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The Hills Are Alive! Danbury's Musicals At Richter Highlights Its 38th Season Under The Stars With THE SOUND OF MUSIC

It plays July 22 to August 6 on the grounds of the Richter House Arts Center.

The Hills Are Alive! Danbury's Musicals At Richter Highlights Its 38th Season Under The Stars  With THE SOUND OF MUSIC

Musicals at Richter (MAR), Connecticut's longest-running outdoor theater, will celebrate its 38th season with the beloved Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, "The Sound of Music", playing July 22 to August 6. Staged on the grounds of the Richter House Arts Center (next to Richter Park Golf Course), 100 Aunt Hack Road, in Danbury, performances take place outdoors under the stars Friday through Sunday evenings, with additional specially discounted performances on Thursday July 28 and August 4.

Winner of eight Tony Awards when it premiered on Broadway in 1959, the perennially popular "The Sound of Music" chronicles the journey of a high-spirited young novice who is dispatched from the convent to become a governess for the seven unruly children of a stern, widowed Austrian naval captain. As she wins the love and respect of the children, she captures the heart of their father as well. Set against the gathering storm clouds of World War II, "The Sound of Music" is a story about coming of age and learning to understand one's own heart. The timeless score includes "The Sound of Music," "Do-Re-Mi," "Edelweiss," "Climb Ev'ry Mountain," "Sixteen Going on Seventeen," "My Favorite Things," and "Maria."

This final collaboration between Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II features a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse based on the memoirs of the real-life Maria von Trapp. Written for the stage at the behest of its original star, Mary Martin, "The Sound of Music" has become one of the world's most produced and beloved musicals. The 1965 movie starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer garnered five Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Helming "The Sound of Music" is director Jessica Smith of New Fairfield. A veteran MAR performer, Smith appeared on the Richter stage in "Wonderful Town," "Oliver," and "Once Upon a Mattress," among others. A graduate of the Boston Conservatory, Smith is an adjunct professor of musical theater at Sacred Heart University and a theater educator and director-at-large. She has been a director, vocal director, acting and voice coach for more than 20 years in CT, NY and MA. Among her favorite vocal direction credits are "Godspell," "Merrily We Roll Along," "Annie," and "The Mystery of Edwin Drood," among others. Selected directing credits include "Annie," "Durang Outdoors," "Singing In The Rain," "The Snow Queen," "You're A Good Man Charlie Brown," "Oliver," "The Odd Couple," and "A New Brain."

On tap as music director is MAR newcomer Adam Snyder of Brookfield. A drummer by trade, Adam has played on Broadway, and served as percussionist for the first National Tour of the Billy Joel jukebox musical "Movin' Out." He has performed with many famous artists in an assortment of musical adventures. Locally, Adam has served as pianist/musical director for "American Idiot" and "Disaster" at the Brookfield Theater for the Arts and for "Pippin," "Shrek," "Seussical," and "Chicago" at several Connecticut high schools.

Rounding out the creative team as choreographer is Lindsay Miller, who most recently choreographed "Shrek" at MAR in 2019. As a performer at MAR, Miller appeared in "Carousel," "Sweeney Todd," "Nunsense," "Brigadoon," "Some Enchanted Evening" and "Sweet Charity". She has extensive background in dance performance, teaching and competition, including ballet, tap, jazz, modern, ballroom and Latin. Her choreography credits include "The Will Rogers Follies," "Nunsense," "Little Shop of Horrors" and "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" for Spotlight Theater Productions: "Hollywood: Big Band Style," and "Pride & Prejudice" for County Players; and "Crazy For You," "High School Musical," "Mary Poppins," "The Addams Family," "Urinetown," "A Year With Frog & Toad" and "Newsies" for John Jay High School. Miller currently serves as Development Coordinator for United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region and teaches at In Motion Dance Center in LaGrangeville, NY.

