Dannea Guess, who plays the part of Maria in the musical, “The Sound of Music,” sings during their dress rehearsal Wednesday at the Vive Les Arts Theatre.

By Danielle Church
Killeen Daily Herald

Vive Les Arts Theatre will kick off the 2011-12 season tonight with a few of its favorite things.

Making its debut at VLA is “The Sound of Music,” which opens at 7 p.m.

More than 140 people auditioned for the 1959 musical by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, said Eric Shephard, artistic director at the theater.

“About a quarter of this cast are people I’ve never even met before,” he said. “I’m really impressed with my cast.”

On Tuesday evening, cast and directors worked out a few final kinks during dress rehearsal. They used every inch of the theater, including the foyer, to perfect their performance of the production about a woman who leaves an Austrian convent to become a governess to the children of a widowed Navy captain.

Back stage, Fort Hood resident Dorshan Millhouse, 30, walked around in costume for her part as Sister Berthe, a nun at the Austrian convent. Her 10-year-old daughter, Emmeline, is playing Louisa von Trapp, one of the Navy captain’s many children.

“This is my sixth play so far,” said Emmeline, standing beneath the stage rehearsing vocals with music director, Elaine Garcia. The young actress added that she’s “pretty confident” about opening night.

Killeen resident Scott Mather will play Max Detweiler, or better known to the von Trapp bunch as “Uncle Max.”

He said the musical is his 28th or 29th show at VLA, and he is excited about the debut production.

“They’ve been focusing a lot on the musical aspect of the show,” Mather said, mentioning that rehearsals have been pretty sporadic, catering to the needs of the vocalists.

Cast members said they have been rehearsing for about a month and are ready to showcase their hard work to an audience.

“I feel pretty good,” said Millhouse, noting that VLA takes cast members as they are and helps them build skills as theatrical performers.