Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Throwback...Tuesday? The Sound of Music

I'm going to switch up my theme for Tuesday...I'm all sappy and I really want to have some memories today.

Just over one year ago, Tom and I were involved in one of our best projects ever: The Sound of Music.  It was last year's community musical, produced by Stebens Children's Theatre and the Mason City Foundation.  Truly a dream come true for both of us.

After we saw the Stebens/MC Foundation's production of Fiddler on the Roof a few weeks ago, I knew I'd have to write about SoM on the blog.  Fiddler was absolutely great.  The cast was perfectly chosen (this is a talent of director Tom Ballmer's) and the show was well choreographed, blocked, musically directed and accompanied.  Truly, cast, if you are reading this, so many bravos.  We LOVED it.

It made me so proud to see so many of our SoM family up on the stage.  I thought I would be sad to not be a part of it, but I couldn't be sad...my and Tom's lives are completely different now.  Actually, it was more of an "I can't imagine being on the stage right now" as I thought about little Jude at home.  It just shows that the timing of SoM was perfect.  Seriously, PERFECT!

So anyway...let's walk down memory lane a little bit.

When I found out the 2013 summer musical would be The Sound of Music, my heart did a happy dance.  There are three leading-lady roles I've always kept in my mind as "dream roles" and Maria was one of them.

I idolized Julie Andrews growing up, while learning how to sing.  I thought her voice was perfect.  I still think her voice is (was, thanks to a surgery mishap) absolute perfection.  I remember going out in my yard when I was little, probably wearing some kind of dress from my costume stash, spinning around with my arms open wide and singing "the hiiiillllls are aliiiiiiiive..."

I decided right away I'd audition and luckily, my husband was on board as well.  He and I met while performing in a show together, and we hadn't done a show since -- so I was very excited.  We auditioned at the end of May and started rehearsing immediately, for a show that would run from July 10-13 (I think...cast members, you can correct me if I'm wrong on those dates).  

I was thrilled to receive the role of Maria.  Truly honored.  

I worked very hard on that role and on the singing.  It was a total joy but pretty demanding.  People tell me that the part fit me pretty well, and that's really nice of them, but it wasn't me at all that made Maria happen--it was our director.  Tom Ballmer is the director at Stebens and he is absolutely brilliant...the BEST.  He turned me from a person reading words off the page, into an actor.  The role would have been much less if he hadn't put his expert stamp on every single line and movement that I made as Maria.  Really--none of that was me at all.  Mason City's young actors are lucky, lucky, lucky to have him here.

We had an ALL-STAR cast.  I had seven beautiful, talented kids to perform alongside, and I became smitten with each one of them.  I will always treat them like they are "my stage children" and when the show ended, I told them they'll just have to get used to getting smothered with hugs every time I see them from then on: Christy (Liesl), Tony (Friederich), Senai (Louisa), Marcus (Kurt), Chloe (Brigitta), Kylie (Marta) and Makenna (Gretl).  The kids stole the show, and they stole my heart as well.

Working hard in singing rehearsal with our musical director -- my good friend Molly, at the piano!

And our hard work paid off!

Our nuns were spectacular.  I will never forget the opening song set in the abbey...I was always seated on the stage, behind the curtain in the dark, while the nuns opened the show (different from the movie).  Their singing always relaxed my nerves and allowed me to enjoy those dark, quiet moments all alone on the stage before the curtain opened and "the hills" became alive.

The opening number might have been the most exciting part of the show for me.  There's something special about hearing the curtain open, feeling the spotlight on your face, hearing the orchestra hang on that last note, and knowing there's an audience waiting for you to sing.  I don't want to forget how that moment felt, ever.

A few more picture memories...not in order of the show:

This is my dear Reverend Mother -- Michelle Murray.  We had so much fun in this scene and I am still proud of us for holding character when we had to be all serious.

In the stage musical version, "The Lonely Goatherd" is performed in the bedroom during the thunderstorm, instead of "My Favorite Things."  This was perhaps my most favorite scene of the whole show!  The kids and I had so much fun.  This song and choreography whipped me into good shape because I had to climb all over the bed and dance while singing some pretty hard runs.

This is nearing the end when the von Trapps are escaping.  See the wires?  They were attached to those weird green bushes.  The weird green bushes were made to fly upward during the nuns' final song.  We all hated it and got Tom to change the plan.  The wires, however, stayed.

Here are some more of our cute nuns. :)

This was taken during picture night, hence my mom hanging out in the lower right corner :)

My Tom as Max Detweiler, with Brad (Captain) and Liz (Baroness Schraeder)

Brian and Christy -- Rolf and Liesl

My kids during "So Long, Farewell"

The concert scene right before the von Trapps' grand escape...

Christy and me during a dress rehearsal (pardon the grossly unfinished set!).  I loved this scene.  I love this Christy girl, too.

HAHA!!!  So, this picture cracks me up.  This was at the end of "Do Re Mi."  Yet another difference between the movie version and stage version is the ending of this song.  In the movie, Maria sings UP an octave with a grand flourish at the end.  In the stage musical, Maria sings DOWN an octave with a rather awkward and most unflattering ending.  It was going to be super embarrassing for me every night unless we made it comical, which Tom allowed us to do (thank goodness).  This picture shows me trying to hit the very low notes.  LOL.

With Marcus (Kurt).  WE LOVE THIS KID!

We had so much fun.  It was such an honor.  We would love to do this show again and again if life allowed.  Theatre is magical!  Can't wait for the next project, whenever it may be.  Maybe when Jude is old enough to be onstage with us??

Love, Betsy

1 comment:

  1. Oh, funny, awesome, crazy, weird Marcus! We went through all those show pictures on his phone the other day while we were at opus camp! So cool!