Maurie Tarbox has researched “The Sound of Music” so thoroughly that she knows what toy Gretl carries with her as the family escapes Hitler’s Anschluss.
“The script calls for a doll, but we know the family escaped having only a couple of suitcases and her teddy bear,” said the director of CenterPoint Legacy Theatre’s production of the beloved musical. “My hope is that (by) doing these little things, those associated with the production and those who attend will feel that CPT has delivered another wonderful version of ‘The Sound of Music.’ ”
Tarbox explained her efforts to relate the story as accurately as possible.
“I've tried to tell the true story of the von Trapp family and still respect the brilliant team of Rodgers and Hammerstein,” she said. “We've tried to be authentic in props, costuming and character development.”
And she can easily articulate the differences between the original stage version, which debuted on Broadway in 1959 and continues to be staged around the world, and the 1965 film adaptation. With the movie’s shift to a more primary focus on Maria and her romance with Captain von Trapp, a more complete understanding of characters is lost, Tarbox explained, and these changes affect audiences’ perceptions.
“The stage production gives us a deeper look into the suffering of Captain von Trapp through the loss of his wife and mother of his seven children, and his convictions about the war,” she said.
Additionally, “Rolf is portrayed as a traitor in the movie but is not in the stage version,” Tarbox said. “I have tried to direct his role as a young man without having much of a choice in joining the Third Reich. In fact, in 1938, most of the young people had no idea what was about to happen.
“I believe Rolf is the epitome of what happened to thousands of young men during World War II. These young men just wanted to find happiness and fall in love. Many did not get that chance.”
Two original songs — “How Can Love Survive?” and “No Way to Stop It,” sung by Elsa Schrader, the captain’s initial love interest, and Max Detweiler, the captain's friend — were also removed from the film adaptation. “Many audience members will have never heard these songs,” Tarbox said.
“We see that Elsa is not the unkind person the movie portrays,” she said. “She is a business woman who sees clearly that their relationship will not work because of the captain’s political convictions.
“Max is the true and loyal friend of the von Trapp family. He tries to help keep the family safe. He does try to persuade the captain to just go along easily, but in the end, he warns them of their possible fate.
“I'm hoping the audience will see the great friendship between the two men and realize there were business women who were smart and strong in being able to break off a relationship that was not going to benefit anyone in the end.”
If you go ...
What: CenterPoint Legacy Theatre’s “The Sound of Music”Comment on this story
Where: Davis Center for the Performing Arts, 525 N. 400 West, Centerville
When: March 3-29
How much: $17-$21
Tickets: 801-298-1302 or centerpointtheatre.org