How do you solve a problem like Maria?
Come and see for yourself, as Shoreline Musical Theatre Society presents The Sound of Music at the Tidemark Theatre. The production opens Thursday, Nov. 28, and is suitable for all ages.
The Sound of Music is based on the true story of the von Trapp family singers. In the musical, Maria has been asked to leave the abbey where she is training to become a nun, and be governess for the seven children of widowed naval commander Georg von Trapp. Eventually, Maria and Georg fall in love and marry.
The musical takes place just before World War II and explores the rising tensions between the Austrians and Germans.
The music and lyrics were written by the well-known team of Rodgers and Hammerstein. The stage version opened on Broadway in 1959 and won a Tony award for best musical. It was adapted into a movie in 1965, starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. The film version won five academy awards, including best picture. The music is very familiar, including such well known songs as Do Re Mi and Edelweiss.
Heather Gordon Murphy, Ruth Nichol and Kristy Miller form the creative force which is guiding this production, and they are enjoying their collaboration.
Gordon Murphy is working as artistic director, co-director and choreographer.
She feels the heart of the play is beauty and love, and explains how the play starts out with a household that is stiff and strict, set in a beautiful place with beautiful surroundings, and slowly evolves into a household that is soft and beautiful, while the outside world, with its rising political tensions, becomes hard and ugly.
One challenge she notes is the familiarity of the movie version. The stage version has some differences, and of course any stage production will have its own interpretations.
Miller, who is the musical director, also finds love at the centre of the play, particularly the process of discovering love. She has been enjoying the challenge of working with a wonderful cast that ranges from trained voices to voices in training to those who have never sung publicly.
“I love seeing the music and characters come alive,” she said, “and seeing people do what they didn’t think they could do, and when it’s not just a song anymore, it’s a part of them and a part of the story.”
Nichol is co-directing the play, which she finds, as a true story, infinitely profound. She feels it explores a number of themes: war and the threat to families; family values within a broken family (which provides a relevancy to today); poverty and affluence; the role of servants and how they are treated. She explained that there is no chorus in the traditional manner of Broadway musicals, and that the singing provides some of the text. She is enjoying finding the “little nuggets of comedy. You must always find the comedy,” she said, “even in a Shakespearean tragedy like Romeo and Juliet”.
The Sound of Music runs from Thursday, Nov. 28 to Saturday, Nov. 30, including a matinee on the Saturday. Tickets are $27, and available at the Tidemark Box Office, or on-line at tidemarktheatre.com.