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Interview: Mike McLean Breathes New Life into Captain von Trapp and Leads THE SOUND OF MUSIC Back to Durham Performing Arts Center

Interview: Mike McLean Breathes New Life into Captain von Trapp and Leads THE SOUND OF MUSIC Back to Durham Performing Arts Center

In June of 1938, Georg and Maria von Trapp, along with their 9 children, fled the Nazi regime in Austria. Traveling with their musical conductor, Rev. Franz Wasner, and secretary, Martha Zochbauer, they went by train to Italy, and by September were on a ship to New York to begin a concert tour in Pennsylvania.

Twenty-one years later, inspired by Maria's book The Story of the Von Trapp Family Singers, THE SOUND OF MUSIC opened at The Lunt-Fontanne Theatre with music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. The movie opened to mixed reviews in 1965 and went on to be the most successful movie musical in history.

"It is a family movie that is in everyone's life in some way," says Mike McLean who plays Captain von Trapp in the national tour of THE SOUND OF MUSIC, which opens at DPAC later this month.

McLean says like everyone, he knew the songs. In fact, his earliest memory of THE SOUND OF MUSIC was that of his mother singing him My Favorite Things as a lullaby. But it wasn't until he read the script and started working on the play that he realized what an amazing story it is.

"You think it's just this story of a family finding itself and then there's freaking Nazis coming in," he says. "I think that's something that's really beautiful about our production is that it really highlights all the wonderful colors within the picture that everyone thinks they know."

Mclean says while everyone has their favorite SOUND OF MUSIC song, his favorite moment of the show is singing the reprise of the title song.

"Of course, Maria gets to sing The Sound of Music at the beginning and it is beautiful. It's the first time you get to hear Maria's voice and that you hear Maria sing," he says. "But it's also the first time you hear the Captain sing. It's a really touching and beautiful moment that I love to do every night, and I just hope I'm doing it justice.

And McLean says that for fans of the movie, THE SOUND OF MUSIC tour is even bigger and more beautiful on stage. He credits that to the award-winning creatives behind the show, including Director Matt Lenz, Scenic Designer Douglas W. Schmidt and Costume Designer Jane Greenwood.

"There is a lot of talent just in the design and thinking of the show," he says. "It is just a beautiful show, and not just in the story, to sit there and watch the show happen, it's visually stunning."

"It's great to be a part of something that you really can bring the whole family to," he adds. "Yes, it's for the kids, but it's also for the husbands and brothers and uncles. There is a side of this story that everyone is going to appreciate."

THE SOUND OF MUSIC returns to The Durham Performing Arts Center April 20-22. For tickets and information, visit:

The Durham Performing Arts Center

The Sound of Music On Tour

Photo Credit: Mike McLean as Captain Georg von Trapp. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

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