"The Sound of Music" features a talented cast of MAR veterans and newcomers. Taking on the iconic role of Maria Rainer is Emily Walsh of Poughkeepsie, NY, who last appeared at MAR as Fiona in "Shrek." Rob Mayette of Ridgefield, who played Bedevere in "Spamalot" and Bert Healey in "Annie" at MAR, portrays the stalwart but stern Captain von Trapp.

Claire Simard (Ridgefield), last seen at MAR as Grace Farrell in "Annie," plays the Captain's wealthy love interest Baroness Schraeder and MAR newcomer Christopher Hetherington (Stratford) portrays Max Detweiler, an impresario and the Captain's charming freeloading friend.

Captain von Trapp's seven unruly children feature Jillian Flynn (Mahopac, NY) as Liesl, Austin Etzbach (Wilton) as Friedrich, Gabby Messina (Ridgefield) as Louisa, Jack Rand (Danbury) as Kurt, Allyson Snyder (Brookfield) as Brigitta, Kelly Inconstanti (Brookfield) as Marta and Charlotte Harrington (Shelton) as Gretl. All are making their MAR debut.

At Nonnberg Abbey, MAR veteran Priscilla Squiers (Danbury) portrays Mother Abbess, Maria's mentor and advocate. She is joined by fellow MAR alums Cathy Cavender (Norwalk) as Sister Margaretta, Stacey Snyder (Brookfield) as Sister Berthe and Daisy Stott (Brookfield) as Sister Sophia.

Others in featured roles include Vincent Fontenelli (Danbury) as Liesl's beau Rolf, Elizabeth Czarsty (Watertown) as the von Trapp housekeeper Frau Schmidt, and Robert Fontenelli (Danbury) as the von Trapp's butler, Franz.

Rounding out the cast in a variety of ensemble roles are Jacquelynn, Paul and Rachelle Matchen of Bethel; Tyler Wolfson and Rachel Volpe of Brookfield; Dolly Conner, Melisa Garcia, Beth McGuire and Amanda Thomas of Danbury; April Smith and Molly Tarnowski of New Fairfield; and Renėe Browne of Patterson, NY.

The set is designed by John McMahon (Newtown) and costumes are by Gina Tonner (Bethel). Olivia Minor (Danbury) serves as stage manager and Joyce Northrop (Danbury) is the producer.

"The Sound of Music" is presented through special arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of The Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization. Musicals at Richter's 2022 season is underwritten in part by a generous grant from the City of Danbury Cultural Commission. Additional funding support has been provided by CT Humanities CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant, CT Department of Energy and Economic Development, Danbury Savings Bank, Ridgefield Thrift Shop, and many individual donors.

For "The Sound of Music," grounds open at 7 p.m. for picnicking, with the show at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and students (with ID) and $15 for children 10 and under. For the discounted Thursday performances (July 28 and August 4), tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and students and $10 for children 10 and under. Audience members are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets for lawn seating. A limited number of chairs are available free of charge at the concession area, and a snack/soft drink concession is on site.

Of special note, ASL interpretation will be offered at the Friday, July 29 performance (rain date Saturday, July 30).

For tickets and further information, visit the website at musicalsatrichter.org, leave a message at 203-748-6873 or e-mail info@musicalsatrichter.org.

Founded in 1985, Musicals at Richter is Connecticut's longest-running outdoor theater. Performances are given on weekends at the Richter House Arts Center (next to the Richter Park Golf Course), 100 Aunt Hack Road, in Danbury. Nestled in the hills of Western Connecticut, the Arts Center stage has served as the scenic backdrop for over 100 musicals produced by Musicals at Richter, as well providing a springboard to professional pursuits for hundreds of up-and-coming performers. Musicals at Richter draws performers and audiences from throughout CT and eastern NY, and has welcomed many thousands of theater lovers over our 37-year-history. Musicals at Richter is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization. For further information, visit the website at www.musicalsatrichter.org, leave a message at 203-748-6873 or e-mail info@musicalsatrichter.org.




From This Author - Grace Cutler


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