Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Sound of Music Reviews

The reviews are in and The Sound of Music is a hit! If you haven't seen our production yet, come see for yourself! Both audiences and critics alike are loving the show and our talented actors who take the stage night after night to entertain Raleigh patrons.

Check out the glowing reviews here:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Sound of Music Dress Rehearsal Photos

Kate Fisher as 'Maria' sings 'Do Re Mi' with the von Trapp children

Kate Fisher as 'Maria' and Tom Galantich as 'Captain von Trapp' sing 'Edelweiss'

Captain von Trapp and Maria sing 'Something Good'

Finale scene

Kate Fisher as 'Maria' and Suzanne Ishee as 'The Mother Abbess' during 'Climb Every Mountain'

Photo Credit: Curtis Brown Photography

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Teaching Nun's Life...

This summer I have the joy of working not only as a teacher with the North Carolina Theatre’s Education Department but also as Sister Margaretta, a nun in the theatre’s production of The Sound of Music. And that is just what it is: “a joy.” I say this because not many words can describe the feeling of watching your own students grow as performers and individuals in the rehearsal and performance process of a full musical theatre production, and having the opportunity to work along side them – being then a part of that growth.

Part of this joy comes from watching the students take the ideas, philosophies and skills you have developed with them and use the skill on the stage in a major regional theatre production. Now we can reference actual moments in the classroom as well as allow the onstage experiences to reciprocate. For me, the best part of this production is seeing the students grow as individual performers – taking information and creating their own way of approaching material and creating as actors.

It is also a joy for me to experience the themes and material of The Sound of Music with the students. I see, and hopefully the students see, how theatre and music can transcend the everyday and help young artists as well as the community as a whole to touch on the artistic side of each of us. Experiencing a production such as this that focuses so much on the joy of creating art can encourage all those involved, from artist to audience, to become more creative and live their lives more fully and completely. And if all goes well we see how this translates to all those around us, fills our lives and everyone we come in contact with, with a more complete sense of self, a new way of approaching life, a fuller sense of living.

As a teacher, doing a production always teaches me. It makes me a better teacher by recharging the artistic battery and teaching me new ways of approaching material with my students. It may be new methodology of directing, working with others, and creating as a group. For the joy of teaching always is the give and take of ideas.

~Heather Patterson King, Sister Margaretta in The Sound of Music AND Program Director/Acting Department Head at the NC Theatre Conservatory

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

All About The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music opens on Saturday, and we have had some great articles written about several of our cast members and the show!

The News & Observer did a preview on the show - discussing the lead characters, auditions and the von Trapp children. (

The Cary News sat down with Mary Kate Lindsay Englehardt, who is playing 'Gretl' in the production for an inside look on what it's like to be the youngest 'von Trapp' in The Sound of Music. They also discuss her budding acting career on the TV show One Tree Hill and what she likes to do in her free time, among other things. (

The Fayetteville Observer talked with Suzanne Ishee who plays 'Mother Abbess' in the show. Originally from Fayetteville, Suzanne began her acting career as 'Liesl' in The Sound of Music in Fort Bragg before going on to play Broadway in a number of productions. ( also gave a brief overview of our version of The Sound of Music detailing show information, the cast and creative team. (

Don't forget to buy tickets to The Sound of Music, running July 25-August 2 in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium! Visit for more information.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Richard Stafford's Vision for The Sound of Music

Robert McDowell of Classical Voice of North Carolina interviews The Sound of Music director, Richard Stafford, about his work on the North Carolina Theatre production. Below he reveals that he played "Rolf" in college, how he works with seven of the Triangle's most talented youth and gives some insight on his fresh, new approach to the classic Rodgers & Hammerstein production.

1. When did you first see or read or hear about this musical? Have you ever worked on a previous production of this musical? If so, when and where?

The Sound Of Music movie was made when I was a young boy. I took a group of friends to see it for my 11th birthday. I performed the role of "Rolf" in a college production and choreographed the show at Casa Manana Theatre in Texas in the mid-90's.

2. What do you like BEST about this musical? What made you WANT to direct it?

It's a classic--after having choregraphed the musical, I've looked for opportunities to direct it as well. I was happy when this was offered to me.

3. Briefly summarize the PLOT of this musical in your own words.

Plot: A young woman brings music and love to a family separated by sadness, in doing so she finds the path her life is meant to take.

The musical begins in 1937 as Austria is on the cusp of being drawn into a World War, Maria (Kate Fisher) is preparing to become a nun in an Abbey in Austria. The Mother Abbess (Suzanne Ishee), however believes that Maria must find her true calling in life. She is sent to become the governess of 7 children at the household of Captain von Trapp (Tom Galantich) who is a joyless man after the death of his wife. Maria brings music and love, once again, to the household. But when the Captain returns to his villa with the Baroness Elsa (Christine Hunter) and Max (Vinny Genna) to find his household so changed, he finds he, too, is changed by Maria's spunk and freshness. The Captain and Maria marry. Meanwhile, Max, a talent empressario, is impressed by the musicianship of the children and enters them in a competition without the Captain's knowledge. On the Captain and Maria's return from their honeymoon they find that Austria has, indeed, changed that they must plot an escape (using the competition as a ruse) across the Alps to a new land.

4. What MAJOR CHALLENGES does staging this musical present to you as a director -- and to your cast and creative team?

By breaking The Sound Of Music down to its most basic themes--family, love, music, and war I was able to approach each scene and each relationship in a fresh manner. Each actor was chosen, after extensive auditioning, for his/her ability and talent to tell this classic story with a curious, honest way. By approaching the set design, costume design and lighting design each as an integral part of the story-telling we've been able to come together as if working on a new show. In the rehearsal process, the children were taken through extensive acting improvisations to help them approach each scenic situation with fresh eyes. Each scene with the adult actors was first discussed to find its true core before staging so as to find honest freshness in the scene.

