How can something so familiar be so fresh and full of delightful surprises?
That’s the magic of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ageless musical, “Sound of Music,” as presented by Pasadena Little Theater. Basically, it’s the story … real people, real events filled with the emotions known to everyone … innocence and fear, confusion and human need, beauty and darkness… but always couched in the healing power of music and love.
In my opinion, one of the best decisions ever made by the ‘powers that be’ at PLT was surveying theatergoers for audience favorites as they planned for their 60th season. Without a doubt, acting on those survey results has accounted for more sold-out productions than ever before! Crowning that season with “Sound of Music” was the proverbial stroke of genius, and Director Jeff Coletta and his amazing cast and crew put the icing on the cake.
Super talented vocals, backed up by the incredible skill and energy of Music Director Phyllis Harris at piano and organ (aided by Randy Wuensche on guitar), blended flawlessly to deliver individual and group performances.
Pasadena Little Theatre Welcomes New Actors
Blessed by the addition of many newcomers to the PLT stage and the return of stalwart and beloved ‘regulars’ like Katie Reed and Bob Peeples, Director Coletta collected the ‘dream cast.’ Outstanding as stern-but-softening Captain von Trapp is Jim Wyatt, joined by gifted vocalist and actress Sarah Hames, as the irrepressible, loving, and lovable Maria. Sarah’s voice ranges are unbelievable! Good to look at and good to listen to is difficult to like Elsa Schraeder, played by Jana Smith. Ex-pats from Clear Creek Community Theater, Steven Sarp, and Erica Chmielewski play quirky Max Detweiler and housekeeper Frau Schmidt. Erica doubles as a singing nun, as do several other cast members: TeresaMcLemore, Amelia Reyna-Tovar, Assistant Director Chelsea LeBlanc, Connie Musler, Theresa Miles, and Light and Sound Tech Avry Diaz.
Not to be overlooked are the 7 von Trapp children: both Liesls – Luci Galloway and Julie Miles; both Louisas – Sharon Huff and Lauren Huchton; both Brigittas – Haylee Wuensche and Rachel Vondeylen; both Gretls – Isabella Maddix and Aimee Ramos; both Martas Jules Murillo and Madeline Leal; as well as the boys: Friedrich (Phillip Barrero) and both Kurts (Trace Muse and Damon Diaz). I am seldom over-enthusiastic about child actors, but this group is definitely the exception! The word here is real PROMISE. Thanks, kids, for your maturity in dedication and hard work.
“Herding all these cats” (children and adults) is Choreographer Valerie Johnson, who triumphs over it all. Rounding out this stellar group are Alex Cochrane and Greyson Chisholm, as turn-coats Rolf and Franz, as Austria falls to Nazi Germany.
‘Heavenly’ Voice opens the Show
Opening in the cloistered walls of the mountain convent in Austria with the nuns singing in the timeless Latin praises, led by the Mother Abbess (Heather Gabriel), whose voice is surely ‘heavenly’, matching her personality, as she deals with the free-spirited young postulate, Maria. By this time, the musical score is so familiar to generations of Americans (and around the world) it hardly needs to be listed, but the lasting appeal of it requires it: “The Hills Are Alive..”, “What Are We Going to Do About Maria?”, “Edelweiss”, “Doe a Deer, Re a Drop of Golden Sun” and of course, “Climb Every Mountain”. Audiences are singing these classics for weeks after the curtain closes. Thank you, Rodgers and Hammerstein, for such joy.
Watch for the opening show in PLT’s 61st season, “Goodbye, Charlie”, June 12 – 28. Call 713-941-1758 for more information.
Written by: Gloria W. Smith