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North county talent makes a splash in NWS Sound of Music
EVERETT After 30 years of directing drama productions at Arlington High School, Sue Weingarten has recruited some of her former students to act in the new production of The Sound of Music, which Weingarten is directing for the Northwest Savoyards in Everett. She retired from AHS in 2003.
Opening night was Jan. 23 and the PUD Auditorium had a good showing.
I directed the show twice at Arlington, Weingarten said, adding she just happened to run into a former student, Marnie Osterud, on the street in Everett and encouraged her to audition. Osterud then told her she was in touch with another fellow student, Joyce Cooper.
Osterud got the part of Baroness Elsa Schraeder and Cooper plays Sister Berthe.
Ive been trying to keep my fingers in theater, Weingarten said. She directed The Lion in Winter for Sky Theater in Monroe last year and had worked with a former version of the Monroe community theater group before that.
Following the run of Sound of Music Weingarten will step right into rehearsals for another Sky Performing Arts production, The Complete Works of Shakespeare, abridged, with opens March 2. Sky is a combination of two former community theater groups in Monroe. Weingarten will work with another former AHS student in that production Mackenzie Mott. But thats not all. Weingarten will then jump into another production, a short play for the Driftwood Players alternative stage, called The Typist, opening April 22 for a two weekend run.
In her first production for the Northwest Savoyards, Weingarten said she likes the group because they take on challenging material and they always turn out really good. The NW Savoyards are known for productions of Gilbert and Sullivan light opera, but the have also done such dramas as Diary of Ann Frank, and works by Moliere.
They are very nice and they like what I do, she said, adding they selected her to do The Sound of Music after they had scheduled that musical for this year. Referring to the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic as a bit saccharine, she admits that it is always moving.
It gets to me every time.
Her cast has lots of experienced talent, including Laurie Miller who has played the Mother Abbess in three different productions.
Two north Snohomish County residents play in the show, Sierra Price does a very good job playing Marta and Joyce Cooper looks fine as a nun. Another link to this community, Bob Nydegger plays a funny Max Detweiler. Nydegger has been advisor to the AHS drama department for three years, specializing in the technical side of productions in the old AHS auditorium. A behind the scenes assistant stage manager, Steve Feris, who lives in Everett now, was active in Jazzmine while a student at AHS.
He sees himself more as an actor, now, but his singing provided access to the Northwest Savoyards two-and-a-half years ago.
My church choir director, David Spring, was working on The Pirates of Penzance with the Northwest Savoyards and he called me in for a part, Feris said.
I got bit by the bug and have been involved with pretty much every production since.
He played a lead role last summer in the Northwest Musical Theater Companys Guys and Dolls in Stanwood.
A house painter by day, Feris said he was interested in the part of Rolf in The Sound of Music, but saw it as an interim role, so he decided to acquire some back stage experience and asked to be assistant stage manager. In the process of some crew changes, Feris also took on the position of technical director, which was especially challenging, since it was his first time.
But thats all done now, he said, noting once the show starts theres no more to do on that.
I was amazed and pleasantly surprised how well opening night went, Feris said.
We had a great run last weekend. All the scene changes went smooth and the cast was really working as a team, he said, adding he was very impressed the way the cast stepped up helped him with scene changes.
Weingarten, too, is impressed with the people of Northwest Savoyards.
All the cast and management are really nice people, she said.
They are all positive and cheerful with no complaining. The producer, Teresa Boursaw, is calm in the face of stress and not pretentious at all, Weingarten said.
Boursaw supported Weingarten in her effort to move the live orchestra from the front of the stage to behind the set.
Its much better this way, because the music doesnt overwhelm the singers, Weingarten said.
As the run continues, both Weingarten and Feris hope to see a lot of old friends in the audience.
Its a great show, Feris said.
Were all working very hard to please the audience. People should come and check it out.
Weingarten works for holocaust awareness too
Former Arlington High School drama teacher Susan Weingarten is also very active in Holocaust issues, offering educational programs through the Washington State Holocaust Educational Resource Center and in British Columbia as well.
She has traveled in Europe visiting Holocaust sites. She visited a place where 45 Jews in hiding were betrayed and killed at Auswitz and another site where 5,000 Jews died. She plans to spend more time on related projects this fall, after she has completed these three theater productions.
These are the things that I am interested in and I think its really important, Weingarten said.
These opportunities came up and so I thought, why not?