Thursday, December 14, 2017
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Show Palace Dinner Theatre presents 'The Sound of Music'

The 1959 musical The Sound of Music has been called the most beloved Broadway musical of all time, with multiple Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Music. The 1965 Academy Award-winning movie became a box office sensation and is still a favorite on television.

When the Show Palace Dinner Theatre changed its format from variety shows to back-to-back Broadway shows in 1998, The Sound of Music was the first really big hit produced in-house, drawing thousands of patrons and becoming one of the most requested returns.

Now the theater is bringing it back, with a 27-member cast featuring longtime Show Palace favorite Susan Haldeman (Domina in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; Mrs. Meers in Thoroughly Modern Millie) as the Mother Abbess, and New York City-based singer Kelly Pekar in her Show Palace debut as Maria.

Set in 1938 Austria, The Sound of Music is based on the real-life Trapp Family Singers, who traveled to America shortly before the outbreak of World War II because of their abhorrence — and fear — of Hitler and the Nazi regime.

The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical romanticizes the story and the people and fiddles with the sequence of events, but is fairly close to what actually happened.

In it, the young Maria has left her mountain home in Vienna to enter a convent near Salzburg. It soon becomes obvious that the confines of the convent don't suit Maria, so the Mother Abbess sends her to be temporary governess to the seven children of the widower, Capt. Georg von Trapp (Brian Minyard, Frank Butler in Annie Get Your Gun), to see if she has a true religious calling.

Maria's easy-going ways are the opposite of their strict disciplinarian father. Before long, she has the formerly subdued children singing and laughing.

When the captain announces his intent to marry the socialite Elsa Schraeder (Jill Godfrey, U.S. and European tours), Maria dejectedly decides to return to the convent. But the captain soon realizes that he (and his children) need Maria. She returns, only to have the whole family face the looming war and the dangers it poses for those, like themselves, who oppose the Nazis. That's when they decide to escape as best they can, no matter the dangers.

The show is filled with songs that went on to become classics: My Favorite Things, Climb Ev'ry Mountain, Do-Re-Mi and the title song.

The show is directed by William Garon, who has traveled the world performing and directing and was recently music director of Hairspray at the Show Palace. Choreography is by Shanna Sell, who has directed nine shows at the Show Palace, including 42nd Street, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Crazy for You.

Production coordinator is Tom Hansen, who has won multiple awards for his sets in Colorado, Georgia and several theaters in Florida.

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