Sing in the new year: High Desert Opera presents ‘The Sound of Music’

The High Desert Opera will perform Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music” on Friday, Dec. 31, and Saturday, Jan. 8, at Avalon Theatre.

Georg and Maria Von Trapp will be played by James Werner and Sierra Rode.

Liesl Von Trapp will be played by Shannon Reeve, left, and Carissa Russell.

Friedrich Von Trapp will be played by Michael Robinson.

Louisa Von Trapp will be played by Jaime Bourget, left, and Marta will be played by Amber Lively.

Brigitta Von Trapp will be played by Kodi Kirtland, left, and Clarissa Berry.

Kurt Von Trapp will be played by Davis Devereux.

Gretl Von Trapp will be played by Liliana Flanigan, left, and Chloe Noga.

Avalon Theatre soon will be alive with the sound of music.

The High Desert Opera will present Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31, and again at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 8, at Avalon Theatre, 645 Main St.

Adult tickets start at $19. Tickets for seniors and children younger than 12 start at $15. Tickets can be purchased at Roper Music, 136 N. Fifth St., at or by calling 523-9605.

Initially created as a Broadway musical in 1959, “The Sound of Music” was adapted and made into the 1965 film starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. The film won multiple Academy Awards.

In bringing “The Sound of Music” to the local stage, director James Werner cast all local talent, including 10 children to play the parts of the seven von Trapp children. Some of the roles were double cast.

Here is a look at the lead man and woman and the children who will star in the performance as well as some details about the actors who were in the movie “The Sound of Music” released 45 years ago.


MOVIE: Christopher Plummer was the most famous of all the actors in the 1965 film, other than Julie Andrews. Plummer received an Oscar nomination for his role as Leo Tolstoy in 2009’s “The Last Station.”

LOCALLY: High Desert Opera founder James Werner has no Oscar nominations, but he is not a stranger to the stage. Before moving to Grand Junction, he sang on Broadway and in tenor opera roles in the United States and Europe. His next project will be the High Desert Opera’s summer performance of “The Barber of Seville.”


MOVIE: Julie Andrews is one of the greatest musical actresses of all-time, and known particularly for her roles as Mary Poppins and Maria von Trapp. Unfortunately, in 1997 Andrews had throat surgery because of the toll of 30 years of singing. The surgery left her voice permanently damaged.

LOCALLY: Knowing that years of singing be hard on vocal chords, Sierra Rode, 19, is doing her best to prevent damage to her voice. Rode drinks at least eight glasses of water a day, gets plenty of rest every night and takes an intense, hour-long voice lesson weekly. On top of that, Rode tries to warm up her voice three times a week.


MOVIE: Charmain Carr was cast as Liesl, the eldest of the von Trapp children. During filming, she was 21 years old. She later started an interior design company and wrote two books about her experiences as Liesl.

LOCALLY: Shannon Reeve (left), 14, and Carissa Russell, 15, have been cast as Liesl. Neither one plans to write a book as Carr did, but Russell loves writing poetry. Reeve also will play Louisa in some performances.


MOVIE: Nicholas Hammond grew 6 inches during the six-months of filming.

LOCALLY: Michael Robinson, 15, admitted he hasn’t grown at all taller during the months leading up to the three “The Sound of Music” performances.


MOVIE: Heather Menzies-Urich was 15 years old during filming and later appeared in a Broadway play.

LOCALLY: Jaime Bourget (left), 14, has never been to New York City to see a Broadway show, but she has seen the musicals “Seussical” and “Les Miserables.”


MOVIE: Angela Cartwright initially read for the part of Louisa, but went on to get her Brigitta role with her long, dark hair and sassy personality.

LOCALLY: Kodi Kirtland (left), 10, and Clarissa Berry, 11, have been cast as Brigitta. Neither read for another part, and Berry said she was just happy to be cast because she really wanted to be in the show.


MOVIE: The youngest boy in the von Trapp family was played by Duane Chase. After the movie, he went far from the musical world to get a master’s degree in geology and design computer software for geologists.

LOCALLY: Davis Devereux, 12, doesn’t want to be a geologist. Careers he is considering include becoming a ballet director or maybe a music teacher of some kind, particularly of piano, he said.


MOVIE: In an interesting, and perhaps unexpected twist, Debbie Turner became a professional skier and met her future husband at a ski resort.

LOCALLY: Amber Lively (right), 9, has no aspirations of a ski career. In fact, she doesn’t ski. Instead, she likes to sled and build snowmen.


MOVIE: Kym Karath was only 6 years old during filming of “The Sound of Music.” In the scene where all the von Trapp children fall into a river, Karath nearly drowned because she couldn’t swim.

LOCALLY: There will be no rivers in the stage production of the musical, but both Chloe Noga (right), 8, and Liliana Flanigan, 7, said they can swim. Noga also plays Marta in some performances.


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