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Highlights: ‘Sound of Music’ opens at Northern Stage

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    Judson Dunne, of Hartland, Vt., takes part in a Northern Stage Youth Ensemble rehearsal for "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." Dunne plays Friedrich von Trapp in their production of "The Sound of Music." (Kata Sasvari photograph)

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 11/20/2019 5:38:18 PM
Modified: 11/22/2019 4:51:26 PM

Between the songs and the dances, a sobering lesson in 20th-century history runs through Rodgers and Hammerstein’s epic musical The Sound of Music.

So before her cast of von Trapp children started rehearsing Edelweiss, Do-Re-Mi, Climb Every Mountain and the other show-stoppers in Northern Stage’s holiday-season production, director Maggie Burrows schooled the younger actors in the ominous backdrop to the love story: Germany’s annexation of Austria in 1938.

“Most of them had already learned about (World War II) itself, one way or another, from school, and about the Anschluss, maybe, from the movie,” Burrows said on Tuesday morning. “Once we established that, among the subjects we talked about was how people are going to have reactions to seeing the Nazi flag, in particular, so we needed to explore what that meant for them as performers.”

During the build-up to this week’s opening of the musical, it meant a lot to 14-year-old Hartland resident Judson Dunne in his preparation to portray Friedrich von Trapp, also 14.

“I’ve learned more than I have in my history classes, as far as World War II,” Dunne said on Monday night. “When you’re trying to act out the emotions, it’s important that you know how your character feels and what the other characters feel about what’s going on around them.

“It shows you every perspective.”

Dunne is one of 12 actors ages 16 and younger who are sharing the roles of six of the seven junior von Trapp children, whose father, Georg, a decorated Austrian Navy captain, spirited them and his new wife, Maria Rainer, into Switzerland as the Nazi noose tightened on Austria. Matt Faucher, who recently performed on Broadway in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, is portraying the family patriarch, while Vermont native Kerstin Anderson plays Maria, as she did in a recent touring production of the musical.

”Stepping into a rehearsal room with people who just came from Broadway is humbling, and at the same time amazing,” Dunne said. “This is a great experience.”

It was an experience for which he didn’t even want to try out.

“I’d auditioned for Matilda last fall, and didn’t get cast, and this year I’d already put a bunch of stuff on hold that I like to do, just to adjust to being a freshman at Hanover High,” he said on Monday. “School work is very, very difficult.”

Then, shortly after Dunne reluctantly auditioned for Friedrich, Northern Stage education director Eric Love called to invite Dunne to his first main-stage production at Northern Stage. It was an offer that Dunne couldn’t refuse, considering the mentorship that Love provided him over the last several years in the company’s youth programs.

“With acting, you don’t get cast 80% of the time,” Dunne said. “The 20% that you do get the call, you take the hint.”

Northern Stage kicks off its production of The Sound of Music this week, with preview performances on Thursday night and Friday night at the Barrette Center for the Arts in White River Junction. The play officially opens on Saturday night and runs through Jan. 5. With 60% of tickets ($17.75 to $32.75 for previews, $17.75 to $57.75 from Saturday on) already sold, the company recommends making reservations now, by visiting or calling 802-296-7000.

Best bets

Aztec Two-Step co-founder Rex Fowler leads the rebooted incarnation of the folk-rock band into the Flying Goose Brew Pub & Grill in New London on Thursday night at 8. To reserve tickets ($25) and learn more, visit or call 603-526-6899.

■The New Hampshire Master Chorale sings the world premiere of Kim Andre Arnesen’s Voices of the Silenced on Friday night at 7:30, at the First Congregational Church of Lebanon. The composition is based on the writings of suppressed and otherwise marginalized people, including the poem Me, in which Lebanon resident Marjorie Moorhead recounts her adaptation to living with AIDS. Admission is $25 to $30.

■The Raqs Salaam Dance Theater ensemble performs its 15th annual showcase of belly dance, folklore and fusion dance on Saturday afternoon at 4, at the Lebanon Opera House. Tickets $25 to $30; visit or call 603-448-0400.

■Veteran folk musician Skip Gorman hosts a “New Hampshire Fiddle Madness” concert on Saturday night at 7:30, at the East Grafton Union Church on Turnpike Road. Granite State fiddle masters joining him are Newport’s Jane Orzechowsky, Alstead’s Randy Miller, Hancock’s Sarah Bauhan, Nelson’s Gordon Peery, as well as Putney, Vt.’s Roger Kahle. Admission by donation.

Theater/performance art

Upper Valley Improv, comedy sketches, Thursday night at 7 at The Skinny Pancake in Hanover. Free.

