Climb Every Mountain

Article Published: Aug. 4, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Climb Every Mountain

One could argue that "The Sound of Music" is the most beloved musical of all time.

Fans of the stage show and movie have been known to hold sing-alongs where groups of people sing the entire show from beginning to end. Songs, such as "Do-Re-Mi" and "My Favorite Things," continue to be some of the first learned by young musicians and are often covered by adult jazz artists.

Lees-McRae Summer Theatre will present "The Sound of Music" from now through Aug. 8 at the Hayes Auditorium in Banner Elk. Shows are nightly at 7:30 p.m. (except Sunday) with additional 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday.

Many fans of the musical may be surprised to learn that "The Sound of Music" is based on the real biography of the Trapp Family Singers, a family that escaped Europe during World War II and eventually settled in the United States.

Of course, many of the details of the "The Story of the Trapp Family Singers" were altered by stage writers Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse in the creation of the musical.

For instance, Capt. von Trapp's second oldest daughter from his first marriage was named Maria. Her name was changed to Louisa to avoid confusion with the central character, Maria Rainer. Also, Maria and Capt. von Trapp were married for 10 years before they left Austria. That was changed to add to the romance of the musical.

"If people compare the biography of the von Trapps to the musical, they will find some issues," said Lees-McRae Summer Theatre director Dr. Janet Barton Speer. "But I feel that once it is a work of art, it becomes its own truth. 'The Sound of Music' has been performed all over the world, and it continues to ring true with everybody who falls in love with it."

The current production marks the fifth time that Dr. Speer has directed "The Sound of Music" and the third time she has taken the helm of the musical for Lees-McRae's theater department.

"This show is backed by the town of Banner Elk through a major grant in conjunction with their centennial celebration," Speer said.

Speer added that fans of the movie might be interested to learn that the stage version contains two songs that the film version does not: "How Can Love Survive" and "No Way to Stop It," both featuring the characters Max Detweiler and governess Elsa Schraeder.

Although Speer and many of the cast members are completely familiar with the songs and story of "The Sound of Music," one cast member was not. Brandon Samples, the actor who plays Capt. von Trapp, has never seen the movie or the stage version of the musical.

"I don't know how I've avoided it," Samples said. "Everyone I know has seen it."

Despite his unfamiliarity with it, Samples has managed to nail his musical numbers, including the classic show-stopper, "Edelweiss."

The cast of "The Sound of Music" includes Emily Parrott as Maria Rainer, Laura Carringer as Sister Berthe, Ruthie Tutterow as Sister Margaretta, Brenda Boozer as Mother Abess, McKenzie Simpson as Sister Sophia, Brandon Samples as Capt. Georg von Trapp, Roland Mullinix as Franz, Nyra Brannan as Frau Schmidt, Sarah Rutzen as Liesl, Brian Gay as Friedrich, Jessica Presnell as Louisa, Calvin Keener as Kurt, Laura Tutterow as Brigitta, Peyton Franklin as Marta, Bella Parent as Gretl, Jarrett Koski as Rolf Gruber, Kim Krege Florio as Elsa Schraeder, Bob Haas as Max Detweiler, William Martin as Herr Zeller, Nick Donchak as Admiral von Schreiber, and Joe Appleton as Baron Elberfeld.

Nuns and postulants of Nonnberg Alley are portrayed by Beth Alison, Sunny Binder, Susan Carter, Schuyler Carson, Katherine Deyton, Sheila Feldman, Edie Ferguson, Nina Fischesser, Barbara Hosbein, Paula Presnell, Susan Schachner, Cassie Schultz, Jordan Thomas, Tabitha Thomas and Brian Whitehurst.

Nazis and their guests include Ben Simpson, Christopher Nelson, Susan Schachner, Sunny Binder, Edie Ferguson and Cassie Schultz.

The orchestra features Paul Adamson on keyboards, Ron Berry on woodwinds, Shawn Roberts on percussion, Elizabeth York and Jane York on violin, Kathryn York on cello and Rachel York on bass.
High Country theater fans have long followed the stage career of singer and actress Jessica Presnell. According to Speer, Presnell will be taking a break from college this year to perform on stage at Disney World as Tinkerbell, the fairy from "Peter Pan."

Tickets & Times

The Lees-McRae Summer Theatre production of "The Sound of Music" will be presented at the Hayes Auditorium in Banner Elk on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Aug. 4 to 6, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 6 and 7, at 2 p.m. and Monday, Aug. 8, at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $30 for adults and $20 for students and children and are available at the door, or in advance by calling the Hayes Auditorium box office at (828) 898-8709. Box office hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on show days.

Favorite Things Dinner

Dr. Barry Buxton, president of Lees-McRae College, his wife, Deborah, and Speer will host a "Sound of Music" fundraising soiree on Saturday, Aug. 6. The event will include the "Captain's Cocktails" at 5:30 p.m. and a "Favorite Things Dinner" at 6:15 p.m.

The cost of the dinner is $125 per person and includes cocktails, dinner and the show. Reservations are requested and can be made by calling (828) 898-8709.

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