Aspen’s hills will come alive with ‘The Sound of Music in Concert’ this July |

Aspen’s hills will come alive with ‘The Sound of Music in Concert’ this July

Aspen Music Festival and School, Theatre Aspen to collaborate on latest Rodgers and Hammerstein concert

Alan Fletcher has wanted to bring “The Sound of Music” to the Aspen Music Festival and School for years.

Probably, in part, because the president and CEO of the organization has lived it: His mother, a professional musician, was 16 going on 17 in 1938 when she saw the real von Trapps on their first American tour. She was inspired enough that when she was 17, on her first date with the man who would become her husband and Fletcher’s father, she told him, “I have to have a very large family, all musicians,” Fletcher said.

“Eventually, there were six of us kids, and we are all musicians, and we did indeed go on the circuit and did concerts together. … I often say I owe my life to the von Trapp family,” he said.

This summer, Fletcher will see his wish fulfilled with “The Sound of Music in Concert,” a collaborative show from the Aspen Music Fest and Theatre Aspen on July 25 and 26 in the Benedict Music Tent, according to an announcement released Friday.

The show is three years in the making — that pesky pandemic threw a monkey wrench into plans to produce the large-cast show in 2020 or 2021 — and will be the third concert collaboration in recent years for the two organizations, who have been on a Rodgers and Hammerstein kick of late.

Theatre Aspen and the Aspen Music Fest also collaborated on “The Sweetest Sounds: The Music of Richard Rodgers” in 2021 and a concert rendition of “South Pacific” in 2019, with orchestration from Music Fest instrumentalists and marquee names from the musical theater scene coordinated by Theatre Aspen.

The Rodgers and Hammerstein trend “happened a little bit by accident,” Theatre Aspen Producing Director Jed Bernstein said. The Rodgers concert last year with a cast of four was intended to give audiences their fix at a time when producing a musical that features as many as 20 characters would not have been feasible.

Though it may not have been an intentional series, Bernstein and Fletcher agree that the music of Richard Rodgers is primed for the collaborative efforts between Theatre Aspen and the Music Fest.

“It’s really, I think, a perfect show for the music festival and ourselves to be collaborating on,” Bernstein said. “It’s obviously a very famous musical, but it also has a score that, as musicals go, is rather operatic, and I think will benefit from hearing a highly skilled, large group of musicians playing.”

Aspen, too, seems like just the right place to proclaim that the hills are alive with “The Sound of Music,” Bernstein said.

“When you talk about a story that happens in a mountain town, it seems very appropriate for it to happen in Aspen,” he added.

Casting has yet to be announced, but the shorter run of the summer concert productions (and, likewise, of winter cabarets) has allowed Theatre Aspen to recruit Broadway performers who might not otherwise be able to tuck away to Aspen for the entire season.

Theatre Aspen also plans to round up some local talent for this summer’s concert by casting Roaring Fork Valley youth in roles as some of the von Trapp children, according to Bernstein. More information on that audition process will be announced later this year, he said.

The production will be similar to that of “South Pacific,” with both the orchestra and vocalists on stage at the Music Tent, according to Fletcher and Bernstein. Audiences can expect some costuming, staging, choreography and props, though not quite to the extent of a typical musical production over at Theatre Aspen’s Hurst Theatre.

Tickets will go on sale in April through the Aspen Music Festival and School box office by phone (970-925-9042) and online at Tickets for adults will be available at $50 and $110 price points; there will be $30 children’s seats available for kids ages 12 and younger will be available while supplies last.

A limited number of $500 tickets that include premier seating and a post-show cast party on July 25 also will be available. Nancy and Chuck Wall provided underwriting support for the show, a release states.

The Music Fest plans to announce its full summer season Feb. 2; Theatre Aspen’s summer lineup will come out this spring, according to public relations reps for the organizations.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the capitalization of the von Trapp family name.

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