Von Trapp to visit ‘Sound of Music’ production

By Jo Ann Boatwright, Originally published in The Oregonian between 1975-79


The St. Agatha Players of St. Agatha Catholic Church in Sellwood will present “The Sound of Music” Thursday through Sunday,
and a special guest will be Johanna Von Trapp.


Appearance by Von Trapp, the second youngest child in the famous Von Trapp family on which the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical is based, will highlight the five performances, said Patty Becker, a St. Agatha parishioner and volunteer publicist for the event.

The musical is being produced to raised money for a kindergarten at St. Agatha School in the Southeast Portland neighborhood, Becker said. Hoping to raise $20,000 to purchase a portable classroom that would house the proposed kindergarten, the producer, the Rev. Gerald Dezurick, said he hopes the addition to the school will benefit the entire community.


“The kindergarten will enhance the quality of the education at St. Agatha, which is a tradition we hope will continue,” he said

St. Agatha School operates grades one through eight for 162 students, he said.


Becker said the Friends of St. Agatha, which helps support the school has obtained pledges exceeding the projected costs of starting a kindergarten. If the production meets its goals, the kindergarten will open in September, she said.


Need for a kindergarten became apparent, Becker said, as more young families with small children moved into the neighborhood.


“The parish is undergoing a renewal,” she said. “ As young families moved in and the baby boomers had babies, they realized they wanted and needed a kindergarten.”


Marylu Arrigotti, a teacher at Sacred Heart School and drama coach at St. Mary’s academy, is director of the popular story of Marie Von Trapp and her family.


A cast of 45 were chosen during auditions that drew hopefuls from throughout the metropolitan area, Arrigoti said. Bill Camarata will portra Captian Von Trap and Coralynn Arrigotti will play his wife, Mariea.

In addition, 10 children will perform as the Von Trapps’ offspring. Three additional children were cast in the production, Arrigotti said, because in addition to the original seven Von Trapp children from the Captain’s first marriage, the couple had three children together.


The young players and their roles will include Laurie Jones as Liesl, Drum Smith as Friedrich, Jennifer, McAuley as Louisa, Todd Hoyt as Kurt, Cheryl Hall as Brigitta, Adiran Brunkow as Rupert, Ellie Augustyn as Agathe, Sarah Bird as Marta, Stephanie Hall as Johanna and Jennifer Holman as Gretl.


Maria Von Trap once had mentioned to priests at Mount Angel Abbey, who are associated St. Agatha Church, that she wished someone would stage a production of the musical with 10 children instead of seven, Arrigotti said.


Now living near Seattle, Johanna Von Trapp, a friend of a friend of St. Agatha parishioner, was asked to appear and agreed.


She will be honored at a champagne reception on opening night and will speak before each performance. In addition, she will share her artistic talents during an exhibit and sale at La Salle High School, where the musical will be performed.


Arrigotti said Von Trapp has indicated that she is eager to spend time with the children in the cast and hopes to teach them some of the songs she learned as a child. Performances of “The Sound of Music” will be July 26, 27, 28 and 29 at 8 p.m. and July 29 at 2 p.m.


Information about tickets may be obtained from the St. Agatha Rectory.