The hills are alive | Issaquah High School Drama department brings classic story to the stage

Bryan Hamer as Rolf, and Elizabeth Moore as oldest von Trapp child Liesl, rehearse “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” in the IHS production of Rogers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music.”  - Linda Ball/Issaquah & Sammamish Reporter
Bryan Hamer as Rolf, and Elizabeth Moore as oldest von Trapp child Liesl, rehearse “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” in the IHS production of Rogers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music.”
— image credit: Linda Ball/Issaquah & Sammamish Reporter

Most of us know the songs. “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” “My Favorite Things,” and “Edelweiss.”

“The Sound of Music” has become synonymous with the holiday season, and this year the Issaquah High School drama department will bring the story to the high school stage.

In the lead role of Maria von Trapp, is senior Annika Dybevik. She has been in the drama program since her freshman year. This is her fourth high school production. Dybevik said she first saw the movie when she was very young, and has since seen it at the Issaquah Village Theater.

“She’s definitely a fun spirited-person who is not afraid to speak her mind and definitely cares about the seven kids she takes care of,” Dybevik said of Maria. “She moves from more of a professional governess to a mother.”

The story is set in a dark time in history, with the von Trapp family escaping from Austria to avoid German occupation and Captain Georg von Trapp being forced to serve in the German Navy. Dybevik said it was an eye-opener learning about the people trying to get out of Austria before WWII started.

The senior plans to stick with music, but maintains other interests. She will most likely attend the University of Idaho after graduation.

Stage managers senior Birte Fichter, and junior Rowan Lanning, have been at their jobs for several years. Rowan plans to pursue her theatrical knowledge by attending Virginia Commonwealth University, where she can study for a bachelor’s degree in stage management or technical theater.

Fichter is in charge of the front house, responsible for cueing the lights, where Rowan is the floor stage manager responsible for mic problems and telling crew what to do.

In the role of Elsa Schrader, the baroness, is senior Julianne Neinhuis. She said she originally tried out for one of the roles as a nun.

“I guess they liked the way I flirted,” she said of the role.

The baroness is the woman who is supposed to wed the Captain but as it turns out, he is in love with Maria.

Neinhuis is in the ensemble choir and plans to pursue a degree in education, and possibly music.

“Separate your lips! Expression!” belted out musical director Barbara Irish as sophomores Bryan Hamer as Rolf, the young man about to join the Nazi party, and Elizabeth Moore as oldest von Trapp child, Liesl, rehearsed “Sixteen going on Seventeen.”

Their singing defies their youth – both sounded like seasoned pros. All told there are 34 in the cast, including 12 girls as nuns, who Moore described as fabulous singers.

Several children from local elementary and middle schools are in the production in the roles of the youngest of the von Trapp family, including little Zoe McDowell as Gretl, the baby of the family. She attends Clark Elementary.

The show is choreographed by Sheri Lewis, the owner of Westlake Dance Center. Holly Whiting, drama teacher of the Issaquah High School Performing Arts Department,  is directing.

Whiting said they do about three shows a year – one musical, one dramatic play and a children’s show. If time allows they squeeze in student directed one-acts.

“The Sound of Music” opens Thursday Nov. 29 with a show Friday night as well – then the only Saturday matinee, Dec. 1 at 1:30 p.m., is a sing-a-long.

Scored by Rogers and Hammerstein, the play will continue Dec. 6-8 at 7 p.m.

Ticket prices are $12 for adults, $8 for students and seniors, $5 for IHS students and staff and $5 for the sing along matinee. Tickets are available at, or at the door.


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