From the Press

‘The Sound of Music’ brings old, familiar favorite to Spring Lake
By Karen Meister

You can't help singing or humming one of those fantastic songs from “The Sound of Music” when you leave the Spring Lake Community Theatre. It’s just contagious!

This quintessential Rogers and Hammerstein musical is as alive and entertaining as it was 50 years ago, when it was nominated and won a Tony award for best musical. It seems that audiences can watch this production over and over and never get tired of the storyline or the beautiful music and lyrics.

Many know the music from memory and still delight in hearing these old familiar favorites.

This particular production is truly spectacular. Laura Bembridge is the perfect Maria, with such a beautiful voice and an inner-outer beauty that radiates energy throughout the play.

Capt. Georg von Trapp is so adeptly portrayed by Jeff Skalecki, showing his distant personality to becoming a caring, loving father and husband. His seven children are as talented as they are good-looking.

The oldest girl, Liesel, is played by Abigail Reinhard, who shows her teenage emotions so vividly along with her brothers, Friedrich, portrayed by Andrew Ferrie and Kurt, by Liam Marshall.

Sisters Louisa, Brigitta, Marta and Gretl are uniquely portrayed by Maggie Skalecki, Carolee Wagner, Anastasia Konczyk and Gwenyth Fahy, respectively.

It was a pleasure to see such a captivating presentation of this well-known Austrian family. Their world went from music and laughter to fear and distrust during the WWII German invasion of Europe.

Uncle Max had an important role in the von Trapp family and Douglas Moore did it justice. His love and advice was sincere and profound for the family and Moore was able to clearly project these feelings to the audience. Franz, the butler [Frank Leonhardt] and Frau Schmidt, the housekeeper [Barbara MacArthur] did a great job of keeping a sense of balance to the family.

Another amazing performance was given by the postulants, novices, and nuns of the Nonnberg Abbey. Cindy Markus did a superb performance as Sister Berthe, Mistress of the Novices, as well as Nancy Bembridge, who portrayed Sister Margaretta, Mistress of Postulants, and the part of the Mother Abbess was brilliantly played by Marti Bookstein.

Maria had been a postulant [student nun] at the abbey before leaving to govern the von Trapp children. She did return to the understanding sisters when she needed guidance and later on when the family was threatened by the Nazi regime.

A special mention is needed for the remarkable music and lyrics throughout the play. Such memorable songs as "My Favorite Things," "Do-Re-Mi," "Edelweiss," and, of course, "The Sound of Music" were done with such professional quality, accompanied by the four piece orchestra with the direction of Mary Lough, pianist and conductor.

I'm sure that most of the individuals in the audience had their personal favorite and whispered the lyrics along with the actors. The songs were so clear and audible by every cast member, down to little Gretl, who gave it her all.

The play was produced by the experienced and talented Pat Barry who always adds a professional, Broadway touch to all her productions. Derek Hulse directed and Colleen Hulse choreographed this classic with unique precision. The set design and construction, as well as the costumes, were phenomenal.

What more can anyone ask for?

This production is one of Spring Lake's finest and that is hard to do! A standing ovation was in order, and if the audience was thinking as I was, the ovation was not for one or two people, but for all those involved with this incredible production.

“The Sound of Music” will be at the Spring Lake Theatre for several more performances. It can be seen on Aug. 18, 19, 20 and 25, 26, 27.

The theatre is the beautiful brick building at the corner of Third and Madison Avenues, Spring Lake. Curtain is at 8 p.m.

Tickets may be obtained by calling 732-449-4530 or on line at