5. Please describe the SET:

The set is a beautiful representation of an austere Abbey, and a magnificent Villa--all with the Alps as an opulent backdrop. It is made up of beautifully painted drops and scenery. A great deal of the action takes place outdoors with the Alps as an ever present reminder of the majesty of nature.

6. Please describe the LIGHTING:

The lighting will support, beautifully, the scenery and action on stage.

7. Please describe the COSTUMES:

The costumes are all period specific costumes appropriate to the story. All of the costumes have an Austria flavor.

The History of the Sound of Music

The Sound of Music has a long history - starting with the original von Trapp family, on whom the story is based. Their journey was first recorded in a memoir by Maria von Trapp, titled The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. After being adapted to a musical on Broadway by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II in 1959, it has seen numerous productions and revivals since then. Probably the most well-known adaptation of the musical is the movie version, starring Julie Andrews.

Here are a few (of the many) interesting facts about The Sound of Music:
*The Sound of Music was the final musical written by Rodgers & Hammerstein (Hammerstein died of cancer nine months after the Broadway premiere)

*The original Broadway production ran for 1,443 performances, and tied with Fiorello! for the Tony Award for Best Musical

*Mary Martin was Maria - who won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical

*The original Broadway cast album sold three million copies

*After the Broadway production, there were SEVERAL versions staged in London (1961), Australian (1961), London revival (1981), Takarazuka, Japan (1988), New York City Opera (1990), Stockholm (1993), Broadway revival (1998), Australian revival (1999), Vienna (2005), London revival (2006), Stockholm revival (2007), Salzburg Marionette Theatre (2007-2008), International productions (2008), Brazil (2009), Mexico (2009), United Kingdom Tour (2009)

*In the movie, the von Trapp family hikes over the Alps to Switzerland, but in reality, they walked to a train station where they traveled to Italy, then onto London, and from there they went to the United States

*Our production of The Sound of Music in 2003 featured the great-grandchildren of Captain Georg von Trapp - Amanda von Trapp (Marta), Justin von Trapp (Kurt), Melanie von Trapp (Brigitta) and Sofia von Trapp (Louisa)

Our latest production of The Sound of Music opens on Saturday, July 25th and runs through Sunday, August 2nd - if you haven't purchased tickets yet, there are still seats available! Visit and click on 'buy tickets' link or call Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000! We have a Family Four (or more) Pack available with 20% off ticket prices when you buy 4+ tickets to the show!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Favorite Things

I asked a few of our very own 'von Trapp children' in The Sound of Music what their favorite things were...their answers are below! They make me smile. :) What are your favorite things?

Daniel Marhelko aka Friedrich von Trapp
Ice cream
Days with no homework
My dog, Angel
Going to musicals


Trey Fitts aka Kurt von Trapp
2-3 ft waves for surfing
Maguro Nigiri Sushi
The swish sound of a 3 point shot in basketball
The feeling of a soft blanket
Finding the perfect app for my Itouch
When my face is sucked into the seat on a great roller coaster
The crack of the bat when I hit a baseball
The hug my sister gives me when I have been away for a while
The feeling of making people laugh on stage
White powdery snow on a black diamond slope


Gabby Simone aka Marta von Trapp
AJ (my dog)
mom's chicken pot pie
Miley Cyrus


Mary Kate Lindsay Englehardt aka Gretl von Trapp
Miracles and good surprises
Animals, especially dogs, horses & sugar gliders
Being with family and friends lots
Musicals and fancy dinners on Saturdays
Trips to fun places like NYC
Parties to celebrate everything
School, every subject is my favorite
Shopping and dressing up when it rains
Being outside doing anything when it is sunny
My very favorite thing is being in the cast of The Sound of Music because I will get to do what I love most...singing, dancing and acting everyday with other people like me.

Mary Kate

The hills are alive...with The Sound of Music!

Sorry I have been a bad blogger lately - lots of exciting things have been happening here! We closed Disney's High School Musical 2 at the end of June and now are in full swing with rehearsals for The Sound of Music. Five actors from New York City are a part of the cast and they join our talented local performers who make up the von Trapp children, nuns and the chorus roles! For a complete cast listing, please click here.

I have had the privilege to see some of the rehearsals this week and everything is coming together nicely. It is amazing to watch Richard Stafford (our director) work with the children and all of the actors. His attention to detail and his vision for the show is unbelievable. At first, when he gives a note of direction, I think to myself...that is such a small detail, how will that make a difference? (But, what do I know??) When the actor applies what he has given them, it really makes all the difference in the world.

I've watched a few scenes - Do-Re-Mi is my favorite so far - I can't help but sing along with them! Kate Fisher (Maria) is so talented and works very well with the kids - I can definitely see why she was cast in this leading role and is a great 'Maria' in my opinion. All of the kids seem to enjoy working with her as well!

Sunday is the designer run and that is always one of my favorite parts of the process. It is the first complete run-through of the production - with no sets, costumes, microphones, orchestra, etc. - just the actors and all that they have learned over the past week. It is also the first time all of our creative team comes together to watch the show. The Lighting Designer (Craig Stelzenmuller) and Sound Designer (Brian L. Hunt) and all of our other designers (costumes, wigs, makeup, etc.). They are furiously making notes and writing down all that they need in order to do their job the following week at our technical rehearsals - where every lighting and sound cue is set and the actors block their parts on the Raleigh Memorial stage.

Our process at North Carolina Theatre is a quick one, but we always produce a top-notch, high quality production. Stay tuned for more posts related to The Sound of Music over the next few weeks...we hope that you will come and see the show (July 25-August 2)!