What to do about a problem like renovation? That’s the question Sammamish High School theater teacher Melissa Deutsch had to wrestle this fall when deciding what musical the school was going to perform.
A large portion of Sammamish High School is still under construction as part of a large remodel, leaving the teacher to have to use an alternate space to host the play. Newport High School agreed to loan its theater, which solved one problem, but left her asking what show would work best with limited set construction?
After a brief conversation with choir and jazz director Carol Whitworth, the choice was simple, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music.”
Deutsch said she knew she had the talent pool to draw from and it also happens to be Whitworth’s favorite musical. Deutsch joked if they ever needed an understudy Whitworth, who resembles Julie Andrews, could always step in and play Maria, the lead.
“We always think about the pool of students we’ll have to draw on during auditions,” Whitworth said. “We had lots of strong lyric female singers so we knew we could put on a great show.”
The majority of the show’s success will sit firmly on the shoulders of 17-year-old senior Alicia Murowchick, who plays Maria a nun in training who isn’t quite sure of her monastic future.
Murowchick, a seasoned actress, singer, said she identifies with her character on numerous levels making the role easier to play.
“We’re both light hearted and we love to sing,” she said. “She’s kind of awkward and likes to laugh a lot. I’m the same.”
Set just before WWII, Maria is faced with the biggest decision of her life, should she or shouldn’t she continue her life as a nun?
When the Mother Abbess tells her to take some time to figure out what she wants to do, Maria ends up taking a job as governess to the seven children of widower Captain von Trapp, played by Matthew Hervey.
Hervey said the hardest thing about playing the captain is maintaining his serious demeanor, which is very unlike the bubbly 16-year-old sophomore.
“I’m pretty goofy,” he said. “My character has a strong opinion of himself and that carries throughout the show. Toward the end of the show I’m more loving to my children and Maria. That’s a lot more like me.”
Both actors said they’ve study the iconic portrayals of their characters in the 1965 Academy Award-winning film and both Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.
“I just stay focused on what other people’s portrayal’s have been instead of what I would do,” Hervey said. “It’s all about how the captain would act.”
Like the play, Murowchick’s focus is on what she can control.
“You are the baker of your own muffin,” she said.
The show’s three-night run at the Newport Performing Arts Center begins Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m. and continues Dec 5, 6.
Tickets range from $8 for students to $10 for adults.