DATE: March 8, 2019
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
Sound of Music Bursts Upon the Western Albemarle Stage March 14-16 With a Classic Connection to Lifetime Memories and a Message That Has Not Lost Its Relevancy
(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – An American theater classic that has inspired audiences all over the world comes alive beginning March 14 on the Western Albemarle High School stage. The school’s spring musical has the distinction of winning Broadway’s vaunted Tony Award for Best Musical, not only for the original production, but for its revival, and it won a Best Picture Oscar in 1965.
Sound of Music is one of those rare jewels of the American theater that includes at least one song that is a favorite of international audiences of all ages, from
My Favorite Things,
Climb Ev’ry Mountain,
Edelweiss, or to the title song itself.
In addition to its fast-paced entertainment and the infectious enthusiasm of its players, the story offers a serious message, especially relevant to current events. “It teaches us about the power that comes from having an incredibly strong faith in one another during a time when people were being victimized because of their race or ethnicity,” said Caitlin Pitts, the school’s drama director.
The story is set in Austria prior to the Nazi annexation of the country into Nazi Germany. The male lead, Captain von Trapp, a widower, receives orders of commission into the German navy. Opposed to the Nazi regime, he prepares to flee the country with his seven children and his governess, Maria. He and Maria later marry.
“We paid particular attention to the historical setting. We had several discussions during rehearsals of its significance and a moving lesson from one of our history teachers on the Nazi regime in Austria,” Pitts said, adding that it was important to accurately depict the symbols of the Nazi regime, which is why, in the play, swastikas are depicted on the SS officers’ armbands.
“These symbols accurately represent history. They help us to remember the most terrible hatred and episodes of that period. While swastikas are chilling in any setting, within the context of this play, they remind us of the ultimate triumph of good over evil that often results from acts of courage and determination,” Pitts explained.
Sound of Music is based on the real-life Maria von Trapp’s memoir. The show was the final collaboration of the legendary musical writing team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. Over the careers, the team earned 34 Tony Awards, 15 Academy Awards, and the Pulitzer Prize.
There is a dress rehearsal to benefit the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, March 14, at 7 p.m. The show formally opens on Friday night, March 15, also at 7 p.m. Saturday performances include a matinee at 2 p.m. and an evening show at 7:30.
Tickets in advance are $6 for students and senior citizens and $12 for adults. Tickets at the door are $8 for students and seniors and $14 for adults. Tickets can be purchased online at:
In total, 110 students are involved in the production and staging of the musical, and the cast includes elementary and middle school students who play the roles of the von Trapp children.
“I am so proud of all of these incredibly talented young men and women,” said Pitts. “They deliver moving performances that are lively and fun and also sobering. They epitomize the very best of what we have to offer to our community. No one will leave the theater without having their mood uplifted,” she added.