The East Valley is alive not with the sound of music, but with the arrival of a real-life member of the “Sound of Music” family.
Sam von Trapp, grandson of the stern naval captain and flighty governess portrayed by Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews in the 1965 film “The Sound of Music,” is in town for the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre's production of the musical based on his family's story.
He'll throw out the first pitch in a Cubs game at 1 p.m. Friday at Hohokam Stadium, where the city manager will proclaim it “Sam von Trapp Week” in Mesa. He'll also greet audiences at weekend showings of the musical at the Broadway Palm and make a Saturday appearance at a Borders bookstore.
“It's just a great opportunity to celebrate the story and let people know that the von Trapps are real people and that people can come out to Vermont and find out more about us,” says von Trapp by cell phone as he skis a lap around his family's property before boarding a plane to Arizona.
Von Trapp, 38, is director at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vt., an inn started by his grandmother, Maria, after the family fled Austria amid rising Nazi power. They emigrated to America in 1938, where Sam's father, Johannes, one of three children the captain and Maria had together, was born.
The guest house where Maria once rented out rooms is now a luxury ski resort. Together, the von Trapps and the Broadway Palm will give away a four-night stay for two at the lodge. Entry forms are available at the theater through April 9.
“This will be only the fourth time I have traveled to see the musical in the last decade,” says von Trapp, who estimates he's seen the film only twice all the way through. “(I) used to hold it at arm's length, but now I am a fan.”
He says the lodge's history tours, a new attraction he and his sister brought to the family business, have helped him see the mass-market version of the von Trapp story in a new way.
“You would think talking about it so much would make us fed up with it, because people have been asking questions about it our whole lives. But coming back to it through the history tours, I've had the opportunity to see how so many people have been influenced by it. For me, all I can see is what a positive message it has and that it's touched millions of people,” he says.
Von Trapp returned home to work at the lodge only a few years ago. He had worked as a ski instructor in Colorado and South America and modeled for Ralph Lauren. In 2001, he was named as one of America's Top 50 Bachelors by People magazine.
“I see myself staying at the Trapp Family Lodge for the rest of my career. Our property is so beautiful, and there are still so many exciting projects to create and refine. And it's an amazing place to raise a family. (My wife and I) don't have kids yet, though. (We were) just married less than two years ago.”
As for following in his musical family's footsteps?
“I like to sing with people, but not ‘for' them. (I) am embracing singing more and more every year. I love music, was raised listening to classical music all the time. It's a big part of my life.”
“The Sound of Music” is on stage through April 9 at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre.
• Contact writer: (480) 898-6818 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet Sam von Trapp
What: Sam von Trapp, grandson of the couple portrayed by Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews in the 1965 film “The Sound of Music,” appears with the cast of the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre's production of the musical.
Where: Borders at Superstition Springs Center, 6555 W. Southern Ave., Mesa
Information: (480) 854-1952
If you go
What: See “The Sound of Music” live on stage. Sam von Trapp will greet audiences at shows scheduled March 18, 19 and 20.
When: Multiple times and days through April 9.
Where: Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, 5247 E. Brown Road, Mesa.
Cost: $22-$49 per person. Most tickets include dinner.
Information: (480) 325-6700 or broadwaypalmwest.com