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When the curtain rises on Bozeman and Gallatin high schools’ performance of “The Sound of Music,” one of the first scenes to greet the audience will be of Maria twirling against a backdrop of the Bridger Mountains.

Instead of the Swiss Alps, the mountains in Bozeman’s backyard will serve as the backdrop for the two schools’ performance of the iconic musical, which is scheduled to run from Thursday evening through Sunday.

While the schools did two shows last year in the fall and spring, this will be the first show since the start of the pandemic that is open to the public instead of limited to family members or streamed online.

“We decided that the hills are alive with music in Bozeman, Montana,” said Stacie McKiernan, the musical’s director and theater teacher at Gallatin High. “… That was kind of the motif that we could have live music again in our community.”

When considering what musical to do, McKiernan said the students were also looking for a musical that uses a full, live orchestra and was a popular one for audience goers.

The Sound of Music Play

Rolf Gruber, played by Jude Wolfe, takes the hand of Liesl von Trapp, played by Ruby Mauro, during rehearsal for "The Sound of Music" on Nov. 9, 2021.

The Sound of Music Play

Maria Rainer, played by Logan Sigler, center, sings to the von Trapp children during a lighting storm in rehearsal for "The Sound of Music" on Nov. 9, 2021.

Tristan Pritham, a senior at Bozeman High and the actor playing Captain von Trapp, said he is excited to have a live audience again.

“It’s been since my sophomore year since I’ve been on stage with a full audience,” he said. “It’s a different energy having a packed crowd who knows all of the music.”

With the von Trapp family including young children, Pritham said he’s also been enjoying all of his scenes with the younger actors and getting to be a leader with them on the stage.

The musical is scheduled be held at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday in the Willson Auditorium. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students. This year, the group will also hold a special singalong matinee performance at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets can be purchased online at fobyt.org/tickets or at the door.

Pritham said he was excited for Sunday’s singalong show with the audience involved in singing the musical’s popular songs.

Emily Donahoe, drama coach with Bozeman High, said she’s been impressed with how hard the students work and how involved everyone is.

The Sound of Music Play

A live orchestra plays during a rehearsal for "The Sound of Music" on Nov. 9, 2021.

The Sound of Music Play

Max Detweiler, played by Hugh Burroughs, addresses Captain Georg von Trapp, played by Tristan Pritham, Franz, played by Julian Stuggs, and Baroness Elsa Schraeder, played by Ember Morrill, during rehearsal for "The Sound of Music" on Nov. 9, 2021.

“All of the actors and tech crew are willing to do many other things in order to make the show happen,” Donahoe said.

Donahoe said Pritham and a group of other students have even created a nonprofit, Friends of Bozeman Youth Theatre, to promote the show and secure long-term support for the program.

With about 60 cast members, a crew of around 30 students and an orchestra of 30 students, the affair is a combination of Bozeman and Gallatin high students. It’s a tradition both McKiernan and Donahoe said they’d like to see continue, with the two schools’ theater programs combining for a musical or play every other year.

Donahoe said it would be the last opportunity for the Bozeman community to see a group of talented seniors who were unable to have a normal season last year due to the pandemic.

“They have put their heart and soul into a wonderful performance, and I think the director Stacie McKiernan, cast and crew really hope this production will bring the Bozeman community together around a show that everyone knows and loves,” Donahoe said.

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Liz Weber can be reached at lweber@dailychronicle.com or 582-2633.

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