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Parker: Laguna is alive with 'The Sound of Music'

March 26, 2012|By Kelly Parker
  • The cast sings 'Do-Re-Mi' during a dress rehearsal for 'The Sound of Music' at Laguna Beach High School.
The cast sings 'Do-Re-Mi' during a dress rehearsal… (Photo by Roark Gourley )

I left the Artists' Theatre last weekend, humming and feeling pretty nostalgic.

I had just seen Laguna Beach High School's production of "The Sound of Music,"and I couldn't help but be transported back in time to my own high school days, when I was a "drama kid" and all the world was my stage.

It's been so many years, I'd nearly forgotten that part of my life. My dreams of being an actress never really got much farther than my leading role as Judas (yes, that Judas) in my Catholic school's annual Easter show.

But, my dubious acting skills aside, I spent many hours working behind the scenes on some pretty fun shows. I remember how close a theater cast and crew can become. I remember all the frustration and stress that pops up before opening night, but I also remember how exhilarating it is to hear the thunderous applause and know all the hard work has paid off.

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And it indeed paid off last Friday night for the Park Avenue Players.

Despite my love for musicals, I hadn't seen a high school production since "Godspell" my senior year, more than a decade ago. Since then I've seen numerous stellar shows at places like the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles and the San Diego Civic Theatre.

So I wasn't sure what to expect from the young cast of "The Sound of Music," but by the end of night, I was impressed.

Anchored by the captivating Chandler Davis in the lead role of Maria, the cast ranges in age from teacher Gary Shapiro and Principal Joanne Culverhouse as the baron and baroness, to kindergartner Isabelle Lalouette as the youngest von Trapp child, Gretl. (Isabelle was an adorable scene-stealer, especially notable since the show surely lasted well past her bedtime).

The show largely takes place at Captain von Trapp's home in Austria in 1938, and it is a perfect mix of humor, romance and history. There are bound to be a few serious moments in a story involving Nazis and the German occupation in World War II, but these are balanced nicely with rousing musical interludes.

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