Meredith is alive with 'The Sound of Music'


July 15, 2009
MEREDITH — The hills around Meredith will be alive with "The Sound of Music" until July 26, as the Summer Theatre at Meredith Village stages the musical of a novitiate who captures the hearts of an Austrian captain and his seven children.

Based on the lives of the Trapp Family Singers and their escape from Austria as the Nazi Party took over, this musical was made famous in the Broadway play written by Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein, and later in the movie version with Julie Andrews. The musical made famous familiar songs like "My Favorite Things," "Do, Re, Mi," and "Sixteen Going on Seventeen."

"He (Kurt Von Trapp) is a fun character to play," said Skylar Allen, 11, of Sandwich, who plays the younger Von Trapp son. "I've never been in any play in this time period. It's fun to put on all the costumes."

Of the complex "Do Re Mi" song between the Von Trapp children and their new governess Maria, Allen said, "With practice, it's really easy."

Ashley Mortensen, a student at New York University, plays Maria, the rambunctious novitiate. Maria is sent from the abbey to be a temporary governess to the Von Trapp children at the behest of the Reverend Mother Abbess, who encourages her to find out if the abbey is her true calling.

Sarah Cooney, a recent graduate of New York University, plays the kindly Reverend Mother. A vocal student, Cooney said it is her dream to be on stage in her career.

First, however, she had to figure out how to sing in a nun's wimple.

"It's heavy – it pulls your head back," said Cooney of her costume. "It gets in your way – the habit isn't the most pleasant thing."

Rachel Witkovsky, a college student from Pennsylvania, agreed with Cooney on the complicated nature of the nun costuming.

"There are five pieces to the nun's habit – I don't even know the names of all of them," Witkovsky laughed.

Beyond the costuming, the musical centers around the relationship between Maria, the Von Trapp children, and Captain Georg Von Trapp, as they begin to make a family. David Hudson of Irvine, Calif., who plays Captain Von Trapp, said that a good deal of the musical is the emotional journey of Maria and the Captain.

"He (the Captain) goes through a major change when he meets Maria," said Hudson. "He changes profoundly, and it's fun to do that every day. There's so much happening around him and his family, but there's a light at the end of the tunnel in Maria and his children when he opens up to them."

"The Sound of Music" hit the stage earlier this week, and will play tonight at 8 p.m. The musical will run through July 26, with performances every day but Mondays, to be followed by "Oklahoma!" For more information, visit www.interlakestheater.com.

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