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Bath Light Operatic Group make a welcome return to the Theatre Royal Bath to present one of the most famous musicals of all time, THE SOUND OF MUSIC from Tuesday 20 November to Sunday 25 November.  This all-time favourite, family show is filled with a host of well-loved songs including Climb Every Mountain, The Sound of Music, My Favourite Things, Sixteen Going on Seventeen, Do-Re-Mi and Edelweiss.

The Sound of Music is based on the true story of the singing Von Trapp family.  Set in 1938, it tells the story of Maria, a free-spirited nun who is hired by Captain Von Trapp to care for his seven children.  The Captain and Maria eventually fall in love and marry, but their happiness is shattered when the Nazis invade Austria. The family’s narrow escape over the mountains to Switzerland on the eve of World War II provides one of the most thrilling and inspirational finales ever presented in the theatre.

The Sound of Music started life as a Broadway show in 1959.  Before opening the musical had accumulated the largest advance sales in the history of the Broadway theatre, and during its first two years in New York there was never an empty seat in the house.  The show starred Mary Martin and marked the final epoch-making collaboration between composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II.  The musical came to the London stage in 1961 and when the film version of The Sound of Music opened in the mid-sixties it became the number one box office hit of all time, bringing Julie Andrews to international stardom.  The soundtrack album sold over 20 million copies and was still in the charts over 25 years after it was first released.

Bath Light Operatic Group (BLOG) presents a 40-strong company in The Sound of Music with cast members aged between 5 to 82 years performing on stage at the Theatre Royal.  The cast will wear a total of 180 costumes during the show and the orchestra for this production features 20 musicians. BLOG draws its cast members from across the local region with performers hailing from Bath, Bristol, Bradford–on-Avon, Trowbridge, Saltford, Radstock and the surrounding area.  Rehearsals for the musical have been underway since June.

Rebecca Henderson plays the role of Maria. After joining BLOG in 2004, some of her many roles with the company include Milly in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Erma in Anything Goes and Lorraine in 42nd Street. By day, Rebecca teaches dance and drama at Matravers School in Westbury.

Geoff White will reprise the role of the Captain Von Trapp, which he last performed in The Sound of Music at the Theatre Royal Bath in 2002. One of Geoff’s earliest memories of attending the theatre was watching his mother play the role of Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music at the Theatre Royal in 1971.  Geoff’s numerous roles for BLOG at the Theatre Royal include playing Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast and Pirelli in Sweeney Todd.

The Sound of Music was first performed by the Bath Light Operatic Group in 1971, and again in 1980 and 2002.  Familiar faces in the cast include, Margaret Wiltshire, who will be reprising the role of Fraud Schmidt, a part that she played over 40 years ago; whilst Sarah Phillips and Jacquie Buck will be re-creating their roles of 10 years ago, when they play Mother Abbess and Elsa Schreader.  Sarah will be joined on stage for some of the performances by her daughter Mollie Phillips who is sharing the role of Marta Von Trapp.

The roles of the Von Trapp children will be performed by 13 talented youngsters, 12 of whom will share 6 roles throughout the week, each appearing in 4 performances. Chosen from over 180 children who auditioned to take part in this production, the children are aged between 5 and 12 years. Marta will be played by Mollie Phillips and Maisie Humphries; Gretl is played by Sophie Feierabend and Hollie Roberts; Kurt is performed by George Tucker and Oliver Swales; Brigitta is played by Jessica Finch and Lily Edwards; Louisa is played by Lauren Cheshire and Martha Clements; and Freidrich is played by James Mayger and Ben Cooper. The role of Liesl will be played by 21 year old Sophie Baxter.

Over 50 years on from its Broadway opening, the classic family musical remains as popular as ever.  Andrew Lloyd Webber opened a new production of The Sound of Music in the West End in 2003, followed by a major UK tour.  Revived on Broadway in 1988, the musical has also attracted a cult following through a “sing-a-long-a” version of the film, which encourages audiences to dress up as characters from the film and sing-a-long karaoke style.  Sing-a-long-a Sound of Music has toured to Bath several times and proved extremely popular with Theatre Royal audiences.

On Friday 23rd November at 8pm, for one-night only, Bath Light Operatic Group will stage their own SING WITH BLOG NIGHT, when they will display the song words on surtitles and invite the audience to sing along. Musical director Matthew Finch will be in costume for the occasion and the audience members attending the Sing With Blog Night are invited to dress up as their favourite character.

Director David Tucker was a founder member of the acclaimed Stothert & Pitt Drama Group, later to become Bath Phoenix Players. Since the mid-1970s he has split his time between performing and directing, working with a number of theatre groups across the region. Jilly Kelly returns as choreographer. Musical Director Matthew Finch will conduct the orchestra.  A teacher of Music Theatre and Singing at the City of Bath College, Matthew has worked with BLOG on many occasions, most recently on their productions of Beauty and the Beast in 2011, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers in 2010 and Sweeney Todd in 2009, all at the Theatre Royal Bath.

Bath Light Operatic Group celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 2011. BLOG first performed at the Theatre Royal Bath in 1956 when they staged The Geisha.  Over the years the group has achieved much critical success, winning Evening Post Rose Bowl Awards for Pickwick, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, West Side Story, Kiss Me Kate and Barnum.  Recent productions include Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and Sweeney Todd (which won the N.O.D.A Award for Excellence).

THE SOUND OF MUSIC appears at the Theatre Royal Bath from Tuesday 20 November to Sunday 25 November.  Tickets are available from the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844 or online at www.theatreroyal.org.uk

http://www.bathlightoperaticgroup.co.uk