When it comes to putting on a musical production of The Sound of Music, staff and students at Glenlawn Collegiate are learning to climb every mountain.
The St. Vital-based school — located at 770 St. Mary’s Rd. — will perform the iconic show between March 13 and 15. The gate opens at 6 p.m. and the shows begin at 7 p.m.
"This is a big year for us," said Greg Crowe, a music teacher at Glenlawn who is also the show’s producer and musical director, noting people have a "strong emotional connection" to the story of a young woman who leaves an Austrian convent to become a governess to the seven children of a widowed naval officer.
The Southdale resident said the show marks the school’s 40th anniversary of performing musicals. Not only that, but The Sound of Music was the first show the school showcased in 1973 — and it’s not been done since.
"We have an excellent tradition of music and musical theatre here, so to have the stars align and for us to go back to the starting point is something we needed to do," Crowe said.
Adding to the nostalgia, the sister of the school’s principal — whose name was Karen Barker back then (the principal is Irene Nordheim) — played Gretl von Trapp in the 1973 production and will be returning to watch the show.
The current production involves 53 cast members as well as ushers, sound and light and lighting crews, makeup artists and costume designers to total a team of more than 100 who have been dedicated their time — including after school and Saturdays — to make the show a reality.
"Even when the energy dips — it could be near suppertime or after a tiring day — there’s a team ethic and they pull together. We think we’ll have a real cracker of a show. It’s going to be great," Crowe said.
So why should community members come out and see the show?
‘For the same reason we do everything else — for the students. They’re wonderful people. As a father myself, if this is our future, it’s in good hands," he said.
Grade 12 student Alayna Giguere, who is playing the lead role of Maria, is looking forward to performing in front of audiences.
"I’ve always loved acting, but only since coming to Glenlawn have I got into musical theatre. This is different to straight acting, as there’s more risk and it takes more confidence," said Giguere, who lives in south St. Vital, noting the show contains relatable themes.
"If not personally, people can still relate to the Nazis taking over Germany, because it actually happened. Also, there are the themes of being accepted by family or accepted by God," she said, adding The Lonely Goatherd is the most challenging song because of the yodelling component.
"And it’s fun. The songs are good, the acting is good. It’s a fun show."
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased by calling 204-233-3986.