The hills will be alive with "The Sound of Music" when the production rolls into town on May 24. The reimagined musical takes the stage at Robinson Performance Hall for a limited four-performance run on May 24-26.
The beloved (and true) story of Maria and the von Trapp family features music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II as inspired by "The Trapp Family Singers" by Maria Augusta Trapp. Audiences will be treated to a few of their favorite things like "Edelweiss," "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" and "Do-Re-Mi."
We chatted with cast member Mike McLean — who plays Captain von Trapp — about what it's like to play such an iconic character and the scene he looks forward to every night.
Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from?
Mike McLean: I’m from southern California originally, but I moved to New York City five years ago. I just packed up my car and drove across the country by myself. It was a good move for me. I started working on touring productions about three months after I made the move.
How long have you been touring with "The Sound of Music?"
MM: I started with this show back in August of 2017. I’ve played Captain von Trapp almost 450 times!
What have been some of your favorite roles over the years?
MM: This is the best role I’ve ever gotten to play. First of all, it’s such a beautiful story, and it’s a pleasure to be a part of it in any capacity. But what’s so fulfilling about playing the Captain is that he goes through such a vast transformation. All the great characters of theater, film and literature go through some kind of change. That’s what audiences like to see.
Did you grow up watching the movie with Julie Andrews? How does this differ from the movie?
MM: I’m not sure most people understand that "The Sound of Music" was a Broadway show long before it was ever made into a movie, and changes were made when they moved it to the big screen. Our production is the original version, so there are some songs in different places, some characters are developed more thoroughly and the whole things flow a bit smoother. Even though everyone knows the story, audiences always come away from our production learning something new about the characters and the story in general.
What do you enjoy about playing Captain von Trapp?
MM: I love the way he changes through the play. He starts out a very strict and cold individual, but that all stems from a place of deep pain. He can’t be around his children because they remind him of deceased wife. He won’t allow music in the house because it brings back too many difficult memories. He doesn’t want to be at home. Maria changes all that. He sees his children again for what they really are. He realizes he needs to be there for them.
What do you look forward to each night with this production?
MM: I really do look forward to being at the theater every night. It’s always the best part of my day. Playing the Captain is such a thrill and so fulfilling as an actor. My favorite scene is when the Captain hears his children sing for the first time. It’s his breaking point. It’s a very important moment in his development and I’m just trying to do it justice.
When you’re not touring, what are your favorite things to do?
MM: The first thing I do when I get off the road is cook. It’s therapeutic for me. Eating out for six months in a row can get old very fast.
What are some ways you like to relax while on the road?
MM: Staying healthy on the road is the number one priority. I’m basically a traveling vitamin store. But as far as relaxing goes, I try to work out a few times a week, documentaries help remind me that there is a world outside our little traveling circus of 60 people or so and I have a weekly poker game with some of the cast and crew. Those are a few of my "favorite things."