Originally created 09/22/00

'Sound of Music' never fades away



In the world of musical theater, there is The Sound of Music and then there is everything else.

Arguably the most popular musical ever produced, the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical chronicle of the singing von Trapps still attracts fans to the theater. A singalong version of the 1965 film version of the play opened in New York last week and within hours became the hottest ticket in town.

While the Augusta Players, who open their production tonight at the Imperial Theatre, might prefer a little less audience participation, it is understood that The Sound of Music is iconic.

"I enjoy the familiarity with it," said Todd Colbert, who plays the stern Captain von Trapp in the production. "People enjoy coming to see something and seeing it as they remember it. I mean, there is still room in this for our interpretation of things, but part of the fun of this is in coming together and doing something that is familiar to everybody."

While the music has certainly contributed to The Sound of Music's continued popularity, fam-i-ly, as much as do-re-mi, has made The Sound of Music an enduring classic. With that in mind, the cast has tried to come together as a family, both on and off stage, in order to breathe life into the von Trapps.

"Every rehearsal we become better friends," said Cayd Harrington, who plays Kurt von Trapp. "It's nice because I come to rehearsal and I see my friends - and you usually don't get to dance with your friends on stage. The longer we are together, I think the more convincing we are as a family."

At the center of The Sound of Music is the role of the hapless nun-cum-nanny Maria. Taking on the role for the Augusta Players is Heather Davidson, a drama teacher at Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School who played the role as a professional actress seven years ago."I thought this role was something I would just fall back into," Ms. Davidson said with a laugh. "I thought I would remember all the lines and lyrics. I found that assumption not to be true. Learning this part again was a lot more time consuming than I thought it would be."

Nevertheless, Ms. Davidson said she has enjoyed stepping back into Maria's shoes and doesn't let Julie Andrews' famous portrayal bother her.

"I'm just me when I do this," she said. "I feel very comfortable with this role. I think the internal is as important as the external, and I really feel as though I have a lot of these qualities. When I'm on stage, I am Maria."

Ms. Davidson said that she loves being able to do The Sound of Music as a community theater production.

"It's been a wonderful experience," she said. "I've been surprised every day by the passion and the desire everyone has to be here. It's nice to know that they are not here just for a paycheck. There's none of the sense of competition you might find in professional theater - and it feels great to be able to do this for the community."

On stage

What: The Sound of Music, presented by the Augusta Players

When: Tonight and Saturday night at 8, Sunday at 3 p.m.

Where: The Imperial Theatre, 745 Broad St.

Admission: $8-$28

Phone: 826-4707

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or suhles@hotmail.com.