TUTS Gives the Gift That Keeps on Singing
If, as journalists are invariably taught, names make news… And if, as another day’s lesson would have it, all news (like all politics) is local… then Theatre Under The Stars has one name-filled, news-happy production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music running Dec. 8-20 at the Hobby Center.
In terms of Houston singers and actors, it’s a veritable Who’s Who.
Familiar to the TUTS stage, Kim Huber portrays Maria, the character made famous by Julie Andrews in the 1965 Oscar-winning movie. TUTS patrons may remember Huber in her role as Belle in the Beauty And The Beast and Cinderella in Into The Woods. Huber’s Broadway credits include Disney’s Beauty And The Beast (Belle and National Tour), Sunset Blvd, and Marie Christine. Opposite Huber in the role of Baron Von Trapp is George Dvorsky who returns to TUTS after starring in A Wonderful Life (2007), 110 In The Shade (2006), Anything Goes (2005,1989) and Brigadoon (2004, 1993) He most recently starred at the Hobby Center as Baron Bomburst in the national tour of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
In the role of Mother Abbess is 14-show TUTS veteran, Susan Shofner, who has been seen in Disney’s When You Wish, A Wonderful Life, Anything Goes, and Beauty And The Beast. Shofner’s National Tour credits include The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and On the Twentieth Century. Houston native, Doris Davis plays Elsa Schraeder and is happily returning to TUTS after performing in Into The Woods with Leslie Uggams (2000). Max Detweiler is played by Ilich Guardiola, who appeared in TUTS’ production of Zorro.
Rounding out the cast are Steve Bullitt as Franz, Al Bundonis as Herr Zeller, Kevin Cooney as Oberst Von Scheriber, Ryan Kennedy as Rolf, Theresa Nelson as Frau Schmidt and Misty Robertson as Fraulein Schwieger. Ensemble includes Vanessa Ballam, Monica Brown, Sam Brown, Ivy Castle, Marybelle Chaney, Tiffany Chen, Kayleen Clements, Lisa E. Harris, Marcie Henderson, John “JJ” Johnston, Richard Keck, Kristina Kee, Susan O. Koozin, Julia Laskowski, Phillip Lehl, Nicole Marosis, Sofia Mendez, Crystal O’brien, Adam Pena, Jim Shaffer, Corby Sullivan, Jay Tribble, and Jennie Welch.
This energetic cast features a host of new faces and a long line of local talent including the roles of the seven von Trapp children, all of whom are played by students at the Humphreys School of Musical Theatre (HSMT). A recent HSMT graduate, 20-year-old Jessica Ferguson is the eldest von Trapp daughter, Liesl, followed by Ryne Nardecchia in the role of Friedrich, Caroline Taylor as Louisa, Ian Tonroy as Kurt, Gabby Gillespie as Brigitta, Aiden Snasdell as Marta and Mandy Miller as Gretl.
The local teen ensemble includes Brooke Humphrey, Drew Jones, Jonathan Luna, Haley Landers, Sydney Roberts, and Charity Van Tassel while the local children’s ensemble includes Mallory Bechtel, Sydney Crofton, Carson Introligator, Austin Karkowsky, Sam Linda, Doreen Litvak, and Libby Malone
The Sound of Music creative team includes TUTS’ own Roy Hamlin as director, and Shay Rodgers as choreographer, a team who recently worked together on the Southwest regional premiere of 13 The Musical.
The final musical written by Rodgers and Hammerstein, The Sound Of Music is based on the 1949 memoir of Maria von Trapp, “The True Story Of The Trapp Family Singers,” which follows the Trapp family as they leave Austria to escape Nazi persecution. The immortal film version of the musical, starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, was released in 1965. Winner of five Oscars, including Best Picture, this show is one of only four movie/musicals which also won Broadway’s Best Musical Tony Award. Cherished songs include “Edelweiss,” “The Sound of Music,” “Lonely Goatherd,” “Do Re Mi,” and “Sixteen Going on Seventeen.”
In celebration of The Sound of Music, Theatre Under The Stars offers a number of special events and opportunities.
The Sound of Music on the Big Screen: Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009 – View a rare 35 mm screening of the movie at the Angelika Film Center! Begins at 7:00 p.m. The Sound Of Music sing-a-long offers something special in the shape of interactive prop-bags (a’la The Rocky Horror Picture Show) for audience participation. Viewers will have confetti party-poppers for the climactic first kiss between Maria and Captain Von Trapp and a souvenir invitation to the Captain’s Ball among other novel and interactive items.
“Dashing Duds, Discounts & Drinks, these are a few of my favorite things!” Shop-for-a-cause, Thursday, December 3 at Duo from 6 – 9 p.m. in celebration of TUTS’ The Sound of Music. Guests enjoy complimentary beverages, music from DJ Falcon Valdez and a medley of songs from The Sound of Music. A portion of the evening’s proceeds (25%) benefits Theatre Under The Stars! Hosted by Duo, UP @ TUTS (TUTS’ Young Professionals group) and OUT @ TUTS (TUTS’ GLBT social group). Dinner & Theatre Package: Wednesday, Dec. 9 and 16 at Lancaster Hotel. These packages are available online only at TUTS.com. First Thursday Cabaret: Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009. A post-show event with OUT@TUTS (our GLBT friends) at Artista Restaurant.
Have Breakfast with Santa at the Downtown Aquarium: Saturdays Dec. 12 and 19. Featuring a scrumptious breakfast buffet, watch as Scuba Santa spreads his holiday cheer and meet other mascots from the Downtown Aquarium. Musical selection performed by the Von Trapp kids. Enjoy a full day pass to the Aquarium adventure exhibit featuring exciting exhibits such as the white tigers and the shark voyage.
Tickets (starting at $24) are available on-line at TUTS.com, by phone at (713) 558-8887, outside the Houston area at (888) 558-3882, or in person at the Theatre Under The Stars Box Office, (800 Bagby at Walker, Mon-Fri 10a.m.-6p.m, Sat-Sun 11a.m.-4p.m.) An audio described performance is available Sunday, December 20, 2009 at 2 p.m.; open captioning Sunday, December 20, 2009 at 7:30p.m. The Hobby Center is wheelchair accessible. Discounts are available for groups of 15 or more and may be purchased by calling (713) 558-8888 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.