The chemistry ought to be bubbling nicely between Maria Rainer and Capt. Von Trapp in the Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre’s version of “The Sound of Music.”
That’s because they’re married.
Jessica Skerritt-Stokinger plays the young novice of “how-do-you-solve- a-problem-like-Maria” fame, while Dane Stokinger is the stern widower of “Edelweiss” fame.
Last season, when they appeared together in “Pump Boys and Dinettes” these two talented CdA Summer Theatre stalwarts were engaged. Since then, they have tied the knot.
This theatrical power couple will anchor a veteran cast including Julie Powell as the Mother Abbess, Tamara Schupman as Sister Berthe, Reed McColm as Herr Zeller, Krista Kubicek as Elsa Schraeder and Patrick Treadway as Max Detweiler. They’ll also lead a group of youngsters playing the exuberant and tuneful Von Trapp children.
And, of course, they will all be singing one of the most beloved scores ever written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, which is the same thing as saying: one of the most beloved scores, period.
The list of songs is almost like a list of favorite, to use a famous phrase, things. Everybody has their own top choice:
• “My Favorite Things,” a lyrical confection evoking raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens and an actual confection (“crisp apple strudels”), all in a melody that inspired both John Coltrane and the Notorious B.I.G.
• The soaring title song, in which the hills come alive with “The Sound of Music.”
• “Do-Re-Mi,” a sprightly lesson in basic musical theory.
• “Sixteen Going On Seventeen,” the catchy coming-of-age tale.
• “So Long, Farewell,” one of the most cheerful goodbyes in musical theater.
• “Edelweiss,” Rodgers and Hammerstein’s homage to Alpine folk traditions.
• “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” the show’s glorious, inspirational high point – kind of like a Rodgers and Hammerstein power ballad, Mother Abbess-style.
These songs will be backed by a 19-piece pit orchestra, directed by Steven Dahlke. Also, the 16-voice Coeur d’Alene Sweet Adelines will make a guest appearance, which should give the nuns’ choral numbers some extra vocal punch.
And the story? Generations of reviewers have branded “The Sound of Music” as syrupy and sugary, including critic Walter Kerr, who, on opening night in 1959, said it was “too sweet for words.”
Yet it’s worth recalling that the musical is not just about cute kids in matching outfits. It’s also about the perils of fascism and a harrowing escape from Nazism.
This will be the CdA Summer Theatre’s fourth production of “The Sound of Music,” having previously presented it in 1971, 1983 and 1994.
The director is Portland’s Kirk Mouser, a Broadway tour veteran who directed the CdA Summer Theatre’s “Les Miserables,” “Miss Saigon” and “Hairspray.”