'The Sound of Music' opens at the Andria Theatre Dec. 8
The show is sold out.
ALEXANDRIA — Caroline Petefish had a hard decision to make when casting the childrens’ parts for “The Sound of Music.”
Why? There were about 70 kids who showed up to the auditions.
“It was very difficult because I could only pick seven and a couple of understudies,” said Petefish, who is directing the play, which opens Thursday, Dec. 8, at the Andria Theatre in downtown Alexandria.
As for the adult parts, there were enough, although she said she was “short on men.” She believes it was because “Young Frankenstein,” which had several roles for men, was going on at the same time of auditions for “The Sound of Music.”
“It was a little challenging and after auditions, I still didn’t have a ‘captain,’ ” said Petefish. “We did callbacks and then, in walked my captain. It was great. We now have a great group of cast members.”
Petefish, who has been involved in theater for years, on stage and behind the scenes both as a director and crew member, said she has a great crew for this show, which she said was “a beast.”
Well, it’s a beast for the costumes, she added, noting that the seven Von Trapp children have seven costume changes themselves.
“I’ve even been sewing costumes,” she said.
When it comes to the music in the show, Petefish said it is familiar, but not necessarily easy to learn. But, she said her cast members were ready to work and were gung-ho about learning all the music. She described her group as hard working.
She also said there are a lot of new people, who have never been in an Andria Theatre production before and that she has had to remind herself of that a few times when giving them direction for where they should be during the scenes.
When asked why people should see the show, Petefish said, “It’s good entertainment, a tearjerker, a whole lot of uplifting and a good story. People love this story.”
Her dream role
Abby Johnson is new to the stage at the Andria Theatre. She said this is her first play at the Andria and her first time in a real theater.
It was her sister-in-law who encouraged her to try out for this production because she knew that Johnson loved the “Sound of Music” and that it would be her dream role.
At first, she decided that she would go ahead and try out, but then decided she wasn’t going to. Her husband, Brandon, however, encouraged her to do it and she decided that she would.
“I don’t regret it at all,” she said.
Johnson described her character as a woman who is looking to belong. Maria, she said, was orphaned as a child and was looking for a family to belong to and at first, she thought that family was at the convent.
“The reverend mother is wise, though, and Maria is pretty naive,” said Johnson. “And she is a little bit gutsy, too.”
As for why she believes people should see the show, Johnson said, “It is a great show with fantastic music and a beautiful story. It has such a wholesome feeling to it.”
Johnson also said the cast is excited and has been working hard to deliver an amazing show.
When not on stage, Johnson is a stay-at-home mom of four children – ages 2, 4, 6 and 8 – who owns a photography business with her husband.
Dedra Zwieg, who by day is a certified financial advisor in Parkers Prairie, is reprising her role of “Mother Superior.” She played the same role in 2003, she said.
But that is not all she is doing. Zwieg is also the vocal/music director for this production.
At the first rehearsal, she said the cast did a pretty good job because many were familiar with the music. But her job is to get them more familiar with the music and to work on everything from intonation – singing in tune – to enunciation – pronouncing their words clearly.
“The toughest part of being a vocal director is patience,” she said. “It takes patience and repetition to learn the music.”
Zwieg said there is a lot of music to learn and she loves it when everything comes together.
There are some a cappella pieces for the nuns in the show, said Zwieg, and with that style of music, you can tell if they are off key. But when it comes together, it is “rewarding and magical.”
In her previous life, Zwieg said she was a voice teacher for about seven years. She said she is a firm believer that nobody is really “tone deaf” and that people can be taught to sing.
As for her character, Zwieg said Mother Superior runs a nunnery and that her responsibility is to make sure the nuns praise and pray. But she said that Maria is not so quiet and is not always appropriate.
Zwieg is no stranger to the Andria Theatre as she has been in about 20 different productions since 1997. However, she has not been on stage since 2013.
“I took a hiatus in 2013 and haven’t been in a play since ‘Hamlet,’ ” she said. “But I really wanted to do this show as I was the same character before.”
Opening night reception
Everyone who has a ticket for opening night, which is Thursday, Dec. 8, is invited to attend the Opening Night Reception. The doors will open at 5:45 p.m. and light appetizers will be served. Attendees will be able to hear from the director and a cast member or two and celebrate the opening of a new show.
Maria Rainer – Abby Johnson
Sister Berthe, dancer – Jessica Paulsen
Sister Margaretta – Lacy Mau-McDonald
Sister Sophia – Erin Takle
The Mother Abbess – Dedra Zwieg
Captain Georg Von Trapp – Kyle Pietrowski
Franz – Kevin Lee
Frau Schmidt – Rachel Bardusen
Liesl Von Trapp – Lucy Gustafson
Friedrich Von Trapp – Brady Haabala
Louisa Von Trapp – Brynne Denny
Kurt Von Trapp – Brayden Zollner
Brigitta Von Trapp – Lexi Dummer
Marta Von Trapp – Brielle Elmer
Gretl Von Trapp – Cambree Auran
Rolf Gruber – Blake Steussy
Elsa Schraeder – Cindy Roos
Max Detweiler – Kiley Ramstorf
Ursula – Jodi Hintzen
Herr Zeller – Dylan Hauer
Baron Elberfeld – Steve Heseltine
Admiral von Schreiber – Manford Foster
Lieutenant – Dylan Marshall
Ensemble – Trevon Andreasen
New Postulant – Lauren Heseltine
Postulants – Mia Meier, Kira Lindley, Kylee Dummer and Roxanne Sweetwater
Nuns – Gloria Andreasen, Pat Finnestad, Madeline Foster, Myah Hartman, Sue Luke, Rebecca Marsnik and Judith Young
Ensemble and understudy – Finley Paulsen
Ensemble and understudy – Addy Auran
Director/costume construction – Caroline Petefish
Assistant director/costume designer – Alyssa Petefish
Music director – Dedra Zwieg
Set design/construction – John Thalmann
Light design/technician – Maryn Cabinaw
Sound technician – Greg Raether
Costume construction – Lona Neubarth, Lynn Cosmano and Sue Dumm
Hair/makeup – Stacy Denny
Props – Hilary Ninman
Stage manager – Ailee Velazquez
Projections/soundtracks – Holly Wallerich
Video producer – Colton LaSota
If you go
WHAT: “Sound of Music”
WHEN: Dec. 8 through Dec. 10 and Dec. 14 through Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 11 and Dec. 18 at 2 p.m.
WHERE: Andria Theatre, 618 Broadway St., Alexandria
TICKETS: Go to www.andriatheatre.org or call the box office at 320-762-8300.