Carmel High School graduate gets dream role of Maria in ‘The Sound of Music’


Renée La Schiazza figures she started watching “The Sound of Music” on VHS tape when she was about 2 years old.

The 2012 Carmel High School graduate will play Maria in Civic Theatre’s production of “The Sound of Music,” which runs from April 28 to May 13 at The Tarkington at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel.

“This is my favorite musical of all time,” she said. “It’s a dream role. It introduced me to musical theater and the arts.”

La Schiazza played a nun in the musical as a Clay Middle School sixth-grader.

This is the Carmel resident’s first production with Civic Theatre. It is her first performance since joining the Great American Songbook Foundation staff in February 2018. She is now the director of programs. She was a 2012 Songbook Academy participant and intern with the organization in 2013.

“Like anything, there are some challenges to overcome, but it’s really just a joy to be back in the process and back in the rehearsal room and to be inspired by everyone else in the cast.”

Carmel resident Kirsten Gunlogson portrays Mother Abbess in her first role with Civic Theatre. She has performed in Rodgers and Hammerstein productions, such as “The King and I” and “Oklahoma.”

“Being new to Civic and being asked to do a show with them, I could not ask for a better production to be involved in,” said Gunlogson, who is an Indiana University graduate. “Most of my younger years I was performing operatic literature and concert music. I did some operettas and some musical theater. I moved away from Indiana for a long time and moved back here in 2015.”

Gunlogson, a Butler University professor of voice, has performed some concerts and chamber music in the Indianapolis area. She also performs in a chamber trio, which does concerts throughout the U.S.


“It’s wonderful to get to know this company and to learn about the staff and administration,” Gunlogson said. “It’s a wonderful sense of community here. Of course, my favorite part is, I get to work with my daughter. That’s a huge treat for me as well.”

Her daughter Katherine LeFan, a 9-year-old West Clay Elementary third-grader, plays Marta. This is LeFan’s favorite musical as well.

“It’s kind of what got me into theater,” LeFan said. “It’s a really awesome musical. I really like ‘Do-Re-Mi’ and ‘Climb Every Mountain.’”

Clay Middle School sixth-grader Addie Giesting, who plays Brigitta, said her favorite song is “The Lonely Goatherd” that they sing with Maria.


“My favorite part is I get to lay back on the bed and conduct that part,” the 12-year-old Giesting said.

“The Sound of Music” is one of the first musicals Giesting ever saw.

“My grandma is a big ‘Sound of Music’ fan and travels all across the country to see the show,” Giesting said. “It’s really special to have me in it. She is going to come all the way from Minnesota to see it.”

Giesting performed in Junior Civic’s production of “Frozen Jr” in 2021.

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