Karylle, Markki Stroem had to audition for 'Sound of Music'

Leah C. Salterio

Posted at Mar 04 2023 11:06 AM

Karylle and Markki Stroem join the Manila leg of the international touring production of 'The Sound of Music'
Karylle and Markki Stroem join the Manila leg of the international touring production of 'The Sound of Music'

MANILA -- Karylle and Markki Stroem may both be multi-hyphenate performers who have made their mark in the entertainment industry.

However, when it comes to theater, which demands a different kind of discipline, Karylle and Stroem are consistently ready for more challenging roles. In fact, they do not mind auditioning for theater roles. 

"“Auditioning is part of the theater process and culture,” Karylle told ABS-CBN News. “I know a lot of artists are afraid to audition.

“I’ve had auditions that have been leaked online and that is enough to traumatize one or stop her from ever auditioning again. But I am currently auditioning for other roles and waiting for call backs.”

The two performers have been recently announced to play Baroness Elsa von Schraeder and Rolf, respectively in “The Sound of Music,” slated to run from March 7 to 26 at the Samsung Performing Arts Theater in Circuit Makati.

For his part, Stroem had sent a few auditions, especially for “The Sound of Music,” which is an international project.

“Sometimes, you feel, 'Oh my gosh.' There’s a part of you that feels this is not going to happen. But you just have to keep pushing, dreaming and growing into becoming a better performer than you were before," he said.

“That was what happened. I sent my first audition for ‘The Sound of Music.’ We waited for a month. Then, after that, there was a meeting. Then I sent a reel and I had to wait for a couple of weeks, then another.

“It was a pretty long process, a different kind of process that we are not used to here in the Philippines. But it became fruitful in the end for both Karylle and I.

“We were just so thankful, blessed and honored to have been selected for this. I’m very, very excited to be a part of this. It’s a dream.”

Getting chosen for any theater role doesn’t happen easily, they insist.

“Right now, there’s this discussion online about ‘nepo babies,’ anak ng mga artista who just get handed things on a silver platter. There’s nothing like that in theater. You have to audition," Karylle said.

“You have to go through the process. You have to wish. You have to pray and ask everybody to pray for you that you get the role.

“It doesn’t come easy. You were probably cast or maybe mock auditions lang. But nothing like that ever happened. I always auditioned fairly. I went to the process na kinakabahan ka every night.

“On New Year’s, I mentioned it on ‘It’s Showtime’ that I had to audition and I wish I could get the part I auditioned for.

“That same day, I did a Wish Bus guesting and the manager of a restaurant told me, ‘Napanood ko. Sana makuha mo ang role. Wish ko din ‘yun for you.’ I will treat her one of these days.

“Lahat ng sinabihan mo that you auditioned were consistently asking for updates. It’s nice to have a support group of people. That’s the best.”


Both Karylle and Stroem are performing with an international touring company for “The Sound of Music” and they are undoubtedly excited about it.

“Just hearing the music from the musical, ang sarap sa pakiramdam,” Karylle said. “Just having everyone being excited with me, it’s a gift.

“As scary as it is and as daunting as it is that it’s an international production, the sheer love and excitement that’s with us, shared with everybody, makes our roles easy.

“Bringing out the humanity in my character, I’m excited to explore and find out who exactly is Baroness Elsa.”

“We have so much love and respect for the theater,” Stroem added. “I’m very excited to enter this new world, with this new cast and bring what we learned as Filipinos from our amazing Filipino mentors and directors.”

Now, the hard work starts for Karylle and Stroem, as they recently started rehearsals for the musical.

“I’m so proud of this production,” Stroem beamed. “To be honest, ‘The Sound of Music’ was the first musical I ever watched as a kid. I have three aunts in the family who are nuns.

“They were so excited when I got the part. They were the ones who introduced me to ‘The Sound of Music’ when I was four.

“I memorized every single one of the songs. I would sing ’16 Going On 17’ like it was just something I would sing to myself everyday.

“That’s why they enrolled me in a Repertory Philippines workshop. My family believes I could do what the other theater actors are doing. Sing and possibly act.

“The Sound of Music’ was the reason I got into theater. That’s why I teared up when I got the part. It was just a full circle thing for me.”

Stroem learned about the good news during his regular meeting for RX 93 in Makati. “I was sitting there and I told them, ‘I got a message from ‘The Sound of Music.’

“So everyone said, ‘Just take the call.’ I think they were videotaping me and I just started crying. Then they asked, ‘Can we post it yet?’ Then I said, ‘Oh my God. I don’t know.’

“Then I was told on the phone, ‘Don’t tell anyone yet.’ Ooops! The most chismoso people in the world just found out. They were all so proud.”


The first time Stroem watched “The Sound of Music” as a musical was in Germany, where he lived from the time he was nine until he was 12.

“I am playing the role of Rolf. Essentially, having studied in Germany, it was a whole different process. I don’t think you were not even allowed to show the Nazi flags. It was part of the story to its core

“That was the conflict of the story. That is where my character usually is. Having watched it in Germany, there was so against that regiment. Having seen that, I was able to understand the difference trying to come back from that.

“Getting both sides, I got to understand Rolf a lot more. It’s great that I really have that foundation.”

Stroem feels that anyone who wants to venture into theater needs to be familiar with “The Sound of Music.”

“It is one of those rites of passage as a child,” he said about the musical. “I feel that any artist who wants to be exposed to the theater or entertainment needs to go through ‘The Sound of Music’ before he tries other bigger things.

“The Sound of Music’ has the basics of theater in all shapes and forms. It is so well created, well formed, so fantastic characters, even the bad guys.

“It is something for the kids who are our future entertainers. Something that each of them could watch and dream to become someone fantastic in the future.”


“The Sound of Music” is Karylle’s third Rodgers and Hammerstein production. Last year, she successfully did “Carousel” for Repertory Philippines. She also did “Cinderella” right before she got married.

“I live in a musical family all my life with my mom, my sister Zia, my sister Coco is also a DJ. Now, I’m married to a rocker-musician [Yael Yuzon], as well," she said.

“There’s also about music in families that is so powerful. When you see a family sharing music onstage, that’s always a beautiful thing happening. That’s why ‘The Sound of Music’ is so relevant up to this day.

“My parents, my husband, my workmates, it was nice to tell everybody that you told to the audition process because the victory is shared with them. I just have to prepare myself to be absent.

“Because everyone else found out, ang saya because I did not expect that everyone would be this excited from my circle of friends to my family. Usually, I had to tell everybody, ‘I will unfriend you if you don’t watch my play.’

“They were just so excited when they all learned about it. A lot of people were probably too busy to watch ‘Carousel’ last December. But now, for ‘The Sound of Music,’ it’s probably time to show their support from the very beginning.”