January 31, 2013

Off Beat: Do re MI 'Sound of Music' Sing-A-Long

Break out the lederhosen, warm up the vocal cords and get ready for some interactive audience fun with Friday’s ‘Sing-A-Long-A Sound of Music.’

By Ray Routhier rrouthier@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Does the perky, pure-of-heart Maria make you want to cheer?

click image to enlarge

click image to enlarge

Scenes from “The Sound of Music.” Generations have grown up with the movie, seeing it on TV, video or DVD long after its theatrical release.

20th Century Fox


WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday

WHERE: Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle St., Portland


INFO: 842-0800; portlandovations.org; porttix.com


Do you feel like booing every time you see the Nazis trying to ruin the lives of Maria and her newfound family? Do you hiss when you see the smarmy baroness trying to steal the love of Maria's life?

If you answered "yes" to the above -- if the film "The Sound of Music" makes you want to cheer, boo and run through Alpine meadows while singing about goatherds -- then Portland Ovations has the perfect show for you.

It's called "Sing-A-Long-A Sound of Music," and it's scheduled to play Portland's Merrill Auditorium on Friday.

"Sing-A-Long-A Sound of Music" is a touring event that not only allows people to sing along with the 1965 film version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's classic 1959 musical, it actually encourages audience members to cheer and boo at key moments.

Fans are instructed to wave props like bits of edelweiss and pieces of curtain fabric, to dress like the film's characters, and to even pop confetti into the air when Maria and Captain Von Trapp kiss for the first time.

"It's basically like 'Sound of Music' meets 'Rocky Horror Picture Show,' " said Erin Schwab, a singer and performer who serves as the event's on-stage host. "There are things to yell out at certain times, things to hold up, just a lot of audience interaction."

Not to mention that the lyrics will be printed on the movie screen, so there will be no excuse for anyone to not sing along. "Even the Latin lyrics, for that scene in the church, are written out for everyone," said Schwab.

"The Sound of Music" has a built-in audience, given that generations of folks grew up watching the movie on TV, video or DVD, and already know all the lyrics. The film, which won the Best Picture Oscar in 1966, starred Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer and featured such classic songs as "My Favorite Things," "Do-Re-Mi" and the title tune.

Many, many folks already have a very strong attachment to the film.

"My mother had the (soundtrack) album, and I knew all the songs before I ever saw the movie," said Kristen Crean, 42, of Portland. "Then we went to see it (in the late 1970s) at the Magic Lantern in Bridgton. When I saw it up there on a big screen, it was so beautiful, I started crying."

Crean said when she goes to see it on Friday, she'll be singing, in full voice, along with everyone else.

Maryann Donahue, 44, also of Portland, remembers being enthralled with the children in the film when she was a child. Now she's looking forward to seeing it at the Merrill and singing along with lots of people who have the same enthusiasm for "The Sound of Music" as she does.

"I think it's going to be fun to be with a whole group of people who feel the same way about it," said Donahue.

The event begins with Schwab helping people warm up their vocal chords. She will describe the various times when they might all cheer, or boo, or yell "Look behind you," and key stuff like that.

She also explains the contents of a goody bag given to each audience member, and how to use them. The contents include a bit of edelweiss to be waved when the song of the same name is sung, and a piece of fabric to hold up while Maria is trying to figure out how to make clothes for all the children. ("The curtains! They're right behind you!").

Then the movie begins, and the singing and interaction starts. There is an intermission and a costume contest, so the entire event might last for about four hours.

The sing-along show has been touring since 1999, and in other cities people have dressed as nuns, goat herds and "girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes."

Aimee Petrin, executive director of Portland Ovations, said the performing arts presenter wanted to bring the sing-along to Portland because it seemed like a good combination of quality entertainment with the right amount of silliness.

"Sometimes we take ourselves a little too seriously in terms of the presentation of the arts, but this seemed like something totally fun and silly we could do," said Petrin.

"Plus, we figured by February, people would be a little stir crazy and need to blow off some steam."

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:


Twitter: Ray Routhier

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