Thursday, December 14, 2017
News Roundup

Classic musical 'The Sound of Music' takes stage in Tarpon Springs

TARPON SPRINGS

My day in the hills

Has come to an end, I know.

A star has come out

To tell me it's time to go.

But deep in the dark green shadows,

There are voices that urge me to stay…

The hills are alive with the sound of music …

Those poignant lyrics from The Sound of Music were penned by the dying Oscar Hammerstein II, the writing partner of composer Richard Rodgers.

Which begs the question: Was Hammerstein telegraphing thoughts about his death and musical legacy to his audience?

"It's impossible for me to believe that he wasn't leaving us a personal message," said Constantine Grame, the musical director for the Gilbert and Sullivan Players, the troupe presenting the production tonight through Sunday at the Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center. "I think it says wonderful things about his character, that he knew he was dying yet could write bright optimistic pieces of theater."

Indeed. In addition to the stirring title song, the show features a wealth of uplifting American theater classics like My Favorite Things, Climb Ev'ry Mountain, Do-Re-Mi, Sixteen Going on Seventeen, and the yodel, The Lonely Goatherd.

Interestingly, the last song Hammerstein would write, Edelweiss, is a farewell song to the family's homeland; the last word is "forever."

The lyricist would succumb to stomach cancer nine months after the musical opened on Broadway in 1959. But before he died, The Sound of Music would win the 1960 Tony Award for Best Musical. After his death, it would be made into the 1965 Academy Award-winning film starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.

The enchanting musical is based on the true story of Austria's von Trapp family.

It's 1938 and Hitler's Germany is on the brink of annexing Austria. Meanwhile, the nuns at the Nonnberg Abbey are wondering what to do with a sweet and spirited postulant named Maria who isn't suited for nunhood.

They send her off to be governess of Captain von Trapp's seven children. Maria's bright disposition and love of music soon wins them over. Eventually she softens up the widowed captain as well and the two are wed. But their new marriage is interrupted by the Nazi invasion of their homeland and they must figure out a way to escape.

"The wonderful thing about putting on a major musical like this, said director Jamie Bierchen, "is that tons and tons of people turn out for auditions."

The disadvantages?

"The characters are so iconic. If you are Maria or the captain, everyone is going to be comparing you to Julie Andrews or Christopher Plummer."

It is often said that life imitates art. Well, life has prepared Taryn Lumia, 29, for the role of Maria. The classically trained singer with a master's in music performance has performed in a variety of Tampa Bay venues and in a music festival in Europe. She currently teaches music at a private catholic school.

And Matthew Ruley, 53, seems well suited for his part as the captain. He performed several different roles in the show during a tour in Southeast Asia back in the early 1990s.

No stranger to the Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center, he and his wife and two children, "The Ruley Family Singers," will put on a show about life, love, family and food on July 26.

The von Trapp children — actors Brianna Filippelli, Marco Camuzzi, Madison Abernathy, Andrew Larsen, Summer Vaughan, Claire King and Chloe Scargle — might just break the cute-o-meter.

Costume maker Mickey Bronson has been sewing like crazy, creating all the costumes for the leads plus eight costume changes for the seven children. She also made 16 nun habits for the show.

Grame said when it comes to comparisons this troupe will measure up.

"Our cast is fabulous. They are playing roles in ways that do them justice."

Comments
2017: What Google says we looked up the most (hint: it’s largely everything that was terrible about this year)

2017: What Google says we looked up the most (hint: it’s largely everything that was terrible about this year)

There may have been more than a few times this year, under deep sighs and harsh breaths, when you asked yourself: "Seriously, 2017?"This year took on its own persona, much like 2016 did before it. It became a scapegoat in some ways: Something so terr...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Poll: Most Americans say 'Merry Christmas' and prefer Rudolph over Charlie Brown

Poll: Most Americans say 'Merry Christmas' and prefer Rudolph over Charlie Brown

The Monmouth University Polling institute released the results of their Christmas poll today.
Updated: 1 hour ago
Jones: If you were Jon Gruden, what would you do?

Jones: If you were Jon Gruden, what would you do?

What would you do?If you were Jon Gruden, what would you do?Well, you could go to Hooter’s and order a pitcher of beer and dozen wings. Then, Monday, you could go be inducted into the Bucs’ Ring of Honor.I’m talking about after that.Would you stay i...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Social worker fired from Bay Pines calls it retaliation for complaints of harassment

Social worker fired from Bay Pines calls it retaliation for complaints of harassment

Chalea Weekes fumes each time she sees another entertainer, politician or public figure stand accused of sexual harassment.Fired from her job in the social work department at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System, Weekes says in federal complaints that ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rick and Tom podcast: Dirk Koetter, Evan Longoria, Stanley Cup and more

Rick and Tom podcast: Dirk Koetter, Evan Longoria, Stanley Cup and more

In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones answer a lightning round of questions. Will Dirk Koetter be the Bucs’ coach next year? Where will Evan Longoria be on Opening Day? Will the Lightning win the Stanley Cup? Who will be better next year...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Florida Missing Child Alert canceled for Jacksonville boy, 2

Florida Missing Child Alert canceled for Jacksonville boy, 2

A Jacksonville boy, 2, who was reported missing early Thursday morning, has been found safe.A Florida Missing Child Alert has been canceled for Legend Jones, who had last been seen in the 1900 block of Fouraker Road in Jacksonville, according to the ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Be ready for busy roads and airports: 5.6 million Floridians to travel for the holidays

Be ready for busy roads and airports: 5.6 million Floridians to travel for the holidays

A record-breaking number of Americans are expected to travel during the holiday season next week, according to a AAA report released Thursday.The travel company projects 107.3 million Americans will pack their bags and leave their homes between Dec. ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Here’s who’ll benefit, and who might not, if net neutrality is repealed as expected

Here’s who’ll benefit, and who might not, if net neutrality is repealed as expected

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission is expected to repeal net neutrality rules Thursday, a move that will likely have major implications for internet service providers, startups and consumers.The hotly contested move centers on a set o...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Tampa chamber of commerce evolves to take on more policy challenges

Tampa chamber of commerce evolves to take on more policy challenges

TAMPA — A couple of the ways the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce has changed — evolved, really — will be on view today at the organization’s 132nd annual meeting at the Tampa Convention Center.But first, recall what the chamber used to be."A coffee...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Disney buying large part of 21st Century Fox in $52.4 billion deal

Disney buying large part of 21st Century Fox in $52.4 billion deal

NEW YORK — Disney is buying a large part of the Murdoch family’s 21st Century Fox for about $52.4 billion in stock, including film and television studios and cable and international TV businesses, as it tries to meet competition from technology compa...
Updated: 3 hours ago