Lisa Nicita, Special for The Republic
March 15, 2011

Sam von Trapp, grandson to Captain and Maria von Trapp, arrives Thursday, March 17, with his wife for a five-day stay which will include a theater performance and an appearance with cast members at a local bookstore.

Recently, the Broadway Palm has been scheduling visits from personalities with ties to certain productions, and the von Trapps will make the trip from Stowe, Vt., where the family runs the Trapp Family Lodge, a sprawling ski resort and their home.

The Broadway Palm production is the same made famous by Julie Andrews when she brought Maria von Trapp to life on screen, playing the singing governess in the "The Sound of Music," released in 1965 following a Broadway production of the same name in 1959. Both were based on the book "The Story of the Trapp Family Singers" by Maria von Trapp.

The story is set during the rise of Germany's Nazi party, and shows how the Captain, his seven children and Maria evade his order to serve and escape Austria. Sam von Trapp's life begins with the movie's postscript. In real life, the Captain and Maria married and had three more children together. Sam von Trapp's father, born after the family arrived in America, was their youngest.

"I'm very proud of what my family did," von Trapp, 38, said. "I think it's amazing that my family was able to say 'no' to Hitler. What they did in leaving all their possessions behind to say 'no' to what they knew was wrong makes me very proud."

Although most people have at least heard of the musical, if not seen it, some people may not realize that the story is based on a real family and real events. The production did take some artistic license, changing names and dates and injecting a little drama (as though escaping the Nazis wasn't enough), which initially caused the family to refrain from endorsing the musical. But von Trapp said they've come around.

"The more we see how much this movie meant to people, the more it meant to us, and we connect with the movie," he said.

Rob Watson, who plays Captain von Trapp, also has a connection to the musical. The theater's current production of "The Sound of Music" is his fourth time as a cast member since high school.

He isn't nervous to perform in front of a real-life von Trapp, but as a rule, he's always a little more anxious when performing a role tied to historical events.

"It's part of his history and the legacy he grew up with," Watson said of von Trapp. "I'm excited to meet him and he seems like a really cool, down-to-earth guy."

Sam von Trapp and 'Sound of Music' cast appearance

What: Sam von Trapp, as well as cast members from Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre's "The Sound of Music," will make an appearance at Borders. Where: Borders, 6555 W. Southern Ave., Mesa. When: Noon Saturday, March 19. Details: 480-854-1952.
'The Sound of Music'

What: A production of the iconic musical, based on a book by Maria von Trapp. Where: Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, 5247 E. Brown Road, Mesa. When: Matinee and dinner show times vary through April 9. Admission: Matinees: $46, children 12 and under: $22 show only $28. Prices include dinner, show and tax. Details: broadwaypalmwest.com.

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