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Hills Alive Again With Von Trapps

Michael Herman is Captain Von Trapp and Netta Druckman (with guitar) plays Maria with the “Von Trapp children” in LOGON'S “The Sound of Music”. Photo: Avital Cohen

The hills are alive. And so, happily, is The Sound of Music,

The Light Opera Group of the Negev's (LOGON's) 2020 production. The musical will be staged around the country beginning Feb 27 and throughout March.

Many songs from the musical have become standards: "Edelweiss","Climb Every Mountain", "Do-Re-Mi" and the title song"The Sound of Music". The show has remained one of audiences' "Favorite Things" for decades.

With music by the influential and successful American musical theater writing team Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein , and a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, the original Broadway production of The Sound of Music opened in 1959 starring Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel. It won five Tony Awards and has had numerous revivals since then; the most recent professional revival was in London in 2006. The show was adapted as a film in 1965, starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. The Sound of Music was the last musical written by Rodgers and Hammerstein as Oscar Hammerstein died shortly after the Broadway premiere.

The play is set in 1938, just before — and after – the Anschluss, when Nazi Germany annexed Austria. Maria, a postulant at a nearby abbey, is sent to work as a governess to a large family while she decides whether to become a nun. She falls in love with the seven children, and eventually their widowed father, naval commander Georg von Trapp. He is ordered to accept a commission in the German navy, but he opposes the Nazis. He and Maria, now married, decide on a plan to flee Austria with the children. ("So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye…")

The story is a true one — up to a point – based on Maria von Trapp's book The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. The family eventually settled in the United States, becoming (with three more children) a popular singing act.

There's a reason The Sound of Music is known as the world's most beloved musical. "The music is lyrical and the songs are wonderful, very catchy and singeable," says LOGON's musical director David Waldmann.

"It's also the underlying conflict of leaving everything behind and fleeing your homeland so you're not part of the Nazi machine," comments actor Michael Herman, who plays Captain Von Trapp, adding that "the fairytale theme of a soon-to-be-nun warming the heart of an aristocrat also accounts for the show's popularity."

LOGON's long-time stage director Yaacov Amsellem credits the show's success with its "pastoral feeling. It's not obvious that this would be a sweet story; even the music has a pastoral mood."

The Sound of Music is a very familiar show in Israel; there have been several Hebrew-language productions over the years. Amsellem believes the LOGON production will have a fresh look. "This is such a well-known show that every tiny change makes it your own version," he says. "We're presenting the humanity of the characters that are more three- dimensional than the stereotypes sometimes portrayed."

"How do you solve a problem like Maria?", as one of the songs goes. "She really is a problem," remarks Amsellem. "She's a rebel and doesn't want to be in the convent. We're making her more of a 21st century character."

The Sound of Music is LOGON's 39th production. LOGON, which draws participants from the south of the country, is the oldest existing English language community theatre group in Israel. Founded originally to perform Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, for many years the company has staged a different Broadway musical every year, taking its productions around the country to a wide audience of all ages. Some of the performers in The Sound of Music are the children and grandchildren of LOGON's founders.

LOGON will be performing The Sound of Music in 2020 in Beer Sheva (Thursday February 27, opening night), Givatayim (Thursday March 5), Netanya Thursday March 12), Modiin (Tuesday March 17), Nes Ziona (Thursday March 19), Raanana (Tuesday March 24), and the Finale in Beer Sheva (Sunday Marcy 22). All performances begin at 19:30.

ESRA will be selling tickets to members at a special discount of 15%, a subsidized price for the performances in Beer Sheva, Givatayim, Netanya, Modiin, Nes Ziona and Raanana.

The discount tickets through ESRA may be purchased online at www.esra.org.il

Tickets for all performances may be purchased online at https://www.negevlightopera.com/ and from our telephone hotline 08 641 4081. 

Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer (left) were in the box office hit movie version in 1965
Mary Martin (above) starred in the first Broadway production of The Sound of Music in 1959
Theodore Bikel starred in the first Broadway production of The Sound of Music in 1959
 

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Monday, 20 September 2021

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