Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Friday

March 7, 2014

OTP revives 'Sound of Music' after 20 years

TRAVERSE CITY — Kathy Verstraete unearthed some familiar artifacts while she packed her mother’s home two years ago.

The artificial bouquets created by her mother, Lois, more than for 20 years ago for an Old Town Playhouse production of “The Sound of Music,” turned up after her death.

“It just brought back a lot more memories than I realized,” said Verstraete, costumer for the 1993 show and its revival this month. “My dad, (the late) Joe Verstraete, worked on sets, Mom helped with hats and flowers.”

Verstraete resurrected the bouquets — and several costumes — from that long-ago show for the playhouse’s March production. But everything else is fresh, from the Alps mural on the back stage wall, to the musical score for two pianos and bass, to the playhouse’s upgraded sound system.

The musical opens today and runs through March 29 on the OTP Mainstage. It marks director Bonnie Deigh’s mainstage and musical debut.

”I’ve seen the movie several times in my childhood so I have the same picture everybody else does: the amazingly talented Julie Andrews with that dreadful haircut,” said Deigh, who honed her skills as assistant director for OTP musicals like “Cats” and “The Full Monty.”

”I’ve never seen the stage version,” she said. “The stage play is different than the movie. The political stuff is the secondary storyline and yet isn’t secondary. Something we’ve done is to pay attention to that backdrop. Everyone knows this innocent, iconic story from the film. It can get way too sweet if you let it.”

The Rogers and Hammerstein classic is known for songs like “Do-Re-Mi” and “Climb Every Mountain.” And it details the story of an Austrian postulant who leaves her abbey to teach music to the seven children of an Austrian widower. She ends up marrying him. The musical includes two songs not in the movie. Even the order of the songs is different than in the 1965 film, which won the Oscar for best picture.

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