Luker Sound Of Music Opens Mar. 12

News   Luker Sound Of Music Opens Mar. 12
 
The Broadway revival of The Sound Of Music, starring Rebecca Luker and Michael Sibrerry, opens March 12 at the Martin Beck Theatre.
Rebecca Luker as Maria in The Sound of Music. The children (L to R) Sara Zelle, Andrea Bowen, Ryan Hopkins, Luker, Tracy Alison Walsh, Ashley Rose Orr, Natalie Hall and Matthew Ballinger
Rebecca Luker as Maria in The Sound of Music. The children (L to R) Sara Zelle, Andrea Bowen, Ryan Hopkins, Luker, Tracy Alison Walsh, Ashley Rose Orr, Natalie Hall and Matthew Ballinger Photo by Photos by Joan Marcus

The Broadway revival of The Sound Of Music, starring Rebecca Luker and Michael Sibrerry, opens March 12 at the Martin Beck Theatre.

The 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical tells the story of a singing would-be nun who transforms the lives of an Austrian widower submarine captain and his seven children through the power of goodness and song. She abandons the convent life to become the captain's wife -- just as the Nazi anschluss makes him a prime target for drafting into the German navy.

Can they save their principles, their family and the new-found ability as a singing group? The answer is played out to the tune of R&H standards include "Do Re Mi," "My Favorite Things," "Climb Ev'ry Mountain," "Edelweiss" and the title song.

Jan Maxwell of A Doll's House plays Elsa. Mother Abbess will be Patti Cohenour, who played the Phantom's Christine in 1988 -- a year before Luker stepped into the same role.

Also in the cast are Fred Applegate (Max), Patricia Conolly (Frau Schmidt), Sara Zelle (Liesl), Dashiell Eaves (Rolf), John Curless (Franz), Ryan Hopkins (Friedrich), Tracy Alison Walsh (Brigitta), Matthew Ballinger (Kurt), Andrea Bowen (Marta), Ashley Rose Orr (Gretl), Jeanne Lehman, Natalie Hall (Louise), Gina Ferrall, Ann Brown, Timothy Landfield, Reno Roop, Gannon McHale, Anne Allgood, Joan Barber, Laura Benanti, Martha Hawley, Kelly Cae Hogan, Siri Howard, Tad Ingram, Matthew Loney, Betsi Morrison, Patricia Phillips, Lynn C. Pinto, Kristie Dale Sanders, Ben Scheaffer, Margaret Shafer, Nora Blackall, Marissa Gould and Lou Taylor Pucci. Susan H. Schulman will direct The Sound Of Music, which is produced by the Baruch-Frankel-Viertel Group (making it a possible candidate to fall under the new producing partnership between PACE Theatrical Group and Jujamcyn). Director Schulman made her Tony nominated Broadway debut with Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's Sweeney Todd at Circle in the Square. She also directed the Tony winning The Secret Garden, its two-and a-half year national tour, as well as its Australian premiere. Other credits include the York Theatre's Off-Broadway revivals of Merrily We Roll Along and Company, along with the recent Violet and the "Encores!" staged reading of The Boys From Syracuse. She was resident director for Pittsburgh's Civic Light Opera for several seasons (Follies, West Side Story, 1776, Funny Girl) Schulman graduated from the NY High School of Performing Arts, Hofstra University and the Yale School of Drama. She is executive vice president of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.

Sets for Sound will be designed by Heidi Ettinger (Moon Over Buffalo, Smokey Joe's Cafe). Lighting is by Paul Gallo; sound by Tony Meola. Michael Lichtefeld will serve as choreographer, with Michael Rafter providing musical direction and Bruce Coughlin creating the orchestrations.

Howard Lindsay & Russell Crouse wrote the libretto for 1959's Sound Of Music, based on the story of the "Trapp Family Singers" as documented by Maria Augusta Trapp. The autobiographical story told how the Trapps escaped from Austria during World War II.

The original production starred Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel. The film starred Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. Broadway last heard "Do Re Mi," "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" and "So Long, Farewell" in 1991 when Debby Boone, Laurence Guittard and Werner Klemperer starred in a revival at City Opera's New York State Theatre.

In an August story headlined "Broadway To Hear the Sound of Luker," Luker told reporter Alec Harvey of the Birmingham News in Alabama, "I'll try to make it my own," she is quoted saying of the role, "but you know, you'll always think of Julie Andrews singing those songs."

Luker, a Birmingham native, was a Best Actress Tony nominee for her Magnolia in Show Boat. She also had a featured role in the Old Globe Theatre's Time And Again in 1996. In 1989, Luker played Christine in Broadway's Phantom Of The Opera.

A source close to the production said the idea for a revival of Sound Of Music came about when Melissa Errico wowed the crowd in an Encores! staging of One Touch Of Venus. "She could basically write her own ticket at that point," the source said, "so when she said Maria was a role she really wanted to play, things fell into place. Now she's doing High Society, so she's out of the project, but the producers fell in love with the musical all over again and decided to do it anyway."

Luker's name had long been mentioned for the lead role for the production, which is not connected to a recent American tour of Sound Of Music in South East Asia, which starred Marie Osmond. She'll soon join the Broadway cast of another R&H musical, The King And I.

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