The hills are alive with the sound of music at Tunkhannock Area High School.
This weekend, the theatre department puts on its spring production of ‘The Sound of Music’ with three shows: Friday, May 10 and Saturday, May 11 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, May 12 at 2 p.m.
The musical follows Maria Rainer, a postulant from Nonnberg Abbey in Salzburg, Austria, who becomes a governess in the home of Navy Captain Georg von Trapp, a widowed father of seven, just before the beginning of World War II.
Maria renews the family’s love for music as a romance builds between her and the captain, who opposes Nazi Germany and the impending annexation of Austria into the Third Reich.
Director Jeremy Kemmerer said the majority of people are likely familiar with ‘The Sound of Music,’ at least from the 1965 film starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.
This weekend, audiences could expect to hear classic songs such as ‘Maria,’ ‘My Favorite Things’ and ‘Do-Re-Mi’ in addition to seeing the well-known story based on the real von Trapp family play out on stage.
“It’s such an iconic piece of art. The audiences should expect to see this classic story that they are familiar with,” Kemmerer said. “However, if people have never previously seen a live production, they may be surprised at some of the changes that were made for the film.”
Some of the songs were written in a different order for the film, he said, and the stage show features two songs that were actually cut from the film.
By the closing performance, Tunkhannock Area students will have invested 12 weeks of work into the musical.
“Our students here at TAHS are an exciting group who wants to tell a good story, and they are working hard to do so,” he said. “The cast is a great mix of students ranging from 12th grade all the way down to first.”
This year’s cast is as follows: Jordana Bach as Maria, Peter Sayre as Captain von Trapp, Breezy Corker as Mother Abbess, Amanda Rushworth as Sister Margaretta, Rachel Kenia as Sister Berthe, Charisma Fell as Sister Sophia, Mykael Harvey as Uncle Max, Sarah Chapla as Elsa Schrader, Nathan Johnson as Rolf, Krista Dieffenbach as Liesl, Marcus Binner as Friedrich, Molly Keiser as Louisa, Patrick Kilker Brigitta as Kurt, Sarah DeMarco as Marta, Leah DeMarco as Gretl, Eden Kemmerer as Frau Schmidt, Rosalee Culver as Franz, Daniel Sayre as Ursula, Gigi MacDonald as Scotti, Ethan Sickler as Herr Zeller, Lorelai Paxton as Frau Zeller, Lane Repsher as Baron Elberfeld, Kira Cornell as Baroness Elberfeld, Dennis Gilson as Admiral von Schreiber, Sophia Mancuso as New Postulant, Lane Repsher, Kira Cornell and Kendra Brosius as Festival Trio and Lorelai Paxton as Fraulein Schweiger.
The Nuns’ Chorus features Kendra Brosius, Breezy Corker, Kira Cornell, Rosalee Culver, Charisma Fell, Tara Kasperowski, Jillian Kemmerer, Rachel Kenia, Gigi MacDonald-Scotti, Sophia Mancuso, Hannah Merkh, Lorelai Paxton, Emily Poole, Grace Richter, Amanda Rushwort and Hannah Zalewski.
The partygoers are Kendra Brosius, Sophia Mancuso, Emily Poole, Vanessa Purcell, Grace Richter, Amanda Rushworth and Ashley Roberts.
Bach, a senior who has performed in nine TAHS productions throughout her high school career, said her character Maria has a wild spirit and a great passion for music.
“Her restless spirit is what kind of gets her in trouble in the abbey,” she said. “Her character is just constantly rediscovering herself.”
Sayre, a senior who plays Captain von Trapp, got his start in TA theatre last fall with the play ‘Twelve Angry Men.’
When Captain von Trapp’s wife tragically dies, it leaves him emotionally scarred, thus straining his relationship with his seven children.
“It wasn’t until Maria comes to take care of his children, ultimately they end up falling in love, that he rediscovers not only his love for children, but you can say his emotions,” Sayre said.
Bach said ‘The Sound of Music’ is her favorite TA production.
“It’s really easy to get lost in the music because they’re such fun and uplifting songs,” she said.
For Sayre, the progression of the characters in the musical stands out.
“You see the dynamic between the captain and Maria change so drastically from the beginning to the end,” he said.
While ‘The Sound of Music’ has faced criticism for being “too saccharine or unrealistic,” Kemmerer believes the opposite. To him, it serves as a reminder of the importance of family, love and human dignity.
“Despite true and horrible evils in the world at the time (the Holocaust), the profound joy of family, kindness and love, and, of course, the power of music, can bring great peace, satisfaction and meaning,” Kemmerer said.
Tickets are available at the door for $8 each. For presale tickets, visit www.showtix4u.com and type “Tunkhannock” into the search bar. Click on the performance of your choice and follow the instructions.