Highlands come alive with ‘The Sound of Music’ | AspenTimes.com

Highlands come alive with ‘The Sound of Music’

Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Staff Writer

The hills at Aspen Highlands were certainly alive with the sound of music Tuesday. Or, at least, Highlands Village was.

Despite a rainy night that forced movie lovers indoors, Highlands drew another big crowd to what has become a Tuesday night happening – outdoor movies on the lawn at the base of the ski area.

It’s not unusual to see several hundred moviegoers nestled in sleeping bags or perched in lawn chairs, munching popcorn beneath the stars, as a cinematic classic unfolds on the big screen.

This week’s feature, “The Sound of Music,” virtually guaranteed audience participation, and there was plenty. Fans of the musical couldn’t resist singing along, or hissing whenever the Baroness made an appearance.

A contingent from The Aspen Times went so far as to pack a picnic dinner, featuring crisp apple strudel and schnitzel with noodles, inspired by the lyrics of one of the movie’s best-known tunes, “My Favorite Things.”

Highlands Center took on the feel of a giant living room packed with people when inclement weather drove the event inside, delaying the 9 p.m. showtime while organizers reassembled the projection equipment. No one seemed to mind.

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The festivities also included a Julie Andrews look-alike contest. This writer was the sole contestant, winning a dinner for two at Iguana’s, the new restaurant at Highlands Village. Judging the affair was the guest of honor – Basalt resident Kristina von Trapp Frame, granddaughter of Maria von Trapp (played by Andrews in the movie).

Frame, a Snowmass ski instructor, is the daughter of Johannes von Trapp, the youngest son of Maria and the Baron von Trapp. (Johannes was born in the United States; he’s not one of the children depicted in the film, Frame explained.)

Tuesday’s showing was among the more memorable for Frame, who, naturally, has seen the movie a number of times.

“I loved it. It was so much fun,” she said. “When all the adults were hissing the nasty woman – that was hilarious.”

(By the way, there really was a baroness-type character who wanted to marry the Baron von Trapp and send his children off to boarding school, according to Frame.)

The free movies at Highlands are sponsored by the Highlands Merchants Association and are among several summer events the group has organized in conjunction with Darnauer Group to bring business to the fledgling base village.

“The idea of the whole thing is we wanted an event for the locals. We wanted the tradition of the old Highlands,” said Steve Skadron, senior account executive with Darnauer.

The outdoor movies may become a new tradition, judging from the success of the inaugural season.

“I think at this point, we’ve pretty well decided to do it again next summer,” said Scott Franklin, general manager of Iguana’s and the man in charge of the sound system.

The series debuted with a screening of “Casablanca,” followed by “Blazing Saddles” and the Alfred Hitchcock thriller, “The Birds.”

Rain began to fall about 30 minutes into “Blazing Saddles,” driving the event into Iguana’s, which wasn’t yet open for business at the time, according to Skadron. About half the crowd of 300 or so people stuck it out, cramming into the restaurant to enjoy the comedy, which Franklin ended up projecting onto an interior wall.

Next week’s movie is “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” The series will wrap up on Aug. 20 with a cult classic, “Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

[Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com]