Lucille Ball Little Theatre of Jamestown's upcoming production will use a combination of old and new.
With costumes from across the ocean, a dress from many decades gone, and a cast featuring children and adults, the community theater's production of "The Sound of Music" will not lack distinguishing characteristics.
Julie Cotter, who plays Maria Rainer, will wear a wedding dress purchased in 1939 by Astrid Edwardson, a former Jamestown High School business teacher. The dress originally cost $53.90.
Lucille Ball Little Theatre rehearses for its upcoming production
Jacquie Benson, a seamstress, picked the dress up at a household sale and asked director Helen Merrill if the theater could use it. It came with Edwardson's satin slippers, leather gloves and a veil with wax flowers.
Several of the show's dresses came directly from Austria. Cast member Grace Auer has family members there who loaned the theater the clothing.
The production also features 13 children, ranging in age from 5-17. More than 50 children auditioned.
Julie Cotter, left, is Maria Rainer and Marie Crandall is Mother Abbess in the Lucille Ball Little Theatre’s production of “The Sound of Music,”?which opens Friday and will run through Sunday, May 20.
P-J photo by Scott Shelters
Running a production that includes both children and adults can be an interesting job, according to Mrs. Merrill.
"It's hard to find shows that are geared toward mixed audiences," she said. "'The Sound of Music' is such a classic, and it had been a while since we had done it. This cast has worked very well together. The kids have behaved."
The children have nine costume changes during each show.
What: ''The Sound Of Music''
When: Friday; Saturday; Thursday, May 17; Friday, May 18; and Saturday, May 19, at 8 p.m.; Sunday and Sunday, May 20, at 2 p.m.
Where: Lucille Ball Little Theatre, 18 E. Second St., Jamestown
How much: $20
For more info: 483-1095
Katie Jaroszynski, an 11-year-old Falconer Central School student, is among the baker's dozen of child performers. She has performed in a few Little Theatre productions and has enjoyed her time preparing for "The Sound of Music."
"I like that there's a lot of kids," she said. "We've all gotten really close. It's a really fun show."
Katie particularly enjoys performing "Do-Re-Mi." Carla Kayes, who plays Elsa Schraeder, enjoys sharing the stage with people of all ages.
"I love it," said Kayes, who has performed at Little Theatre for 20 years. "The children are wonderful. What I like about performing the most is I get to be someone else. I've been many characters over the years. It's the challenge ... it's creating that world, that person. I feel it's a challenge to play characters like this that are so well known."
Merrillie Schmidt is a Little Theatre newcomer in some respects. As the vocal coach, this is her first Little Theatre production. The former Frewsburg High School music teacher has gone to many shows, however.
"I've wanted to (be involved with Little Theatre) for years," she said. "I was so busy while I was teaching music. I love the people, I love the music, I love the kids. Helen keeps the whole thing in her head and knows where everyone is supposed to be all the time."
What Mrs. Merrill doesn't keep in her head she writes down. She had busy hands during a recent rehearsal, making notes on her performers' movements. She gathered the cast at the end of the night for a debriefing.
The cast and crew have plenty to remember. The show's first act features 13 scene changes, and the second features seven.
As always, polishing a production has its challenges, particularly when performers have day jobs, classes and more to worry about.
"My biggest problem with community theater is that everyone is so busy these days," Mrs. Merrill said. "There are so many conflicts. I often laugh because professionals don't have to do this."
In addition to the on-stage entertainment, the theater's lobby features a showcase of Austrian items and a photo of Edwardson in the wedding dress.
Also, a 12-room birdhouse built by Norm Merrill will be raffled off to off-set theater costs. Tickets will be sold throughout each of the shows, and the winning ticket will be drawn at the final show.
"The Sound of Music" will open Friday at 8 p.m. Additional shows will be held Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m.; Thursday, May 17, at 8 p.m.; Friday, May 18, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, May 19, at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, May 20, at 2 p.m. Visit lucilleballlittletheater.org or call 483-1095 to order tickets.
The cast and crew also includes Kenzie Sandberg, Cameron Hurst, Sean Dudenhoeffer, Olivia Gren, Liam Crandall, Bradley Brown, Hannah Doughty, Reece Beaver, Christina Peppy, Joselyn Brown, Mary Gerace, Mary Crandall, Lillian Ney, Kait Ames, Lindsay Saullo, Rebecca Young, Amie Adams, Laurel Finson, Paulette Ziemba, Tara Chase, Alisha Perrone, Melanie Shely, Matt Jones, Scott Cummings, Malachi Livermore, James Foley, John Finson, Steven Pullan, Tim Dohl, Robert Paul, Billy Paul, Lucille Miller, Tiffany Wakeley Heitzman, Rich Hartling, Janice Merrill, Aubin Gren, Joy Hurst, Basil Gedz, Doug Gray, Kathy Ames, Gail Galbato, Cathy Perrone, Tracy Doughty, Kristie Peppy, Gina Gerace, Sally Jaroszynski, Sam Galbato, Pat Anderson, Sandy Merwin, Kristie Greenstein, Delores Scott, Heather Young, Jacquie Blackwood, Kathy Black and Kristie Peppy.