Musical staff

Actors, musicians and staff prepare for screenings July 8-11 | Local News

“The Sound of Music” has become a familiar story in American culture, thanks to the work of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II who turned the story of the Trapp Family Singers into a hit Broadway musical in 1965.

The Vermillion Community Theater is preparing to bring the musical to the stage at the Thomas H. Craig Performing Arts Center a week from today, but the work of actors, musicians and other staff began a while ago. several weeks with a lesson of what was happening in Europe in the 1930s and what Maria von Trapp went through.

The musical is based on von Trapp’s 1949 memoir The Trapp Family Singers Story and the musical is about a young Austrian postulant in Salzburg, Austria in 1938 who is sent to the villa of a retired naval officer and widower to be governess to his seven children.

After bringing love and music into the family’s life, she marries the officer and, together with the children, finds a way to survive the loss of their homeland to the Nazis.

It’s a difficult time in world history and everyone involved in the local production of the musical has been given a lesson in what the Trapp Family Singers have had to endure, thanks to American teacher David Burrow, who gave to local actors a brief lesson on the challenges that Austrian citizens faced with the invasion of Europe by Nazi Germany.

“It helped establish a framework for everyone and when we get to the scenes where these issues are more prominent, then we can refer back to the discussion he had with the cast, which is helpful,” said director Matt Nesmith.

It’s a story that has gained new relevance during this time, as Ukraine currently faces a similar challenge from Russia.

“We really worked to find – with the actors in mind – ways to make the characters stronger and more empowered,” he said. “At the same time, we really worked to create a sense of when and where the show is set in 1938 Austria.

“The second act of the show, as kids have sometimes talked about it, isn’t as upbeat and happy as Act 1 sometimes is and that’s important,” Nesmith said, “because there are really serious things here and I think in some of the way we stage things we lead to the idea that there were some really serious things going on in the world in 1938 in Europe that have direct parallels to this happening in the world today.

Theatre, he said, can and should reflect society.

“It’s a show, in this case, that’s not static at all,” Nesmith said. “The issues that Hammerstein and Rodgers were exploring with the show are very relevant today when it comes to political and social ramifications. We did a lot of things during rehearsals and we talked and made sure we understood what was happening then and what we see happening in Russia and Ukraine that looks like that.

“We’re making sure everyone, regardless of age, understands what’s going on, why it’s important and, in such a beloved musical, not to sugarcoat the nitty-gritty,” he said. declared.

“The Sound of Music” will be presented July 8-11 at the Vermillion High School Thomas H. Craig Performing Arts Center. The musical has been an iconic part of American culture since it hit the big screens in 1965, starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. The film is an adaptation of the 1959 musical of the same name, composed by Richard Rodgers with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II.

“The Sound of Music” is loosely based on the story of the Von Trapp family singers who escaped Nazi Europe. Set in Austria on the eve of the Anschluss in 1938, the musical tells the story of Maria, who takes a job as a governess in a large family as she decides to become a nun. She falls in love with the children, and eventually their widowed father, Captain von Trapp. He is ordered to accept a commission in the German Navy.

Opposed to the Nazis, he and Maria help the children to flee Austria. Many songs from the musical have become standards, including “Edelweiss”, “My Favorite Things”, “Climb Ev’ry Mountain”, “Do-Re-Mi”, and the title track “The Sound of Music”.

Show times are 7 p.m. Friday, July 8, Saturday, July 9, and Monday, July 11. A 2:30 p.m. matinee will take the stage on Sunday, July 10.

Admission is $15 for adults and $7 for children in grades K-12. There is no charge for children under 5 years old. All tickets are general admission and are available at Davis Pharmacy, cash and check only. They can also be purchased at the door, cash by check or on credit (additional charge).

“The four romantic leads are all students in the musical theater department (USD) or the music department, which is kind of funny,” Nesmith said. “And, of course, we all have these different ages; it’s great to have kids on stage. We have Mitchell Olson coming in to play a role.

The Vermillion Community Theater had planned to present “The Sound of Music” in the summer of 2020.

COVID-19 changed those plans that year and lingered long enough to keep the Performing Arts Center Stage at Vermillion High School dark in the summer of 2021 as well.

This year, people are coming together once again as the pandemic wanes, and Vermillion Community Theater’s production of a classic musical helps celebrate that fact.

“There are a lot of good things coming back together after being away for a few years,” Nesmith said.