“The Sound of Music” is one of the most beloved musicals of all time. Highlands Lakeside Theatre (HLT) is presenting this phenomenal play from March 26–April 11. The cast is quite large and very talented.

The musical is based on the true story of the Von Trapp Family Singers. The story showcases the personal tale of young postulant, Maria Rainer. It is a story of growth and hope amidst the horrors of wartime Austria in 1938.

The cast is large and very talented and includes as Maria Rainer (Larissa Meagher), Sister Berthe (Megan Nosal), Sister Margaretta (Mariah Alvarez), Mother Abbess (Christi Hagen), Sister Sophia (Angie Saunders), Captain Georg von Trapp (Steve Hagen), Franz (Evan Dressel), Rolf Gruber (Valentine Crow), Elsa Schraeder (Amanda Mercer), Max Detweiler (Peter Pollard), Herr Zeller (Aslan Smith), Admiral von Schreiber (Allan Grosman) and Frau Schmidt (Alasha Mikell).

The von Trapp children include Liesel (Rilian Smith), Friedrich (Giovanni Rae), Louisa (Hailey McDonough), Kurt (T.J. Mercer), Brigitta (Morgan Mikell), Marta (Juliet Nosal) and Gretl (Savannah Mikell).

In addition there are a number of ensemble cast members playing postulants, nuns, soldiers and party guests. The cast is directed by Frank Oberhausen, Tom Staik and Janet Waldron.

Maria is a young postulant at Nonnberg Abbey who is a free spirit and not a good fit with their strict rules and regulations. Mother Abbess decides it best to commission Maria to serve as the governess for seven motherless Von Trapp children.

She finds the Von Trapp home also fraught with dour rules and strict regulations and unhappy children. This is a home without smiles or joy. She transforms their home into one of music and love. Maria wins the hearts of all seven children as well as their widowed father, Captain Von Trapp.

With Mother Abbess’s blessing, and the children’s delight, Maria and the Captain fall in love and marry. When they return home after their honeymoon, they learn that Austria has been taken over by the Nazis.

They flee the country and travel together over the mountains of Switzerland to find safety. They always remember the words of Mother Abbess, “Climb every mountain… till you find your dream.”

“This is my first time on stage,” said Juliet Nosal. She is home schooled and wants to study science and engineering. “We learned dancing and I auditioned and got the part of Marta. It’s a lot of fun.”

“Sister Margaretta is a sweet and kind nun,” said Mariah Alvarez. “I’m excited to have a speaking and singing part. This is the nun I connect to the most.” Alvarez is a student at Valencia College in Orlando, studying theater arts.

“I was in the ensemble in the Addams Family,” said Rilian Smith. “This is my first speaking role. I love the song ’Sixteen going on Seventeen’. I really connected with the other Von Trapp siblings.” Smith is a senior at Sebring High School.

Frank Oberhausen is the director of the play with a huge cast. “I like to do a lot of the big shows, like ‘The King and I’ and ‘Fiddler on the Roof’. This is the third time I’ve directed Sound of Music. Once when it was at the junior college and 21 years ago at HLT.”

There are so many cherished songs including “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” “My Favorite Things,” “Do Re Mi,” “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” “Maria” and the title number, “The Sound of Music.”

Performances are held on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. For ticket information, please visit their website at www.highlandslakesidetheatre.org or call the box office at 863-382-2525.

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