Skip to content

The hills are alive

The Sea to Sky Hotel is alive with the sound of frantic last-minute rehearsal. But the end result will be one of the biggest dramatic undertakings in Squamish history.

The Sea to Sky Hotel is alive with the sound of frantic last-minute rehearsal.

But the end result will be one of the biggest dramatic undertakings in Squamish history.

The upcoming production of the world-famous musical The Sound of Music opens its two-week run Thursday (Nov. 25) at the Eagle Eye Community Theatre.

"This is one of the most talented casts I've ever worked with," said director and co-producer, Adriane Polo. "There's a variety of individuals who have their own character and infuse it into the characters.

"We wanted to have the best musical that Squamish has ever seen. We're trying to raise it to a professional level. We wanted it to be comparable to the big musicals you see in the city."

The 28-member cast has come from Pemberton, Mount Currie, Whistler and Squamish, and has been putting in several long rehearsals a week.

"It has become like a real Sea to Sky production," Polo said.

Putting together the play along with Mike Hewitt, the producer of Howe Sound Secondary's 42nd Street last year, has been a labour of love for Polo.

"It is my favourite musical. I remember watching it when I was a little girl. I just loved Maria," she said. "This is something that has been in my mind for a long time."

Polo isn't the only one who has an attachment to the story. Veronica McPhee, who is playing Maria, has a strong tie.

"I've always wanted to play this role," she said. "I've seen the movie a thousand times."

McPhee, a teacher and director of the Sea to Sky Singers community chorus, has a bachelor of music and has been involved with musicals and operas before. The story also bears more than a little resemblance to her own childhood - there were seven children in her family.

"We were always very musical. I could relate to the first half of the movie. We were brought up very Catholic also," she said.

And that's not all.

"My mother actually made clothes from curtains once," said McPhee, in reference to the scene where Maria makes play clothes for the seven von Trapp children out of her bedroom curtains. Only McPhee's mother wore the clothes herself.

No one was surprised when she was cast in the role.

"When I told my family, they said 'oh, how perfect for you,'" McPhee said. "It's really not a stretch for me."

There are both seasoned and new actors in the production. Ross Smith plays Captain von Trapp. Although he hasn't had any musical theatre experience, he is the lead singer for the local band Rhythm Method. But it's been a sharp learning curve.

"I've had to sing in a voice I've never sung in before," Smith said. "I've found memorizing the lines to be beyond anything I've done before."

But Smith has found some common ground with von Trapp.

"I can relate to him. We all go through things in life where we put up a face that masks how we really feel."

The show is taking the music to a new level as well. Instead of the typical piano score that usually accompanies versions of the play, this one is going all out.

"I've turned it into an orchestra," said Fran Booth, the musical director, and the Mother Abbess. Booth, the music teacher at Howe Sound Secondary, stepped into the role as musical director, and hit the ground running.

"I've had to orchestrate every song and dance," she said. She put the soundtrack together on her computer. It usually takes a month to finish, but she did it in four days and nights.

"I literally stayed up straight and did it. It's probably the best I've done."

The crew has been putting together the sets, costumes, props and doing all the necessary preparations.

"Those are all people who work really hard behind the scenes," Polo said. "They're the heroes because they make it happen."

However, despite the hard work, the cast members are excited to present the show.

"I'm thrilled to be telling the story," Smith said.

"This is such a classic story line about the healing power of music," McPhee said.

The show runs Nov. 25-27 and Dec. 2-4 at 7:30 p.m. at the Eagle Eye Theatre. There are matinées at 2 p.m. on both the Saturdays. Tickets are $10 for adults, or $7 for children 12 and under. Advance tickets are available at Billie's Bouquet, or both Squamish Credit Union locations.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks