A traditional musical for all generations

"The Sound of Music" centers on the von Trapp family in pre-war Austria.

"The Sound of Music" centers on the von Trapp family in pre-war Austria.

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The high school and community production of “The Sound of Music” will run tonight and Saturday and continues May 12-14 at 7 p.m. in the Churchill County High School theater.

Tickets are on sale now at www.cchsperformingarts.weebly.com. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

“It’s really fun to see the kids show off their talents,” said Glen Perazzo, CCHS drama teacher, whose main charge was creating all the sets. “It’s a very talented community … those making the costumes, the choreographers, the (set) painting.”

When asked about filling roles with individuals who could act, sing and dance, Perazzo said, “They call it a triple-threat. If you can do all three of those things, then you’re well-needed and appreciated out there in the arts.”

High school student and dancer in the show Davis Benneke said he’s always been acting, singing and dancing.

“This musical is really fun,” he said, “because it’s more professional this year … I’ve been wanting to do ‘The Sound of Music’ … and I got to learn a real, traditional Austrian dance, the ländler.

Benneke said being in a musical is one of the best ways to get to know people.

“It’s really sad when it’s over … It’s like a family,” he said. “And we have Mr. Fleming, who’s really talented and everybody likes.”

CCHS music teacher Tom Fleming is directing the show that was inspired by real-life events surrounding the Trapp Family Singers prior to World War II.

“It’s going to be well worth the price,” Fleming said. “I know that for complete certainty.”

Fleming complimented both the cast and crew for their dedication.

“The people who work the show — the core … from one year to the next — they’re a great crew, very committed and knowledgeable … I just can’t say enough for them,” Fleming said. “I’ve wanted to do this for years and years; I’m just glad to finally get to direct this show. I love it. I love our cast.”

“I want the audience to first of all really enjoy the show. But if I look around and see the appropriate responses to scenes, I’ll know the actors and scriptwriters are doing their jobs … If (the audience) is engaged from beginning to end, that the pacing is right, we’re doing our part moving the show along.”

The Broadway musical explores following your dreams, laughter and love and a family escaping Nazis taking over Austria in the late 1930s.

“Vision, sketches, engineering,” said Perazzo about what goes into telling a story on stage. “It goes from paper to stage, that whole process … If I had to do it alone, it wouldn’t happen. It wouldn’t look good either.”

Fleming noted there’s a nun’s chorus that starts and finishes the show, but the singers also worked to do a special, intermission number.

“It shows the range of these ladies,” he said, “from the high school girls to our oldest cast member … It’s pure fun.”

High school student Adia Sommer nabbed the role of the eldest von Trapp, Liesl. Sommer has been around music for as long as she can remember.

“When I was four, I played the violin and that’s when music became a bigger deal for me,” she said. “When my family and I moved to Fallon, I began voice lessons and singing just stuck. I participate in several choirs and still take voice lessons.”

“I discovered my love for theater by watching local plays and musicals. I fell in love with the stories and it looked like so much fun. In junior high, I started acting and I’m sure I was no good then, but I kept with it and here I am … Mr. Fleming and Mr. Perazzo have taught me tons. Without them, I don’t think I’d love music and theater as much as I do. Mr. Fleming is an amazing director and has helped me a lot while working with different characters throughout my high school career.”

Sommer said playing Liesl has actually been quite difficult.

“Extremely fun! But difficult … A lot of times you can connect to the character in some way, but this time around I had a hard time,” she said. “However, through many rough hours of rehearsal and working with fellow cast members, I’ve come to love my character and she has been easier for me to step in her shoes.”

Lissa Overlie is starring as Maria, the governess hired into a large, equally musically-talented von Trapp family. Overlie has been in previous local musicals from Mrs. Potts in “Beauty and the Beast” to Cinderella’s fairy godmother. Overlie’s father is a pastor, so she grew up singing in church. She’s also had classical training.

“(This role is) such a huge honor,” Overlie explained. “The talent this small town brings is just over-the-moon, and I feel so blessed to be part of this … Julie Andrews has always been a role model for me; I adored her work. This is a dream come true.”

The film based on the musical starring Julie Andrews celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. Overlie’s cousin in Norway is part of a Norwegian production of the classic, playing in the orchestra.

“It’s happening all over the globe,” Overlie said. “It’s such an iconic musical. The kids they cast as the von Trapp children are incredible. They not only know their lines but mine and others … They’ve really melded together as siblings.

“To see those relationships formed and be able to enter in and build on that has been a gift.”

Overlie explained what it’s like to audition and perform. She said it’s nerve-wracking because performers definitely putting themselves out there.

“You have kind of a preconceived notion about everything,” Overlie added about rehearsals winding down toward opening night, “and it turns out even more amazing.”

Overlie said small-town theater has a special bond, a camaraderie that’s so unique by bringing the musical to the community and to Northern Nevada.

Ryan Sorensen plays Captain von Trapp, the family patriarch. Ryan’s wife, Cherilee, and their children are involved in the production too. The Sorensens and their six children have enjoyed theater as a family and been able to contribute to local musicals together.

“I was raised with music as a big part of my home,” Ryan said. “I never spent much time in theater, nor did I have much interest in it. But then I married Cherilee … Cher studied theater in college. She was always into the performing arts and brought that into my life in spades! Our oldest child, Joseph, was on stage at the young age of six weeks, playing Tzeitel’s baby in ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ in 1997 here in Fallon.”

As their family grew busier, they decided that chapter of their lives was likely over. They walked away for several years. With Joseph on the verge of leaving home, it sunk in that they may not have another chance to be in a production together. If the right opportunity came along, they decided, they would do it as a family.

That was last year with the community play “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” in which the entire family was able to participate.

When the school began to consider this year’s musical, there were rumors Fleming might do “The Sound of Music,” explained Ryan. He and Cherilee thought it would be limited to students. When Fleming said he wanted to include community members, the family couldn’t resist another adventure together.

“Auditions were held and the cast list was posted,” Ryan said. “I didn’t envy Mr. Fleming’s task of having to choose a cast from so many talented people who auditioned.

“As we approach the performance dates, and we see the scenes coming together, I’m increasingly more excited to share the fun with everyone who wants to spend a joyful evening celebrating the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein and the story of the von Trapp family.”

Assistant producer Lori Souba said theater-goers will be pleased with the production.

“It’s not your typical small-town production,” she said. “The businesses in town are so good about donating props and materials—just about whatever we need to make it great, we can find someone to donate.”

If online access is a problem, a selection of tickets are available at Jeff’s Copy Express on Main Street. Unsold tickets will be available at the theater starting at 6 p.m. prior to each performance. Tickets are $12, $15 and $20 according to seat.


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