“The Sound of Music,” the final collaboration between Rodgers & Hammerstein, was destined to become the world’s most beloved musical and is now being presented by the Trinity Players at the Trinity Alps Performing Arts Center Nov. 21 through Dec. 1. When a postulant proves too high-spirited for the religious life, she is dispatched to serve as governess for the seven children of a widowed naval captain. Her growing rapport with the youngsters, coupled with her generosity of spirit, gradually captures the heart of the stern captain, and they marry. Upon returning from their honeymoon they discover that Austria has been invaded by the Nazis, who demand the captain’s immediate service in their navy. The family’s narrow escape over the mountains to Switzerland on the eve of World War II provides one of the most thrilling and inspirational finales ever presented in the theater. The motion picture version remains the most popular movie musical of all time.
Under the direction of Jay Underwood (director of last year’s hit “Mary Poppins”), “The Sound of Music” promises to bring the sweet scent of “Edelweiss” into your heart, have you yodeling like “The Lonely Goatherd” and singing Do-Re-Mi all the way home!
Underwood says he is blessed to be working with another extremely talented cast led by Mary Poppins herself, Shanna Franceschini.
“Just like Shanna was the ‘practically perfect’ Mary Poppins, she is the ‘practically perfect’ Maria Von Trapp. We are so pleased to have such a talented singer and actress on board for this production.” Fortunately for Underwood, Franceschini came with her own “Captain Von Trapp,” her husband David.
“When David showed up at the auditions I thought, ‘Oh, this could be interesting,’ and then he played the guitar, and sang a beautiful “Edelweiss” and I knew we had our Captain and Maria!”
The next feat was finding seven kids who could sing, act and generally seem like brothers and sisters. He didn’t have to look far.
“We had amazingly talented kids show up for the auditions,” says Underwood, “It really made the casting process difficult in that you hate saying ‘no’ to any of them.” A special joy was casting his 17-year-old daughter Lily as Liesl, the oldest of the children who’s “16 Going on 17.”
“Lily will be graduating Trinity High in June and this is kind of our swan song together,” laments Underwood. “She’s my Broadway/theater girl and I’m going to miss doing plays with her when she leaves for college.”
Rounding out the kids are Rio Hawkins as Friedrich, Grace Desrosiers as Louisa, Wade Goodyear as Kurt, Maya McIntosh as Brigitta, Emily McIntosh as Marta and Inyo Johnson as Gretl. “What’s also amazing,” says Underwood, “is that we have people in the cast from Hyampom, Hayfork, Junction City, even Redding!”
As with previous productions, Underwood realizes he couldn’t do it without the talents and time from his production team.
“Laurie Cunningham is back with her incredible sets, Jayme Bayley keeps us stocked with props, Andrew Ritachka, a THS student, is my sound man extraordinaire, and Mary Jo Fiermonte is keeping the cast in period costumes, but we also have painters, lighting and backstage people, construction folks, people doing tickets, concessions, ads, publicity – it really does take a village,” explains Underwood.
He also tips his hat to the Trinity Players board which is committed to quality productions and last, but certainly not least, an incredibly supportive community for their generous donations and dollars.
“This community and its businesses are what keep the arts alive here in Trinity County. We couldn’t do it without them,” he says.
Times and dates
Performance dates are Thursday, Nov. 21, at 7 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 22, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 23, at 2 and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Nov. 24, at 2 p.m. Then the following week on Thursday, Nov. 28, at 7 p.m. (Thanksgiving); Friday, Nov. 29, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 30, at 2 and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 1, at 2 p.m.
All performances are at the Trinity Alps Performing Arts Center, 101 Arbuckle Court, Weaverville. Tickets are $10. It is general seating for each show, but you buy tickets for a specific date. Tickets can be purchased at the Trinity County Visitor Center at 509 Main St. in Weaverville or at the door. For ticket information, you can call the Visitor Center at 623-6101 or visit the production on Facebook at Sound of Music TAPAC Weaverville CA.
Get your tickets early as last year’s “Mary Poppins” played to sold-out shows.