Learning to sing — Maria (Jillian Curry), center, teaches Gretl ((Hannah Spears), Marta (Natalie Broadbent) Kurt (Kaden Call), Liesl (Isabella Fay), Luisa (Delaney Kelleher) and Friedrich (Ethan Gomez) musical notes in “The Sound of Music.”


Oak Ridge present “The Sound of Music”

By From page B1 | November 06, 2013

El Dorado Hills comes alive with the sound of music this month as Oak Ridge High School presents the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.

For more than five decades, “The Sound of Music” has entertained thousands of theater goers and the film starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer has played in countless homes year after year. The timeless songs “My Favorite Things,” “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” and, of course, “The Sound of Music” are well-known by all generations.

“This is a classic, one of the first musical movies I ever saw,” said Jillian Curry, the 17-year-old actress who’s taken on the unforgettable role of Maria.

“She’s an iconic character … and Julie Andrews, no one does it better,” the ORHS senior said.

To prepare, Curry said she’s re-watched the 1965 film and sings all the time. Maria, after all, is the music-loving governess-turn-mother who brings light back into the lives of Captain von Trapp and his seven children — Liesl, Friedrich, Luisa, Kurt, Brigitta, Marta and Gretl.

In the Tony award-winning musical version of the story, completed about six years before the film, the audience will see more interactions between Maria and the family patriarch Georg, noted 18-year-old Taylor Presnall, who takes on the serious but soft role as the captain. Georg is stern but sad after the loss of his first wife, Presnall said. And though he has to stay serious on stage, the ORHS senior said it’s hard to remain in character.

“I have so much fun with the people here,” he explained.

Both main characters said working with the children has been a real joy. Young actors were cast to play the von Trapp little ones, including 9-year-old Hannah Spears, who plays Gretl (the youngest).

“It’s fun,” said the budding actress. “I like to sing.”

This is Hannah’s first appearance on a musical’s stage and already she’s discovered a perk that might become a requirement for all her future roles.

“I’m able to be carried around a lot,” she said.

Good thing this production has more than 50 on its cast and crew. First-time Assistant Director Amber Otwell said it’s a tough job managing all the characters, especially the children “if they get sugar before rehearsal.”

The musical also requires an impressive amount of costumes and 13 sets, and, to further enhance the experience, will be performed with a live orchestra.

But sharing the family friendly, uplifting story with all its award-winning music, humor and drama is worth the effort.

“It’s timeless and never going to go away,” Otwell said. “It’s so traditional and teaches good values.”

Drama instructor Janet Henke chose the “mostly true” musical, the final collaboration between Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Hammerstein died months after the Broadway premiere and never saw the Academy Award-winning film. Though set in Austria during the Nazi era, Henke said the story has captivated generations beyond World War II because of its themes, “hope and love.”

“The Sound of Music” comes to Oak Ridge High School Performing Arts Center, 1120 Harvard Way in El Dorado Hills, Nov. 7-17. Showtimes are 7 p.m. on Nov. 7-9 and Nov. 14-16 and 2 p.m. on Nov. 9, 10, 16 and 17.

Tickets are $15 general admission, $12 for students and seniors, $10 for students with ASB card and children 12 and younger as well as per person in groups of 10 or more.

Reserve tickets by calling 916-390-3727 or visiting brownpapertickets.com. Tickets are also available at the door though Henke said she expects shows to sell out prior to the start of the performances.

Maria Rainer (Jillian Curry), Mother Abbess (Shelby Otwell), Sister Berte, Mistress of Novices (Lauren Wandell), Sister Margaretta, Mistress of Postulants (Alanna Underwood), Sister Sophia (Cassie Campanello), Captain Georg von Trapp (Taylor Presnall), Franz (Garrett Underwood), Frau Schmidt, the housekeeper (Kayla Fischer), Liesl, age 16 (Isabella Fay), Friedrich, age 14 (Ethan Gomez), Louisa, age 13 (Delaney Kelleher), Kurt, age 10 (Kaden Call), Brigitta, age 9 (Adele Gargiulo), Marta, age 7 (Natalie Broadbent), Gretl, the youngest (Hannah Spears), Rolf Gruber, age 17 (Jonathan Conrad), Elsa Schraeder (Cynthia Mouzis), Max Detweiler (Ryan Van Overeem), Herr Zeller (Austin Daly), Baron Elberfeld (Matt Kozak), Admiral von Schareiber (Sean Kauffmann), A New Postulant (Brooke Martinez), Nuns (Aileen Baretto, Sahara Boparai, Madison Hamilton, Kendall Hoy, Jessyka Mitchell, Madison Nelson, Lauren Perez, Madison Reischel, Sarah Shelnutt), The Saegerbund of Herwegen (Madison Ganas, Jessie Rhinehart, Brooke Martinez), Fraulein Schweiger (Emily Rose Whiting) and Neighbors of Captain Von Trapp (Madison Ganas, Jessie Rhinehart, Keith Walisa, Andre Henry).

Director, Janet Henke; Assistant Director, Amber Otwell; Music Director (orchestration and vocal), Shaun Manley; and Choreographer, Quintin Casl.

Pit orchestra
Piano/conductor, Shaun Manley; violins, Aileen Barretto, Lindsay Draper, Robyn Spears; viola, Chloe Abbasi; bass, Kene Fox; flute, Michael Otwell; and percussion, Tom Broadbent.

Noel Stack


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