Oak Ridge will come alive with “The Sound of Music,” which will be presented at the Performing Arts Center at Oak Ridge High School this weekend, starting this evening.
The Masquers, Oak Ridge High School’s drama club, will perform the musical, which is based on the story of the von Trapp family, who fled Austria to escape the Nazi regime in 1939. The Masquers promise to offer the audience a fresh look at the beloved story, which was first made famous by the 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical and world famous by the 1965 film adaptation, a press release said.
“Everyone has seen the movie, but the play is different,” said Oak Ridge High School senior Angela Pinkham, who is set to play the starring role of Maria. “There is a new song, and the classics are in unexpected places. A live production is a lot different than watching a movie.”
It is an elaborate production employing students from the choral department, the orchestra, and the band—more than 60 students total—along with a wide assortment of faculty and area talent hailing from different academic and artistic backgrounds, the press release said.
“It is the biggest show the Masquers have ever done,” said senior Lindsey Chinn, who is cast as the nurturing Reverend Mother in the play.
“It’s pretty ambitious,” Pinkham said.
Performances are scheduled at 7 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday.
Amanda Ragan, ORHS choral director, will be coaching vocalists along the way, and the school system’s new band directors, Preston Davis, Spence Milligan, and Michael Spirko, are taking on the orchestra.
“The band directors are so enthusiastic about the play that they want to be alongside the kids playing in the orchestra,” said science teacher-turned-drama sponsor Vidal Moreno.
Math teacher Elaine Vaughan plays the keyboard and is coordinating the music for the production. Freshman Adam Bell will play Captain von Trapp. The costume designer, community member Karen Vacaliuc, donates her time and talent to the Masquers.
“If you saw Once Upon a Mattress (last year’s spring show), you can expect the same quality here,” Chinn said. “The costumes are exquisite.”
The cross-curricular nature of the production makes it both unique and valuable to the students.
“This is very much an educational experience for the kids,” Moreno said. “They are taught directly by the professionals.”
Art teacher Cheryl Burchett is helping procure props, and for the first time, Claude Hardy, associate professor of theater at Pellissippi State Community College, is helping the student technical staff design the set. Senior Alexis Hagemeyer is the stage manager.
The press release said the task of producing such an elaborate musical is now shared by many, and the result is an interdisciplinary group whose members are willing to work on the pieces that they enjoy the most.
“We have created a system in which every organ has its own part to play,” Moreno said. “Welding classes design things for us. The art classes are involved on so many levels. It’s a neat, collaborative effort.”
The play will be directed by Dana Wham, who has directed and choreographed for numerous adult and children’s theatre groups and high schools throughout the region and has extensive experience working with young people. She is the former artistic director for The Knoxville Performing Arts Institute.
The press release said a production of this scale has a large price tag, one that is not supplemented by district funds.
“The Masquers is a club,” Moreno said. “Unlike other schools that do this as a part of their curriculum, this is a volunteer program.”
The estimated cost of “The Sound of Music” is between $10,000 and $12,000.
“All costs are covered by fundraisers, private donations, and program ads,” Moreno said. Any person or organization who is interested in purchasing advertisements or making donations can contact Moreno at (865) 425-9601.
Tickets for the event will be $6 in advance. They will be sold at the door for $7 for students and $8 for adults. They will be available in the Oak Ridge High School office and at the Ferrell Shop, which is located at 235 Jackson Square in Oak Ridge.