Pleasanton Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - July 15, 2011

Tri-Valley Rep to present 'The Sound of Music'

Director hopes more young people will discover the joys of live theater

by Priyanka Mody

How do you solve a problem like Maria? Perhaps there is no solution as time and time again, audiences find themselves humming along to the 52-year-old score of the classic, "The Sound of Music."

Next Friday, the Tri Valley Repertory Theatre will debut its rendition of the much-celebrated musical under the direction of Daren A.C. Carollo, which will run for three weekends.

Although this show is Carollo's 45th production, it is the first time he is directing a musical by the renowned Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. One of the challenges he hopes to overcome is finding the balance between incorporating his own style and staying true to what the audience wants.

"It's an interesting dynamic, while you're trying to please people, but still tell (the story) how you think it should be told," Carollo said.

A riveting tale of family, separation and love, "The Sound of Music" tells the story of Maria, whose free-spirited personality and affection for singing fail to fit the conservative principles of the convent where she is a postulant. Sent to serve instead as the governess of the seven children of widowed naval Captain von Trapp, Maria must adapt to a new lifestyle.

Over time, Maria and the children form a bond, and their friendship plus her lively disposition win the heart of the captain, and the two are married. However, it is on the brink of World War II, and the von Trapps are threatened by the Nazis, who have invaded Austria. The family is forced to sneak out of the country and seek refuge in Switzerland.

Carollo focuses on the idea that with loss comes opportunity, and he hopes to convey the importance of family throughout the musical. While the loss of the children's mother changes the relationship between them and their father, Maria's effervescent nature and sensitivity fill the void to repair it.

"My production is speaking to how you have to be true to family and the core values of love and respect and honor," Carollo said. "In great times of loss, it's time to step up to the plate and do more for your family."

Although the theater group expects to attract audience members who are die-heart "Sound of Music" fans and "can hum and sing every song along with the actors," one of the goals of choosing this musical was to invite a greater number of youths to the live theater scene. More than anything, Carollo said he hopes to show them the difference between viewing a film on screen and a production on stage.

"The real key for me is to get new people into the theater to understand that they are witnessing something that no other audience will witness," he said. "Every performance is in and of itself a unique performance."

Vocal direction will be by Sean Kana Aloise, choreography by Todd Aragon, produced by Kathleen Breedveld, musical direction by JoAnn Fosselman, costumes by Lisa Danz.

The cast includes Marisa Cozart as Maria; Steve Rhyne as Captain von Trapp; Pamela Hicks-Gailey as Mother Abbess; and Zachary Thompson, Jillian Jameson, Steven Sloan, Meaghan Wottrich, Izzy Shepard, Max DeSantis, Claire Shepard, Emily Joy Kessel, Jeff Seaberg, Suzy Shepard, Jennifer Weiner, Lauren McNutt, Diella Wottrich, Alan Wiltse, Jaime Wallace, Kurt Hornbacker, Linda Davis, Brian Olkowski, John Muldoon, Steven McCloud, Martha McDowell, Martie Muldoon, DJ Richardson, Ashley Forney, Chloe Medeiros, Alaina Campbell, Emily Serdahl, Rosie Tyler, Maren Haws, Kelsey Kornhaus, Diane Ratto, Namratha Somayajula and Peggy Stratton.

Opening next week

What: "The Sound of Music"

Who: Tri Valley Repertory Theatre

When: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays, July 22-Aug. 7

Where: Bankhead Theater, 2400 First St., Livermore

Tickets: Call 373-6800 or visit www.livermoreperformingarts.org/bankheadtheater.

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