When shows come to Boise to tech (for the non-theater geek, that means when they put the talent and the technical crew together on stage to work out the details) we get the treat of seeing its very first performance, and level of talent that might not otherwise perform here.
It’s still rare that Boise gets a first national tour.
That was the case last night at the Morrison Center as the company of the new revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music” opened for three previews before heading to the Ahmanson Theatre in L.A. to officially start the tour.
As a professional journalist and arts writer I wrote an advance story, but because the Boise performances are considered previews, I am prohibited from reviewing. The show tends to change slightly night to night in the preview cycle while the director tweaks things that don't work. So, let’s be clear: THIS IS NOT A REVIEW. Although Seattle’s Kelly Allen was there Tweeting for the 5th Avenue Theatre where the show will play in November.
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I will say that if you’re lucky enough to see it, save your program. There is a lot of young talent on the stage, including Kerstin Anderson who makes her pro debut as Maria and the plucky cast of kids who play the seven von Trapp children. You’re going to want to follow their careers.
Now, as a former professional dancer, I am really disappointed that I don’t know anyone in the cast or crew, because I’d really like to meet everyone. So, that got me thinking about all the Idaho connections in the company. Okay, some are pretty tenuous but you’ll be surprised.
The biggest connection is that the production’s director Jack O’Brien, one of the most lauded and respected in the business, is in a small way responsible for the success of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival.
Both Producing Artistic Director Charlie Fee and Managing Director Mark Hofflund worked under O’Brien when O’Brien was artistic director of San Diego’s Old Globe from 1982-2007. While there he turned it into one of the best regional theaters in the country.
Hofflund worked with O’Brien for 10 “very formative years,” Hofflund says.
“Jack was the kind of mentor you were learning from in fun and engaging ways.”
Through his time as O’Brien’s assistant director, Hofflund worked with Stephen Sondheim, James Lapine, Alan Schneider and many others who went on to become major influences in American theater.
If you want to learn more about O’Brien check out his memoir “ Jack be Nimble.”
• Music director
was just in Idaho withAudra McDonald
, who opened the Sun Valley Summer Symphony season in August. He also was music director for “Light in the Piazza,” directed byBartlett Sher
, who directed plays at ISF from 1992-1999.
• And I even have one:Ashley Brown
(who is fabulous, fabulous, and gave a performance as Mother Abbess that redefines the character. THIS IS NOT A REVIEW) originated the title role of Mary Poppins on Broadway. One of my former dance students Tia Miller, (I taught jazz in Sacramento and at Ballet Idaho in another life) who now goes byTia Altinay
, was in the company. (Proud to say she’s now in “Aladdin
” and is Princess Jasmine’s understudy.)