Listen for ‘The Sound of Music’ at Fort Wayne’s Embassy Theatre

Jill-Christine Wiley as Maria Rainer and the von Trapp children. (Photo by Matthew Murphy)
Keslie Ward as Liesl and Chad P Campbell as Rolf. (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

The Sound of Music is coming to the Fort Wayne Embassy Theatre on Wednesday, January 17 at 7:30 p.m. This live stage musical is similar to the 1965 movie that starred Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, but the audience can expect to hear more songs in this presentation.

Keslie Ward, who plays Liesl in the musical, explained that there will be all the familiar tunes – “My Favorite Things,” “Eidelweiss,” and “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” for example. But the characters Max (who was called Uncle Max in the movie) and Elsa (who is named Baroness Schrader in the film) also will have their own songs in this show.

The current crew of “The Sound of Music” includes about 30 cast members and a number of stagehands and helpers. The tour started August 24, 2017, and is scheduled to end June 10 of 2018. A mix of one-night shows in some towns and week-long productions in other places, Ward said that the travel has not been too taxing. “Our layout’s pretty nice… (we’re) not flying all the time,” she said.

But Keslie Ward is no stranger to music and travel. A native of Dallas, Texas, she was involved with a Peter Pan workshop at the age of 10, and “I was hooked,” she said. Acting provided a creative outlet for the singer who described herself as a ‘shy kid.’

After she received her Bachelor of Music degree from Oklahoma City University, Ward worked with the Disney Cruise Line as part of the singing crew that would give stage performances of Disney medleys during cruises.

Once she got back to New York City from her cruise work, she went to an open call for The Sound of Music. While she had to wait for several months to get the final results, she said. “It’s a process, but at the end of the day it’s worth it if you get that call.”

Called to become Liesl, the oldest daughter of the Von Trapp family, Ward had three weeks of rehearsal with Maria and the children, who currently range in age from 6-13. Costumes were designed by Jane Greenwood, a Tony Award recipient who has costumed many musical productions. Greenwood traveled to Austria for authentic patterns and materials, to give the musical a unique touch.

Ward’s favorite things about being part of the musical include working with the kids (“They give so much energy!” she said) and performing scenes with Chad Campbell, who plays Rolf.

But she also appreciates the travel opportunities this tour gives. “It’s nice to go to cities and small towns that you wouldn’t (usually) think of visiting. People are so nice!” she explained.

When it comes to audience reactions, Ward noted that the actors can’t really see much of what happens in the auditorium. But they can hear them. There are moments when the audience will exclaim, such as when Gretl runs out on stage. But there are also the quiet moments that Ward appreciates. “When it’s really quiet, we know they’re listening,” she said, appreciatively.

EVENT DETAILS

What: Rogers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music

Where: Embassy Theatre

When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 17

Cost: $35-65 plus fees, although Ticketmaster indicated that they might be sold out

Information: click on https://www1.ticketmaster.com/event/050052DD9C9A88B8 or call the Embassy Box Office at (260) 424-5665

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