Fleetwood Community Theatre stages Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music” at the pavilion of the Evergreen German Club on June 25, 26 and 27.
Based on the 1949 memoir of Maria von Trapp, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers and set in Austria on the eve of the Anschluss in 1938, the musical – which originally opened on Broadway in 1959 and won five Tony Awards and later opened in London in 1961 – tells the story of Maria, a governess to a large family while deciding on whether to become a nun. She falls in love with the children, and eventually their widowed father, Captain Georg vonTrapp who is ordered to accept a commission in the German navy. Opposing the Nazis, they flee Austria. The Sound of Music was adapted as a 1965 film musical starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer and won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. (credit: Wikipedia)
Fleetwood Community Theatre’s show is as rich in history as it is with music. The Nun Choir starts the evening with hymns that lead to the title song, “The Sound of Music,” featuring Emilee Cooper (Antietam) as the lovely Maria Rainer. Cooper’s vocals are beautiful and strong as she teaches the children how to sing during “Do, Re, Mi” and she gets quite a workout during “The Lonely Goatherd.”
The VonTrapp children include Megan Carney (Boyertown) as blossoming Liesl, Emilio Serio (Fleetwood) as the dramatic Friedrich, Alyssa Bridges (Kutztown) as mischievous Louisa, Mia Sanders (Fleetwood) as brazen Brigitta, Joshua Bridges (Kutztown) as the quiet Kurt, Lily Smith (Fleetwood) is the demur Marta, and Alivia Lynch (Oley) as sweet Gretl. They blend so beautifully in song you would think they’ve been singing together for years rather than weeks.
A very traditional “So Long, Farewell” by the vonTrapp children is accented by a small children’s ensemble playing as the Glockenspiel. The sextet (Conner Haas, Melora Kraemer, Madison Brown, Maddie Hillman, Autumn Tenney, and Ella Bednarik) show up in various parts of the evening, and are quite delightful to watch.
Carney gets to her moment in “16 Going on 17” a duet with Evan Watkins (Fleetwood) who plays the impetuous Rolf. Harkening back to a time long gone, when women waited to be taken care of by their husbands, it is a reminder of how times have truly changed. Carney and Watkins dance a lovely ballet at the end of the song.
While several new faces appear on stage with Fleetwood Community Theatre, several regulars provide their talents to this production as well.
LeAnne Zettlemoyer (Kempton) plays the very rich Elsa Schrader and Jim Hoffmann (Alburtis) is Max Detweiler. They perform two songs only heard in the stage musical – not in the movie – and are quite a duo on stage.
A new comer to the group is W. Christian Buss (Macungie) as Captain Georg vonTrapp. Buss has a rich warm baritone and brings a tear to your eye with the heartfelt “Edelweiss.”
Playing Mother Abbess is the amazing Cathy Leibensperger (Hamburg). Leibensperger, a professional opera singer, has appeared in three other productions of “Sound of Music,” the previous time in 1987 with Rabbit Run Theatre in Ohio as Maria. You might remember her as Widow Corney in FCT’s “Oliver!,” or as Miss Andrew in their “Mary Poppins.” She is the perfect soprano for “Climb Every Mountain.”
Completing the cast are Katie DeCario, Brenda Early, Darice Hoffmann, Leah Zettlemoyer, and Peyton Polanco as the Sisters of the Abby, and Kenneth Dreistadt as Franz the Butler. Director Tara Sands, Music Director Matthew W. Hayes, and Choreographer Darice Hoffmann developed a great evening of music and entertainment.
Performances will be under the pavilion at the Evergreen German Club, 415 Hartz Road, Fleetwood, on June 25 and June 26 both at 7 p.m. The Sunday Matinee on June 27 is at 3 p.m. Tickets are on sale via www.fleetwoodcommunitytheatre.com/tickets at $12 for adults, $10 for students (kindergarten to 12th grade) and children (4 and under) $1.
A not-for-profit 501(c)(3) volunteer organization of theatre lovers in their 33rd season, Fleetwood Community Theatre is committed to the education and development of their membership within the theatre arts program by offering opportunities to all ages both on-stage and behind the scenes. As an outlet of quality musical, dramatic and ensemble productions, it encourages and supports local youth to pursue performing arts opportunities through school, church, collegiate or other local productions.