ROYAL OAK –
Stagecrafters doesn’t repeat its productions very often – except for classics such as “The Sound of Music.” Although Stagecrafters has mounted this beloved musical twice prior in its 56-year-history (1981, 1992), this latest production will run May 31-June 23 at the Baldwin Theatre in downtown Royal Oak.
Created by Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse and based on “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers” by Maria Augusta Trapp, the story is set in Salzburg, Austria, just prior to World War II. The nuns of Nonnberg Abbey are gathered together to sing – except for one young postulant, Maria Rainer (Sara Rydzewski) who has lost track of time while singing on a nearby mountainside. When Maria explains her absence, the Mother Abbess (Donna Edwards) tells her that she should spend some time outside the abbey to decide if this monastic life is right for her. She has been assigned to act as a governess to the seven children of widower Captain Georg von Trapp (Mark Jewett).
When Maria arrives at the elaborate villa, she is given her duties by the Captain and meets all of the children in a very militaristic manner. While the Captain is away on duty, Maria and the children bond. When he returns, he is accompanied by with his fiancee Elsa (Caryn Leonard) and his friend Max (John Nowaczyk). From here the storyline blossoms when love interests are uncovered and the pre-war tensions heat up.
Audiences of all ages will enjoy the timeless songs that have become so familiar, such as “Edelweiss,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “My Favorite Things” and the title song “The Sound of Music.”
Director Randy Wrisinger has a deep-rooted fondness for this musical, calling it one of his “all-time favorites.” This is his second time directing the show, the first being at a small community theater in Missouri, and he once played the role of the Captain. “What makes this show so unique is the bonding of the children,” Wrisinger said. “From the first rehearsal, they have treated each other like family, and that will shine through for the audiences to see.”
He has also doubled the number of cast in the nuns chorus for a fuller sound and will be using the Baldwin’s Wurlitzer theater organ during the wedding scene. “Audiences are going to be amazed at the incredible set design by Drew Hall and costumes by Doris Boris. I hope they all leave the show humming the tunes and remember the line, ‘When the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window,'” said Wrisinger.
Stagecrafters is hosting a special Bavarian-themed fundraiser prior to the show’s opening. “The Sounds and Tastes of Music” will be held May 29, with the doors opening at 6:45 p.m. German foods by The Dakota Inn Rathskeller, Austrian music by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra String Quartet, a diamond earring raffle, German libations and a preview performance of “The Sound of Music” are all included in the ticket price of $30 general reserved seating or $40 VIP reserved seating. All proceeds will benefit Stagecrafters’ programming.
A special sing-along performance will be held at 2 p.m. June 15. Audience members will be given song sheets to accompany the cast on select songs, and they are encouraged to come in costume.
Advance tickets for performances are $18 on Thursdays, and $20 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Patrons attending the opening night performance, May 31, are invited to a 7 p.m. pre-glow of complimentary light hors d’oeuvres and beverages. Student, military and senior discounts are available for specific performances. Tickets may be purchased online at http://www.stagecrafters.org (online handling fees apply) or by phone at 248-541-6430 using Visa or MasterCard. All seats are reserved. If shows have not sold out, tickets can be purchased at the box office one hour prior to the performance for an additional $2 per ticket.