Arts and Entertainment

Bremerton’s alive with ‘The Sound of Music’

t Bremerton Community Theater debuts one of its most immense productions ever this weekend.

Last year, when the board at Bremerton Community Theater was looking to bill its next season of productions, someone suggested the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic of all classics,”The Sound of Music.”

“And we all just kind of had this dumbfounded look,” former president and “Sound of Music” producer Steve Goupil said. “We looked at each other and said ‘we’ve been around for 65 years and we’ve never done this show?’”

His voice rang with astonishment.

And so, they thought, it’s about time.

Goupil and the cast and crew at BCT are making up for lost time in putting together a magnanimous production of the musical which debuted on Broadway almost 50 years ago.

The BCT production includes a giant cast with a vast Scandinavian-flavored wardrobe, mega sets including a massive artist-rendered backdrop of the Swiss alps and a towering Victorian home set, a 16-piece orchestra and four-to-six-piece harmonies for the singers on stage. Not to mention, a whole lot of nuns.

“Rodgers and Hammerstein didn’t really know how to make a small show,” Goupil joked. “Anytime you take on one of their shows, you know you have to really do it right.”

It’s the small things one can do to make the production their own, director David Noonan added, but mainly, you just want to do it justice.

Noonan remembers, as a kid, getting to stay up late to watch the television version of the classic, the version starring Julie Andrews that has in large part given the show its iconic status, with his mother.

That sentiment, in large part, illustrates how a story about an Austrian family overcoming and outrunning the iron fist of the Nazi Third Reich so much staying power in American culture. It is truly a family affair.

And very much so at BCT.

Rod Gray, the actor portraying the play’s main family patriarch Captain Von Trapp, plays opposite his three daughters, as the Von Trapp girls, while the rest of the Von Trapp children are played another batch of real-life siblings, the Batschi family.

“Talk about family talent,” Goupil quipped.

While the Broadway production of “The Sound of Music” was criticized as a “step backward for Rodgers and Hammerstein” the movie won an Academy Award for Best Picture and its cast was nominated for a Grammy that same year, catapulting “The Sound of Music” to become one of the most popular musicals ever produced.

“It’s one of those shows that Kitsap does every few years,” said BCT musical director Meredith Ellringer.

“And it’s been a while,” Noonan added.

But along with the show’s popularity comes the burden of preconceived notions that have the potential to plague actors and disappoint audiences if the play isn’t done up to the set, “Sound of Music,” standards.

Noonan has subtly put his stamp on the production through small things like keeping completely in step with the original play’s script, doing all the original music (without the few movie extras) as well as in casting.

“I didn’t want a Julie Andrews, I wanted my own Maria,” Noonan said.

He had quite a lot to choose from as thespians of all levels as young guns to veterans flocked for auditions despite nasty weather conditions at the time they were held, early last December.

In the end, a seasoned starlit of Kitsap’s community stage, Kim Enloe, got the part of the guitar-case yielding, song in her heart singing, Do-Re-Mi-ing soon-to-be nun Maria.

“What’s neat about this show, is people have literally come out of the woodwork to help us,” Goupil said.

From the actors on stage to folks applying the elbow grease behind the scenes, it seems everybody wants to be sing their part in “The Sound of Music.”

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