‘The Sound of Music’ comes to Aspen | AspenTimes.com

‘The Sound of Music’ comes to Aspen

Local performers join seasoned players in a collaborative performance

Katherine Roberts
Photo by Madaleine Cutone

“La… a note to follow so!”

“La… a note to follow so!”

“LA… a note to follow SOOOOO!”

Six children, one conductor as pianist and one acting Liesl von Trapp gather around a circle of chairs in a rehearsal space at the Red Brick Center for the Arts in downtown Aspen. These exuberant voices float out into the hallway as the team conducts rehearsals for the upcoming “Sound of Music” in Concert at the Benedict Music Tent on July 25-26.

“I am definitely feeling like the older sister with this group of kids,” said the aforementioned Liesl, as played by Theatre Aspen apprentice Sydney Borchers, who spent the rehearsal session playing both her performing role and filling in as Maria for all of the other numbers with the younger performers. 

Christy Altomare plays Maria von Trapp in the July 25-26 production of “The Sound of Music.”
Madaleine Cutone

Conductor Andy Einhorn played the piano and kept the energy upbeat in the light-filled rehearsal space. This is his fifth time teaching the show. The performers playing the remaining von Trapp children are all locals, many of whom, while they’ve participated in singing and performing activities in the past, such as previous summers’ Theatre Aspen Camps, have never performed onstage in a concert of this magnitude.

“What’s really exciting about this is that it’s the prototype production of doing ‘The Sound of Music’ in Concert with an orchestra,” Einhorn said. “Adding children to the show adds another level of complexity, but also excitement.”

It’s “the ultimate ‘musical in the mountains,’” said Theatre Aspen producing director Jed Bernstein.

The production, a joint venture between Theatre Aspen and the Aspen Music Festival and School, “is a special event three years in the making,” said Einhorn, who originally set out to helm the production in 2020, on the heels of the success of “South Pacific” in 2019 in the Benedict Music Tent.

“Our collaborations with Theatre Aspen are a chance to combine their reach and expertise in casting and theater with our superb orchestras,” said Alan Fletcher, president and CEO of the AMFS.

And in those performances, practice makes perfect. The children are required to sing in three-part harmonies regularly throughout the show. Making sure they have the fundamentals down, the rehearsal, and repetition, continue.

“When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I’m feeling sad!”

“When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I’m feeling sad!”

“When the DOG BITES, when the BEE STINGS, when I’m feeling SAAAAD!”

“This is always the title that people want to do,” Einhorn said. “It’s a beloved show. Everyone knows the music.”

The fact that it’s not a full-blown stage production, but rather an interpretation in the style of a concert adds a bit of a twist.

“It’s a show that relies a bit on costumes and for the audience to have the imagination of a set,” he said. “It’s a slightly pared down script, but we’re presenting all of the music, and we’re using two songs from the movie that are not in the stage production. What (director) Marc Bruni, (choreographer) Denis Jones and I set out to do is to create a world which allows for imagination and interpretation to take over.”

Borchers echoed that sentiment:

“One of the nice things about this show is that everyone does know this show, and because they know it, it gives both the audience and the performers excitement about it.”

As for the kids playing the remaining von Trapp children, “performing on this big stage is going to be foreign to them, so it’s interesting in that their progression will be similar to the kids in the story, and their growth as performers,” Borchers said.

“It’s exciting for the audience to root for them,” Einhorn said.

And, when local audiences root for them in person, they might see some kids they recognize. James Nottingham will play Friedrich; Eleanor Carroll appears as Louisa; Harry Spitteler is Kurt; Sierra Quint is Brigitta; Kayleigh Flynn plays Marta; and Anna Riley appears as young Gretl.

Tickets are currently on sale, and a limited special $30 offer is being extended to children 12 and younger. Other tickets are $110 and $50.

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