The Rogue Valley soon will be alive with "The Sound of Music." The warmhearted musical with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse tells the story of Maria Rainer, a joyous, rebellious postulate who becomes governess to seven children of a widower and retired naval captain named Georg von Trapp.
When Maria offers the children unconditional affection as she teaches them to sing, she and the captain fall in love and marry. But soon, the family is forced to flee from Nazis who have annexed their homeland of Austria.
The show previews Wednesday and Thursday, March 13-14, opens Friday, March 15, and runs through April 14, at Camelot Theatre, 101 Talent Ave., Talent. The March 13 preview is a fundraiser for the Oregon Youth Symphony; tickets cost $12. A pay-what-you-can performance will be Wednesday, March 20. Performances are set for 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets cost $25, $23 for seniors and students (except Sunday matinees).
" 'The Sound of Music' was the first film I saw on a big screen, and it had such an impact on me as a child," says Roy Von Rains Jr., who directs the Camelot production. "It made me believe that love can conquer all things and that it's OK to break into song in the middle of your day-to-day life to express yourself when mere words won't do."
"The Sound of Music" is based on an autobiographical book, "The Story of the Trapp Family Singers," by Maria von Trapp. After their escape from Nazi-controlled Austria, the singing family made it to America, toured extensively around the world and ultimately owned a ski lodge in Vermont. She died in 1987.
Producers Leland Hayward and Richard Halliday commissioned Lindsay and Crouse to write the play as a drama. The project soon evolved into a full musical production with music and lyrics by Broadway team Rodgers and Hammerstein.
"The Sound of Music" opened in November 1959 and won multiple Tony Awards, including a tie for the year's best musical, with Mary Martin winning best actress. The play went on to run for 1,443 performances. It was revived on Broadway in 1998 and has been produced around the world.
The movie version starring Julie Andrews was released in 1965. The film won five Academy Awards, including best picture.
"We are doing the original stage version," says Camelot Artistic Director Livia Genise. "There are some songs that will come as a surprise if you've only seen the movie."
Rose Passione stars as the exuberant Maria. Don Matthews plays Capt. Georg von Trapp. The von Trapp children are played by Julia Holden-Hunkins, Karl Moeglein, Lauren Green, Preston Mead, Holly Ragsdale, Annika Larson and Jordon Trunnell.
All but two of the children's and young-adults' roles will be played by graduates of Camelot's Conservatory Program.
Musical direction is by Mark Reppert, and choreography is by Rebecca K. Campbell.
Tickets may be purchased at the Camelot box office, 101 Talent. Ave., and www.camelottheatre.org or by calling 541-535-5250.