Last spring, a good friend asked where I’d like to go in Europe for the summer. “I’d like to get ‘The Sound of Music’ out of my head forever,” I said. Coincidentally, my friend had ushered at the Willow Lawn Theater for “SOM” back in 1965. So off we went to Salzburg, where much of the movie was set, and to St. Wolfgang, Austria, where Maria and the children rode the cog railway to the top of the Schafberg during the “Do Re Mi” number.
It was, to put it succinctly, a hoot — a commercialized, sometimes crass, but extremely satisfying trip through some of the sites where they filmed the movie that American families love so much. We rode that same cog railway up into the Alps, we stood packed shoulder-to-shoulder with Japanese tourists to see the gazebo where Liesl danced with Rolf, we posed at the fountain where Maria splashed the sculpted horses on her way to the captain’s house, we saw the exterior of the house that was used as the von Trapp home, and we toured the church where the captain and Maria were married.
Not once since we got home have I listened to the CD or watched the movie. I was officially over it. “SOM” no longer had any power over me.
And now the sing-along version is coming to town. You’ve probably heard about this. It played for a year in London and then moved to New York. Now it’s making its way around the country. It’s the same movie, but all the songs are subtitled so those who don’t know all the words — are there such people? — can participate. Costumes are encouraged: there’s always at least one dude who wears a yellow body-stocking with “Ray” across his chest. (Get it? He’s “Ray, a drop of golden sun.”) Plus, lots of people dressed as nuns, Alps and sheep. They hiss the baroness and cheer when the captain tears up the swastika. And they talk to the screen. At a New York screening, when Uncle Max tells the family “I have an announcement! Surprise, surprise!” someone shouted “I’m gay!”
It’s all great fun, much like at the old Biograph screenings of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
I suppose I’ll have to go. How could I not add this unique experience to my “SOM” treasure trove.
But I’ll be damned if I’m going to dress up like some silly sheep. S
“Sing-Along Sound of Music” will be screened at the Carpenter Center June 26 through 29. Tickets cost $10-$20. For information on family and group discounts, call 649-0466. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster outlets or by calling 262-8100.
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