of music, she realized she could be in a musical just like her mother. She’s been singing “So Long, Farewell” since she was little.

“When I tell you she’s been rehearsing for this role since she was three, I’m not kidding,” Solano said.

DeSena prepped for her audition on her own, singing “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” from Cinderella and “You’re never fully dressed without a smile” from Anne.

“I am blown away by her. She’s this amazing, smart, curious, sweet, sassy — all these little girls,” Solano said.

The Dallas Theater Center Children's Sound of Music


Iman Thomas

Sofia DeSena (far left) is the daughter of Tiffany Solano and plays Gretl in The sound of music at the Dallas Theater Center.

While DeSena has appeared in commercials, the Dallas Theater Center’s Public Works Dallas production of As you like itand the elevator project Lucha Teotl, this role is the most demanding for her. She’s developed a character, has lines, and she knows her music and her choreography.

“It’s really fun for me to watch her make acting choices,” Solano said.

Solano relishes this mother-daughter experience.

“We will have these memories forever,” Solano said. “This moment is really special.”

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