The Hills Are Alive... Again
07/03/2006 at 01:00 AM EDT
They have performed with poise at the Hollywood Bowl before a crowd of 18,000 and with the Boston Pops. Still, the questions fans pose after a show can be disconcerting for the four singing von Trapp siblings. "When people ask, 'Was Julie Andrews your great-grandmother?' you kind of look at them, like, 'Are you serious?'" says Sofia, the oldest at 17. "And they say, 'I was expecting seven of you,'" adds Melanie, 16, referring to the precocious septet Andrews harmonized with in 1965's The Sound of Music. "Or, 'Is your name really von Trapp?'" says Justin, 11. "But it really doesn't bother us."
For the record, Justin and his sisters, including Amanda, 14, are indeed the great-grandchildren of Capt. Georg von Trapp and Maria, the governess who became his second wife (played in the classic film by Christopher Plummer and Andrews). The family fled from Nazi-occupied Austria in 1938, resettling in Stowe, Vt. Today their descendants are living up to the illustrious surname. Raised and home-schooled in Somers, Mont., by parents Annie, 46, a baker, and Stefan, 47, a stonemason (whose father, Werner, now 91, is one of the three surviving original children), the new von Trapp kids earned more than $1 million last year from their concerts and CD sales and are now prepping for their big-screen debut in a Christmas movie due out next year. Their first experience acting was in a stage production of—what else—The Sound of Music. In the movie, though, "we play ourselves," says Melanie. "It's going to be fun."