The Sound of Music, the unforgettable musical by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, tells the story of a young nun sent to care for seven children in 1938 Austria and how she becomes a part of their family. The original Broadway production debuted in 1958 led by Mary Martin and was followed by a record-breaking film in 1965 starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. The Gateway production of the beloved musical runs through Aug. 17.
Brandi Burkhardt plays Maria in what she describes as her favorite musical. At the beginning, she is hiding from the world in the abbey and not very obedient like the other nuns. Sent to become the new governess to the children of Captain Von Trapp, Maria is shocked to find the household run in such a strict manner.
“The captain has dealt with his sorrow from his wife dying by treating his house like a ship,” Burkhardt explained. “He’s like the commander of his ship and it’s nice to see the layers be removed. Music is what does that.”
“It’s so wonderful to see the response we get to songs like ‘Do-Re-Mi,'” she said. “You think you know it, you’ve heard it a billion times, but that smile [still] comes to your face.”
Tracy Bidleman plays Mother Abbess at the Nonnberg Abbey, who takes a shine to Maria, despite her wild ways.
“She knows she’s got a loving heart,” Bidelman said. “It’s her goal to not just write [Maria] off. It’s her goal to actually find her the right place.”
Ryan K. Bailer describes his character Captain Von Trapp.
“He, at the time, is in the process of courting another woman, Elsa,” Bailer said. “I think he’s with her because he thinks he should be. But this other woman, Maria, comes into his world and she is the complete opposite of him. She’s kind of wild and joyful and the conflict for him is that [she] reminds him of his wife.”
Friend of the family Max Detweiler is played by Tom Souhrada.
“I come up with this plan that I’m gonna get this family with seven children to sing at this festival, but Captain Von Trapp doesn’t want me to,” Souhrada said. “But I do it anyway.”
Souhrada explains that the show takes place on the eve of the Annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany.
“When horrible things are going on in the world, that’s when they reach for happier things anyway,” he said. “All this awful stuff is going on, but, you know, the world is still turning and there’s still wonderful stories to tell and songs to sing. Let’s just do that.”
View featured interviews with Brandi Burkhardt, Ryan K Bailer, Tracy Bidleman, Nick Ziobro, Erin Grace Kelly and Tom Souhrada in the video above.
See The Sound of Music at The Gateway, 215 South Country Rd., Bellport, through Aug. 17. For tickets, call 631-286-1133 or visit thegateway.org.
—With reporting by Waldo Cabrera and Max Cabrera