Stephens Auditorium to come alive with “The Sound of Music”


Courtesy of Stephens Auditorium

Maria singing with the von Trapp children in “The Sound of Music.”

Emily Urban

“The Sound of Music” is set to dance its way to Stephens Auditorium 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

The musical is the winner of the Tony, Academy Award and the Grammy for Best Score. The musical has captivated audiences since 1959 with its movie adaption released in 1965 to critical acclaim.

“The Sound of Music” is based off of the true story of a family who escaped the Nazi annexation of Austria. The musical follows a nun in training, Maria, as she is sent to look after the seven children of the Von Trapp family.

The advantages to taking on a show many know and love are many. The actors on stage can hear the audience sing along to favorites such as “Do-Re-Mi” and “My Favorite Things.” Christina Tompkins is the female swing, assistant company manager and understudy for nine roles. Tompkins said there are always new things about the musical even the cast discovers.

“I think the biggest advantage is that most people, someone in your family have seen it and when we come to town we bring a show that maybe your grandmother knows or you parents know and they want to introduce it to their children or their grandchildren,” Tompkins said. “It is exposing this really wonderful story, based on a true story, to a lot of people.”

However, there are also a few challenges to putting on an iconic, large production. The musical tells the Von Trapp’s story in a more political, in-depth way than the well-known movie version. A few songs are placed at different parts of the show and the overall feel of the musical less romanticized.

“I would say our version is more cinematic,” Tompkins said. “We never go to a full black out on the stage. Everything moves really really well. It is a fantastic and a really fresh take on the ‘Sound of Music.’ It doesn’t rely on just, ‘oh the kids are singing and Maria is singing.’ We are telling the story and the set is beautiful. I think that is one of the big things.”

Tompkins’ second job with the production is as the assistant company manager. While she has been with the show since 2017, she took on this role August 2018. She organizes travel for the production of 65 people around the country, budgeting for transport via airplane, charter bus or even rental cars.

“The challenging part is really going from city to city every day,” Tompkins said. “We have a mountain. We have Maria. We have the Von Trapps. If the nuns sing and we defeat the Nazis then we have the best show.”

The production transports their own lights, sound, and set to the venue by 7 or 8 a.m. depending on the show time. A crew of 15 people set up the show until the cast arrives at the venue around 4 to 5 p.m. When traveling on buses, they have a sleeper bus, four flat-beds and charter buses.

“It is a really interesting way to look at the business side of it and learning about how much it take to put on a show,” Tompkins said. “How much money everything costs.”

“The Sound of Music” shows at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Stephens Auditorium. The north doors open at 6:45 p.m. and the south doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the box office, Ticketmaster or over the phone. A pre-show dinner is available for this performance.