Maria, played by Charity Hitchcock, comforts the frightened Von Trapp children during a storm by singing to them. Jessa Pease. (click for larger version)
The Von Trapp children perform “The Hills are Alive” for their father and the baroness (Beth Minear), right. Jessa Pease. (click for larger version)
Joel Altherr as Capt. Von Trapp, right, dances with Maria, played by Charity Hitchcock, as the couple begins to realize their feelings for one another. Jessa Pease. (click for larger version)
June 10, 2013FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Props were set, voices were warm and the curtain was ready to rise for the Cumming Playhouse's opening night of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "The Sound of Music," which runs June 6 through June 30.
"The Sound of Music" tells the story of Maria who leaves her Austrian convent to become governess to the children of a naval officer, Capt. Von Trapp.
Neva Garrett is directing "The Sound of Music" for the third time as she creates the atmosphere for the Von Trapp family story.
"I am very careful to make sure that I represent the actual story that is being told," Garrett said. "It's a true story — Maria Augusta Von Trapp wrote it. It was a difficult dynamic in some people's lives and this family just rose above it and made their decision based on character and not based on their comfort and popularity."
The relationship of the Von Trapp family and the scenes that show them in a healthy relationship, Garrett said, are her favorites in the show.
"They definitely pulled together and they definitely worked through some extremely difficult life circumstances that most of us would never have to face," Garrett said.
This show has a large cast of characters and four to five different sets that create the musical numbers and scenes of the show.
Musical Director Hannah Chapman said she has enjoyed working with the cast, and the children especially, throughout rehearsals.
"My Maria is fantastic, the captain has been great and the nuns have actually been very good," Chapman said. "Sometimes with kids, you have to convince them that they can do things, because they are quite young and they haven't found their voices yet."
Charity Hitchcock plays Maria and she also performed as Grace Farrell in the Cumming Playhouse's version of "Annie."
"It's my mom's favorite musical, so I just remember in long car rides we used to sing 'Edelweiss,'" Hitchcock said. "It's just a joy to be able to bring it to life on stage."
Hitchcock said her favorite song to perform in the show is "My Favorite Things," and she enjoys performing the wedding scene because she was recently married.
Her husband plays a Nazi in the show.
Joe Altherr brings a voice to Capt. Von Trapp. He said this experience has been exceptional because playing the role of Von Trapp really means a lot to him.
"He has such a strong character, so I enjoy playing that," Altherr said. "'Edelweiss' is such a beautiful song and it is loaded with so much meaning. He is basically thinking about how he loves his country and what is coming ahead."
After opening night, "The Sound of Music" will have performances Thursday through Sunday until June 30. Thursday through Saturday performances begin at 8 p.m. and Sunday performances begin at 2 p.m.
"It's a bonding process. You spend months together creating a piece of art," Garrett said. "I am very blessed. If I must say so myself, I put together a good cast."
Visit www.playhousecumming.com for more information.