Mother Superior, played by Joselen Fielder,  sings “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” in a scene with Maria, portrayed by Tessa Bessette. Melissa Haubert also  is cast as Maria.

Mother Superior, played by Joselen Fielder, sings “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” in a scene with Maria, portrayed by Tessa Bessette. Melissa Haubert also is cast as Maria.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


‘The Sound of Music’ promises to entertain at North

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published November 19, 2019

 Bessette, as Maria,  interacts with the children during a scene.

Bessette, as Maria, interacts with the children during a scene.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — Rodgers And Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music” is a beloved story based on the Von Trapp Family Singers, who fled Austria in the late 1930s on the brink of World War II.

The stage production — made into the 1965 film starring Julie Andrews as Maria, a nun who falls in love with Captain Von Trapp, played by Christopher Plummer — has been performed all over the world with memorable songs including “Do-Re-Mi” and “So Long, Farewell.”

Now it’s time for the Grosse Pointe North High School Drama Club to tell the Von Trapps’ story. The cast will perform “The Sound of Music” at the Christian A. Fenton Performing Arts Center this month. Showtimes are 7 p.m. Nov. 21-22, and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Nov. 23.

Parcells Middle School theater teacher Sean Kifer is directing the show, and Kifer feels that the cast is well-prepared for opening night.

“We’re good,” he said. “We’re ready to go.”

With the songs “My Favorite Things,” “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” and “Edelweiss,” Kifer believes “The Sound of Music” is still popular with audiences after so many years because it’s about love, acceptance and family.

“They are things we can all relate to. Act 1 is about love and learning to love for a lot of the characters,” Kifer said. “Act 2 is about survival. That’s when the Nazis have taken over Austria. It’s the Von Trapps escaping and surviving.”

Kifer said one reason “The Sound of Music” was chosen to showcase this fall was because of the number of talented female singers who auditioned. The show has one cast, but because there were so many female singers, two different Marias were cast.

Senior Tessa Bessette will perform the 7 p.m. shows Nov. 21 and Nov. 23. Senior Melissa Haubert will play Maria at the 7 p.m. Nov. 22 and 2 p.m. Nov. 23 performances. Senior George Graham was cast as Captain Von Trapp in all the performances.

“He’s an interesting character. He starts off very stern,” Graham said. “As the music starts to come back into his home, it brings so much joy.”

Graham’s favorite scene is when his character sings the song “The Sound of Music.”

“He hears his children singing it,” Graham said. “He’s so moved. He can’t help but to join in.”

For Bessette, her favorite scene is when Maria leaves the abby to become the governess for the Von Trapps while singing “I Have Confidence.” For Haubert, her favorite part is the opening scene. Bessette, Haubert and Graham are all huge fans of “The Sound of Music.”

“It kind of left an impression on me,” Graham said. “The songs are so enjoyable. The songs are so easy to sing with.”

“It’s just such a beautiful story,” Bessette said. “I loved the way Julie Andrews played Maria. When I got the chance to play her, I was so excited. She’s such a fun character. She’s very three-dimensional.”

“She’s a very fun person,” Haubert said. “You can see she loves to sing. She loves to dance. She finds a lot of meaning in music. Everyone loves Julie Andrews. She does such a great job with it.”

In the show, the Mother Abbess is portrayed by Joselen Fielder, Elsa Schraeder is portrayed by Abby Simcox, and Max Detweiler is portrayed by Phillip Solis.

Cori Kallahan is the choreographer, and Mackenzie Driscoll is the assistant choreographer. Leslie Saroli is the music director. The orchestra, featuring North students, is conducted by Noah Zogas.

Tickets for “The Sound of Music” have three pricing tiers, none higher than $15, and are available at the website gpndrama club.com, at the door and at Wild Birds Unlimited, 20381 Mack Ave. in Grosse Pointe Woods. Gold Cards are welcome. The Christian A. Fenton Performing Arts Center is located inside North High School at 707 Vernier Road.