Arts and Entertainment

Bainbridge alive with the sound of music

The seven Von Trapp children and all the nuns have survived “hell week.”

The final days before opening night provide a series of challenges, said Ron Milton, Ovation Musical Theatre’s/a> creative director and the director of OMT’s holiday production “The Sound of Music.”

The troupe has been able to rehearse on the stage at Bainbridge High School only since Saturday, having done the preliminary rehearsals at Bainbridge Commons until now.

Such are the challenges for a “traveling company,” as Milton describes OMT. This show in particular is technically challenging, he said Tuesday night before first dress rehearsal.

With 20 different scene changes, a substanital 150-page score, seven young actors, 200 spike marks and sets that must be rolled in, Milton estimated 3,000-4,000 details that must be considered to produce such a show.

“It’s amazing it actually ever comes off,” Milton said.

Kate Pippinger, who plays the lively Maria Rainer, said the cast is ready.

“We could have pulled it off a week ago,” she said.

It was certainly tight at first dress rehearsal – the curtain opening on a bevy of nuns singing at the convent, led by the heavenly voice of Sharon Acton playing the Mother Abbess.

Pippinger, in her sophomore appearance with Ovation! after playing Laurie in “Oklahoma!,” said “The Sound of Music” is her favorite musical.

“What’s not to like?” she said. “It’s a story of hope, courage, family, love.”

Royce Napolitino is a fan of the Rogers and Hammerstein creation, too. He played Captain Von Tapp nine years ago when it was produced at BPA. At the time, he was living in Kingston. When the Miltons approached him about reprising the role in 2010, he said yes. This time it means a commute from Edmonds where he lives with his wife Heidi, whom he met while playing in “Pirates of Penzance.” They share the limelight in “The Sound of Music” as Heidi plays flute in the OMT orchestra.

“I’ve worked with Ron and Marijane [Milton] before. I was impressed with their dedication, enthusiasm and the level of professionalism they have,” Napolitino said of his decision to take the role.

Two fresh faces on the scene are Todd Hulet, the show’s music director and conductor and Shannin Strom-Henry as costume designer. Hulet fills the job held for years by Corinna Lapid-Munter, who is busy with roles in Seattle of late.

“It’s been an interesting challenge,” Hulet said. “I’m not coming in like I know everything. I’m taking the time to get to know how things have been done and then tweaking.”

Hulet brings a dynamic resume, much of it working with children’s theater. Since moving to Seattle in August, he’s worked with Seattle Children’s Theatre, Redmond Theatre and Seattle Public Theatre.

Keith Brofsky Photos

Top, pictured clockwise, left to right: Celeste deRubertis as Marta, Tate Province as Kurt, Ben Cowan as Freiderich, Taylor Hebert as Liesl, Lesley Lemon as Louisa, Meghan Smith as Gretl, Kate Pippinger as Maria and Lily Lucas as Brigitta. Above, Pippinger and Royce Napolitino as Captain Von Trapp embrace the possibilities.



Ovation! Musical Theatre Bainbridge presents the family musical, “The Sound of Music.” Performances are Dec. 3-19, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15-$24 and are available at Winslow Drug, online at,/a> and by phone at 842-0472. For more information, visit

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