Upper School Musical Combines Talents of Visual and Performing Artists

by St. Andrew's Communications Staff
Attendees of this year’s winter musical, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music,” will see that the cast and crew have put as much care into the look of the musical as they have into the acting, singing, and dancing.
As the audience enters MacDonald Hall this weekend – show times are tonight at 7:30 p.m., tomorrow at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m. – they will see canvases depicting landscapes of meadows and mountains and cityscapes of Salzburg. The paintings were commissioned to students in the Advanced Painting class as an opportunity to bring their talents to the theater.
 
“Before this, I had only drawn on sketchbooks that are no bigger than B5 paper, or small postcards. Trying to sketch a small picture of the Alps and putting water color on the muslin was hard but fun,” said Penny Wang ’20, who painted a mountain scene. “I felt very excited when I finished it. To be honest, I love to hear people praising how pretty the drawing is.”
 
Ritchie Porter, drama teacher and the show’s director, said the canvases will help immerse the audience in the experience of watching “The Sound of Music,” which many associate with the visuals of the 1965 film adaptation of the musical.
 
“We would like to honor those expectations, and the landscape of Austria certainly affords us opportunities for larger artistic endeavors,” Porter said. “We thought we’d expand the visual aspects of the show from the confines of the set and into the audience space of MacDonald Hall.”
 
On stage, crew members have collaborated on large drops and panels capturing iconic locations in the show, including the bright yellow entrance to the Villa Trapp.
 
“For all of the drops or flats I helped paint, I learned a lot about technique, like the proper way to cut an edge or how to do dry brush texture,” said crew member Hannah Bucher ’21. “I found that the most rewarding thing was gaining a new hobby and self-discovery. I have found that making these large drops or flats come to life gave me this feeling of joy and pride.”

For Jenny Freedman ‘19, painting a large panel of the Salzburg cityscape was an opportunity to diversify her portfolio.

“I really enjoyed creating a scenic landscape, which differs from my typical art style,” she said. “The size of the canvas was difficult to tackle at first, especially because it is more than two feet taller than me, but I was able to make major strides through base layers and, later on, adding details.”
 
Long a favorite, “The Sound of Music” tells the story of Maria Rainer, a spirited young woman training to be a nun, who finds herself as the governess of the motherless seven von Trapp children. Soon she brings music and joy to their lives, over the initial protests of their strict father, Captain von Trapp.
 
The Broadway version offers several songs not featured in the 1965 film. Two numbers written for the movie, “I Have Confidence” and “Something Good,” are included in St. Andrew’s production, which features close to thirty actors and a student stage band.
 
Tickets will be sold at the door, $3 for students and seniors, $5 for alumni and $7 for adults. Admission will be free of charge to students during the Saturday matinee, as the school will be hosting student reviewers from the Cappies.
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St. Andrew’s Episcopal School is a private, coeducational college preparatory day school for students in preschool (Age 2) through grade 12, located in Potomac, Maryland.