In a role revived by Yorkshire’s famous soprano Lesley Garrett, Huddersfield Light Opera Company will welcome Julia Garbutt as The Mother Abbess in its forthcoming production of The Sound of Music’
Now one of the best-known singers in the area, Julia has had a long and illustrious career, not just with HLOC but also in cabaret and on the concert stage.
She is a firm favourite with the crowds who turn out annually for the Concert on the Hill, a major ‘prom-style’ outdoor musical festival in
Salendine Nook, and has taken on many leading roles including Anna in The King and I and Nellie Forbush in South Pacific.
Chris Brearley, HLOC stage director, says the part of the Abbess is ideal for Julia.
He added: “We are delighted to have Julia back with us. I know her famous solo, Climb Ev’ry Mountain is going to be a fantastic and
emotional finale to the end of act one.”
Julia joins many other HLOC favourites in the production: Neil Broadbent, most recently Wishee Washee in the company’s pantomine, will be showing his versatility as Captain von Trapp; while Laura Crowther, who played Yum Yum in last year’s Hot Mikado, takes the central role of Maria.
Paul Bennett and Sharon Whitehead, who also starred in the Hot Mikado, will be on stage together once more as music promotor Uncle Max Detweiler and Baroness Elsa Schraeder.
But it could be argued that the real stars of the show are the seven von Trapp children featured in the original musical film. HLOC held auditions back in August 2013 to find two ‘teams’ of talented youngsters to play the roles.
From over 70 applicants, 40 children were auditioned and 11 were chosen to share the roles.
The Sound of Music, originally released as a movie in 1965 – with songs by Rogers and Hammerstein – has a timeless appeal and provides a rich seam of characters.
It will be the first time HLOC has produced the musical, which will also showcase performances by Chloe Byrnes and Peter Turner,
playing the young couple Liesl von Trapp and Rolf Gruber, whose love is blighted by the build-up to World War Two; while the Nun’s Chorus will see Louisa LeFevre, Helen Woodhead and Carole Lindsay, a newcomer to the society, in the roles of Sisters Berthe, Margaretta and Sophia.
For one Huddersfield family, the HLOC production will highlight three generations of musical talent.
Susan Smith, a member of the Nun’s Chorus, will be appearing on stage with her daughter Louisa LeFevre, and her granddaughters Ellie and Zoe LeFevre, who play the youngest von Trapp children Marta and Gretl.
The show, which runs from Monday, April 28, until Saturday, May 3, at the Lawrence Batley Theatre, is being produced by Steve Tetlow, with musical direction by Caroline Kelly. Pam Strickland is director and choreographer.
There will be a Saturday matinee at 2.15pm and evening performances at 7.15pm. Tickets, from £6.50, are available from the LBT box office, 01484 430528.