Stowe Reporter - Online
April 26, 2012

The Hyde Park Opera House was alive with the “Sound of Music” last weekend, as nearly a hundred actors vied for roles in the beloved Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.

They belted out lyrics from “My Favorite Things,” demonstrated their dance abilities by performing a waltz, and performed scenes to show off their stage presence.

The Lamoille County Players produced the show for 27 consecutive summers, from 1976 to 2003. The show went on hiatus nine years ago when no actress suitable to play the role of Maria could be found.

The Players decided to bring back the play this summer to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Opera House — it was completed in 1912 — and the 60th anniversary of the Players — formed in 1952.

The show will run July 19-29.

The musical has special significance in Lamoille County. It tells the story of the von Trapp family's escape from Austria shortly before its annexation by Germany in 1938.

The family's patriarch, Capt. Georg Ludwig von Trapp, eventually landed in Stowe with his wife, Maria, and their children. They formed the Trapp Family Singers and later opened Trapp Family Lodge. Today, the lodge is operated by Johannes von Trapp, the only son of Georg and Maria.

A Richards Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein musical based on the family's story debuted on Broadway in 1959; Julia Andrews starred as Maria in a 1965 film version.

While Georg von Trapp's children have complained that the musical inaccurately portrays him as a harsh disciplinarian, several of his descendants have appeared in the Players' productions over the years.

One year, Elisabeth von Trapp played her grandmother, Maria. Her appearance generated national attention for the show.

‘Talent was amazing'

No von Trapps showed up at the auditions last weekend. But more than 40 children tried out to play the seven von Trapp children and a handful of walk-on roles.

“I had anticipated 30,” said Frank Weston, the show's director. “The talent was amazing. I could cast the show three times over.”

Choosing the cast will be difficult, and making phone calls to the children who didn't get parts will be even harder, said Kelly Daige, co-music director.

What do organizers look for in child actors, beyond simple talent?

“They have to have a level of maturity and they have to be focused,” Daige said. “They have to want to be here. It can't just be their parents desiring to see them on stage.”

Daige has played in the orchestra pit for a dozen Lamoille County Players' “Sound of Music” productions and has played the role of a nun in three shows.

Dan Martin was among the adults who auditioned Sunday. He's well acquainted with every “Sound of Music” tune and character. In 1983, he played the role of Rolf, Liesl's boyfriend.

This time, he auditioned for the role of the captain. His daughter auditioned to play one of the von Trapp children.

“With the 60th anniversary (of the Players), I thought it would be neat to try out again,” Martin said.


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