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Holladay Journal

Skyline’s “The Sound of Music” is a crowd pleaser

Nov 28, 2018 04:46PM ● By Heather Lawrence

Skyline High’s production of “The Sound of Music” was a crowd pleaser. Here, the Von Trapp Children and their father meet Maria for the first time. (Heather Lawrence/City Journals)

By Heather Lawrence | heather.lawrence@mycityjournals.com

Skyline High School’s fall musical was the much-loved “The Sound of Music.” Capitalizing on the popularity of the story and songs, it ran Nov. 8–16, and Nov. 12 was sing-a-long and costume night. Audience members saw lyrics projected on the proscenium above the stage, and people of all ages joined in to sing. 

B Rogan is Skyline’s theater teacher and the director of this year’s show. “All of our productions this year have an anti-fascist theme,” Rogan said. Skyline will do “The Foreigner” and “Who Will Carry the Word” in the spring. 

He knew when he chose the musical that it was a popular one. “This was one of the easiest musicals to teach and rehearse with my students — everyone already knew their parts,” he said. Rogan, who auditioned over 100 students for the musical, found a place for everyone. 

Capitalizing on the popularity, Skyline had a “sing-a-long-night” for the Nov. 12 production.  Chellee Brain was there to watch her daughter Katherine, but enjoyed every second of the sing-a-long with her family.

“We went out to dinner before we got here and we warmed up our vocal cords in the restaurant. We’re having such a great time. This is a musical we grew up with,” Brain said. 

Proving the musical is relevant for younger generations, 7-year-old friends Kate and Bridget came with Bridget’s dad to watch her older sister, who was playing a nun. They seemed to know every word, too. 

“My favorite is the song Max sings, ‘How Will Love Survive?’ It’s not in the movie, but I saw the words on the screen and I came (to the show) another time, so I heard it then,” Kate said.  

Bridget’s favorite song was more traditional. “My favorite is ‘So Long, Farewell’ because each of the kids get a line they get to sing. I wish I could be up there singing!” said Bridget. Bridget’s dad sang along, too, probably happy to finally get the songs out of his head that had been rattling around for weeks. “It’s the reason these kids know the songs so well — this has been our life at home since rehearsals started!”

Children often stole the show onstage, as well. Having children cast as the youngest Von Trapp children lent an authenticity to the show, and they were great actors and singers. Gretl, the youngest Von Trapp, was played by the adorable Allie DeRosa. With her brown bouncy curls, big glasses and sweet singing voice, Allie seemed to enjoy every minute of her time onstage.

Alex Cannon played Maria, and cited this as a dream role. A photo in the program showed she’d done some extra credit and visited Salzburg in 2013. JT Kaufman plays Capt. Von Trapp. When the music inside him awakened, he ably sang through the rest of the show. A particular favorite was the song “Edelweiss.” 

Rogan pointed out that the first act doesn’t end as other musicals traditionally do, with a big number involving the entire cast. The closing number of Act I is “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” a solo beautifully sung by Peyton Lozano, who played the Mother Abbess. 

And what would a sing-a-long be without a proficient orchestra? The all-student orchestra perfectly accompanied the actors and audience alike. 

Beyond the raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, the Von Trapps face a very real evil. It played out in the romance between oldest daughter Liesel, played by Sasha Wilkinson, and telegram delivery boy Rolf, played by Isaac Murdock. 

Rolf and Liesel’s casual flirting while they sing “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” in the first act is a world away from Rolf’s transition to fascism and betrayal of the family in the second act. The students handled these elements with respect and dignity. 

Skyline had the opportunity to borrow beautiful sets from the Utah Festival Opera, including a full-length stairway for the Von Trapp Villa. This was a treat for the students who got to see firsthand what it was like to use professional-level materials. 

As Skyline looks ahead to a new building, a production like this reminds administrators of the essential role the arts play in education. Involving students from music, theater, orchestra, sound, stage management and lighting, the musical brings in talents from many disciplines. Hopefully the new building will provide an updated and worthy place for that talent to “bloom and grow.”