Holiday Punch!, Modern Times Theater troupe’s Thanksgiving-themed Punch-and-Judy puppet show, Saturday morning at 11 at Grange Theatre in South Pomfret. Admission $8; with limited seating, reservations recommended by calling 802-457-3500 or visiting


Corner House Band, folk/roots, Friday night at 7 at Sunapee Community CoffeeHouse. Admission by donation.

■ Hungrytown duo of Rebecca Hall and Ken Anderson, folk, Friday night at 7:30 at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Upper Valley in Norwich. Tickets $15 in advance (visit, $20 at door.

■Out on a Limb, folk/roots, Saturday afternoon from 2:30 to 5:30 at Brocklebank Brewery taproom on the Tunbridge/Chelsea town line.

■ Wrensong, a cappella concert of sacred, secular songs, Saturday night at 7 at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Norwich. Admission by donation of food or money to Upper Valley Haven.

■Anonymous CoffeeHouse, Saturday night at First Congregational Church of Lebanon. Scheduled performers Chris Rosenquest at 7:30, The Revenants at 8:15, Save Room for Pie (jazz ensemble) at 9. Free.

■Moose Mountain Chamber Musicians, works of Brahms and Dvorak, Saturday night at 7 at First Congregational Church of Thetford. Admission by donation to church maintenance.

■Eric Mintel Quartet, jazz, featuring Vince Guaraldi classics from A Charlie Brown Christmas as well as original compositions, Sunday afternoon at 2 at Chandler Music Hall in Randolph. Admission $5 to $20.

■ Kearsarge Chorale, Faure’s Requiem in D Minor and works of Ola Gjeilo, Will Todd and Eric Idle, Sunday afternoon at 3, at Colby-Sawyer College’s Wheeler Hall in New London. Admission of $5 to $15 benefits chorale programs. To reserve tickets, visit or, in New London, Tatewell Gallery or Morgan Hill Bookstore.

■Upper Valley Chamber Orchestra, Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Sinfonia Antarctica and Maurice Ravel’s Pavane pour une infante défunte on Sunday afternoon at 3, at Lebanon Opera House. Admission $10.

■Seth Bernard, indie folk, Sunday night at 7:30 in upstairs gallery of Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph. Admission by donation.


Herding Cats sets the rhythm and Nils Fredland calls the steps for a contra dance on Saturday night at 8, at Barrett Hall in South Strafford. Admission $8 to $12.

Bar and club circuit

Mad Hazard Band, jazz, bossa nova and blues, Thursday night at 5:30 at the Quechee Club’s Davidson’s Restaurant.

■Singer-guitarist Jason Cann, Thursday nights from 6 to 9 at Harpoon Brewery in Windsor.

■Dr. Tom’s Band, roots-rock, Thursday night at 7 at Windsor Station; Chodus, alternative punk/basement rock, Friday night at 9:30; Folkfaces, rowdy jazz and bluesy roots, Saturday night at 9:30.

■Better Days, classic rock, Friday night at 8 at Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland Four Corners.

■ Baldilocks, rock, Friday night at 9 at Salt hill Pub in Lebanon; Mo’Combo, rock and roots, Saturday night at 9.

■Jes Raymond and Jakob Breitbach, folk/roots, Sunday night at 5 at Harpoon Brewery in Windsor.

■Singer-songwriter Jim Yeager, Monday nights at 6:30 at 506 on the River in Woodstock.

Open mics, jam sessions

Interplay Jazz and Arts hosts monthly jam session, for jazz musicians of all ages and abilities, on Thursday night at 6:30, at Fairlee Town Hall auditorium. Free.

■Jim Yeager hosts open mics on Thursday night at 7 at ArtisTree Community Arts Center in South Pomfret, and on Tuesday night at 8 at The Public House Pub in Quechee.

■Alec Currier’s open-mic at Salt hill Pub in Lebanon, Thursday nights at 8.

■Jam session for fiddlers of all ages and abilities, Friday night at 5:30 at Upper Valley Music Center in Lebanon. Admission by donation.

■Joseph Stallsmith’s hootenanny of Americana, folk and bluegrass, Monday nights at 6 at Salt hill Pub in Hanover.

■Fiddler Jakob Breitbach hosts a jam session of roots music on Tuesday night at 7 at Filling Station Bar and Grill in White River Junction.

■Tom Masterson’s open mic, Tuesday nights at 7 at Colatina Exit.

■Peter Meijer’s open mic, Wednesday nights at 8 at Skunk Hollow Tavern.

David Corriveau can be reached at or 603-727-3304. Send entertainment news to


Hartland teenager Judson Dunne auditioned for the role of Friedrich von Trapp in Northern Stage's cur rent production of The Sound of Music. An earlier version of this story inaccurately described how Dunne was cast.

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