The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Features

December 14, 2013

Von Trapps' lodge taps interest in new musical

STOWE, Vt. — In the week since NBC aired a revival of “The Sound of Music,” the real von Trapp and the vacation lodge it runs in Vermont are in high demand.

And yes, the family was watching as Carrie Underwood, in a widely watched and panned performance, took over the role of Maria von Trapp, made famous on Broadway by Mary Martin and on film by Julie Andrews.

In a blog post, Francoise von Trapp, daughter of Maria von Trapp’s stepson Rupert, questioned the casting.

“For everyone who thought the whole thing was wonderful and that NBC did a spectacular job, I say maybe your expectations weren’t high to begin with,” she wrote, noting she doesn’t speak for the family or lodge. “If they hoped to have created a new holiday classic, I think they missed their mark.”

Kristina von Trapp Frame, granddaughter of the real Maria von Trapp, and her brother Sam von Trapp, executive vice president of the Trapp Family Lodge, were more diplomatic, calling Underwood a beautiful singer.

“It is relevant and interesting to a new group of people, and that’s the important thing,” von Trapp Frame said Thursday. “The original movie is an inspiration to many people, and if it continues that inspiration, that is only a good thing.”

The family isn’t denying the musical is helping business, even if most callers are merely curious. And there could be another bump after NBC’s encore broadcast today.

Whenever the movie starring Andrews and Christopher Plummer airs on television — typically around Christmas — the lodge’s website gets a lot of traffic, said marketing director Jennifer Vincent.

The musical and movie are a fictionalized account of the life of Maria von Trapp and tell the story of a 1930s Austrian governess who teaches her charges to sing and falls in love with her employer, naval captain Georg von Trapp, and the family’s flight before World War II.

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