The portrayal of Nazis in the Lincoln Drama production of ‘The Sound of Music’


Devyn McMillen

Senior Tyley Posey as Franz, the Von Trapp family’s butler who is secretly a Nazi. The Sound of Muisc will be playing at the Lincoln High School Auditorium April 21-22 and 27-30.

This spring, the drama department is presenting ‘The Sound of Music,’ a musical about a young woman named Maria who becomes the governess of the large Von Trapp family after being a nun. James Peerenboom, the drama teacher, chose this musical because it was the first one he directed as drama teacher at Lincoln in 1996 and will now be the last he directs in this building. 

“We did [‘The Sound of Music’] in the spring of 1996,” said Peerenboom. “It was very well received, especially as it was the first musical Lincoln had successfully done in some time,” he said. “When I came to Lincoln I was told that ‘Lincoln doesn’t do musicals’….and we proved them wrong.” 

Peerenboom wants this play to be as historically accurate as possible in its portrayal of Nazis and antisemitism in the 1930s in Austria.

“If we don’t learn from our history, we are doomed to repeat it and we want to be clear as to why the Nazi party’s actions were so horrific,” he said. “I feel strongly that we have to continue teaching students of the atrocities of past generations and not water them down.”

Senior Tyler Posey plays Franz, a Nazi who is the Von Trapp family’s loyal butler.

“My character does not want to reveal to the Von Trapp family that he is a Nazi, so I have been directed to act as a regular butler and portray minimal signs of me being a Nazi,” said Posey. “Some of my lines throughout the play hint at it, while others are a dead giveaway.”

Posey was directed to act similar to how Franz was portrayed in the movie. 

“I would say this [version of my character] is fairly similar to the movie as I am a very straightforward butler who is kept in line and does his job for Captain Von Trapp like any old butler,” said Posey.  

When Peerenboom was casting the Nazi roles, he said the most important factor was casting talented actors who did not want a singing role. 

“Honestly, one of the biggest factors was that the Nazi actors don’t have to sing, so if we had a talented actor who could not perform one of the singing roles, we considered them for one of the Nazi roles,” said Peerenboom.

Posey wanted to play Franz, as he wanted a strictly non-singing role. He also hopes the audience understands his character’s complicated double life. 

“I hope the audience will understand that while I am always on my good friend Captain Von Trapp’s side, I don’t see eye to eye with him on the government powers in play,” said Posey. 

This play covers important historical events as it is set during World War II and its powerful messages, both fun and serious, are delivered through music. By producing this play, Peerenboom intends to demonstrate the sheer power of music.

Initially, I wanted to do ‘The Sound of Music’ this year, as I feel that one of its strongest messages is the power of music in our lives,” said Peerenboom. “For the past two years we’ve been forced to entertain ourselves in new ways and music has been central to that for many of us.”