‘Sound’ wows Lutcher crowd

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 29, 2000

DANIEL TYLER GOODEN / L’Observateur / July 29, 2000

LUTCHER – The St. James Community Theater tackles the age old theme offreedom from tyranny in the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic “The Sound of Music.” Opening last night, the theater group has put on an amazingmusical, bringing music, laughter, danger and suspense to the Lutcher High School auditorium.

Chris Fredric, director of the musical, has been involved in River Parishes theater since 1981 when he played an orphan in St. John CommunityTheater’s “Oliver.” At Southeastern Louisiana University Fredric acted inone-act plays and studied directing, acting and communication.

This summer’s production has been more difficult than his other shows, Fredric said. Everything is going well, but this is his first experience atdouble-casting parts. Having such a good response at auditions, Fredricdouble cast all the Von Trapp children and some of the leading nuns of the Nonnberg Abby.

“We did this to get as many kids involved as possible. There was nochoice; all were very talented,” said Fredric.

Working with the kids is a new experience for him as well.

“My first shows were all adults. The last four were high school students.This is my first show with younger kids,” said Fredric.

He hopes the audience will come away from the show with a sense of the importance of freedom at all costs.

“I hope my people convey the importance of freedom in this play. VonTrapp was a millionaire in the 1940’s and gave it all up. Sometimes itgives us goose bumps,” said Fredric.

The play has been going very well, according to Fredric. He attributes itsmooth transition from the script to the stage to his staff.

“This was directed by committee,” he said, referring to Rebecca Foret, Anthony Waguespack, Julie Boudreaux, Yvonne Thomas and others.

Playing the lead is Merritt “Meri” Dornier. She is well suited to take therole of Maria after being active in theater for 11 years. She said the mostfun of this play is working with the kids.

“They’ve grown so much since we started,” said Dornier. She expects theplay to come out very well and hopes “just that we don’t flub up, and (the audience) is glad we did it,” she added.

She joined the Von Trapp children at the St. James Parish Pageant lastweekend. The group performed songs from the play as entertainment forthe pageant audience. “There were a lot of people there, and they all had agood time,” said Dornier.

Playing opposite of Dornier in the role of Captain George Von Trapp is the parish’s own “singing assessor” Glenn Waguespack. He goes a long wayback in the theater by his own confession, acting and directing.

Waguespack prefers acting, though.

“Directing is not fun. It’s a necessary evil and a penance,” he said,smiling. Back on stage again, Waguespack is glad to be doing this play.”Every time I ask ‘why am I putting myself through this again’ and every time there is something that makes it worthwhile,” said Waguespack. Thistime it’s listing to the kids sing, he added.

At dress rehearsal the show was really taking shape. The set designs areexcellently constructed to set the grandeur of the Von Trapp House yet not overshadow the cast. The cast worked comfortably together, interactingon stage as one would expect them to in real life. The songs are a treat,driven by a small orchestra under the direction of Anthony Waguespack.

The show will run this weekend and the next, Aug. 4-6. The Friday andSaturday shows, both weekends, are at 7:30 p.m. The Sunday shows are at2:30 p.m.The parts of the Von Trapp children are played by Tricia Louque and Lauren Duhe as Liesl; Jimmy Dornier as Friedrich; Kara Tramonte and Dianna Duffy as Louisa; Jordyn Keller and Ashlynn Thomas as Brigitta; Ricky Poche Jr.

as Kurt; Brandi Roussel and Meryl Waguespack as Marta; and Clarissa Guidry and Hannah Waguespack as Gretl. The first name will play the partin the first weekend shows.

Other cast members are Mary Agnes Vicknair, Erika Spengler, Terrie Hymel, Kathy Tuson, Irene Poche, Carrie Luersen, Tammi Esposito, Bill Tuson, Tania Bourgeois, Tyler Murray, Toni Detillier, Mike Brooks, Joshua Sylvest, Ken Guidry, Bob Boudreaux, Tammi Esposito, Maria Hymel, Audrey Keller, Camella St. Pierre-Landry, Sally Lear, Elaine Louque, Tricia MarieLouque, Jeanne Waguespack, Charmaine Zeringue, Laurie Luersen, Lindsey Luersen, Matthew Luerson, Rebecca Morgan and George Chachere.

Tickets can be bought at the door on performance nights or purchased at Roussel’s Antiques in Gramercy. They’re priced at $8 for adults and $4 forchildren 12 and under.

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