Classic comes to life

first_img• Photo Gallery: The Sound of MusicThe Center Theatre in Whittier will come alive with “The Sound of Music” tonight, as local actors open their season with the much-loved classic play-turned movie. The production is the largest of four scheduled for Whittier Community Theatre this season. One performance, a Sunday matinee on Sept. 16, is already sold out. “We’re so excited,” producer Roxie Lee said. “It’s a 399-seat theater, so it’s hard to sell it out.” “I think the essential feeling of her, you kind of have to maintain,” Pitt said. “But you don’t want to try to imitate anyone else who has done it before.” Hunter, who has worked for 22 years with Whittier Community Theatre and serves as vice president of the board of directors, said this play is unusual for the group in its scale. The production includes more than 35 actors and supporting staff. Many on stage for this year’s musical are children, further complicating rehearsal schedules and logistics. But Hunter said the cast has met the challenges of production beautifully. “It’s the best we can possibly put together on Center Theatre’s stage,” Hunter said. “I think everyone will walk out satisfied and feeling like their money was well spent.” The Whittier Community Theatre, the longest continuously running theater west of the Mississippi River, has been home to actors like Richard and Pat Nixon, who performed with the company before they were married. Actors and stage crew members of the group are unpaid, although members of the orchestra are compensated per performance and directors are also paid. Despite technically being amateurs, board member John Francis said productions are successful because of the passion of those involved. “I’ve found that even though it is a community theater and it’s nonprofessional, we do have people who are pretty darn good,” Francis said. William Crisp, who plays Capt. Von Trapp, said he enjoys the inviting atmosphere at the theater. “It’s a good place to come and develop your talents and to try something you’ve never tried before,” Crisp said. Crisp, 48, lives in Whittier and works for Russ Basset Corp., which designs sheet metal products. He has been acting since childhood. He said families who don’t usually go to plays should consider “The Sound of Music” as a way to spend time together. “There’s something totally different about live theater. There’s a spontaneity and intimacy that you can’t get from a movie.” [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3015 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Lee grew up in Whittier, attending Sierra High School and Whittier College. Although she now lives in Diamond Bar, she considers Whittier and the theater her home. “The exciting thing about this production for me is that most of the people in this show are very local,” she said. The musical will feature songs unique to the stage version of the story, which were not included in the popular 1965 film starring Julie Andrews. “We are doing the original Broadway production,” director Regan Hunter said. “There will be some conflict (with the film) and I think that some people will be scratching their heads, but in the end I think people will say it was really nice.” Tara Pitt will play Maria in the production. Pitt, 30, is a nanny from Huntington Beach who has been working with Whittier Community Theatre since 2002. Playing a nanny on stage is art imitating life, she said, but filling the role of an iconic character can be difficult. last_img read more