Kit McKay (right), director of Parallel 45's production of
Kit McKay (right), director of Parallel 45's production of "The Sound of Music," with Maya Lagerstam, who plays Maria | Photo Credit: Harpe Star for P45 Theatre

Traverse City’s live professional theatre is coming back to the stage with a true classic, opening on July 8 in Traverse City near the base of the Old Mission Peninsula.

Local nonprofit Parallel 45 is bringing The Sound of Music to the Civic Center Amphitheater in a production featuring the talents of more than 50 visiting performers, designers and technicians.

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The Sound of Music is an iconic tale of tragedy, hope and family in one of the most well-known musicals of all time. What makes this version different is the vision of Kit McKay, director of the production who’s also a resident of the Old Mission Peninsula. McKay co-founded Parallel 45 Theatre with her friend Erin Anderson Whiting, who recently stepped down from day-to-day operations and joined the organization’s Board of Directors.

Before departing, she and McKay chose The Sound of Music to speak to audiences right now, as we’re emerging from the pandemic, sharing a collective experience, and tentatively re-examining the new world around us.

This 2021 production aims to address and provoke thought about how faith and resilience are tested inside each one of us when faced with challenges larger than ourselves. While fans of the classic story will recognize all the elements they love, in McKay’s hands, the play is more relevant to the current times than ever before. 

McKay and her husband, Noah Fried (himself an actor and instructor at Interlochen Center for the Arts), have family ties to the Old Mission Peninsula and have been bringing art to the Traverse City area for more than ten years.

In January of 2021, McKay wrote in her directing journal:

“The obvious news is I no longer have to emphasize or explain the extremes in the background of The Sound of Music to anyone. It isn’t my job to wrap our hearts around the concept of impossible and sudden circumstantial trauma. The world has swiftly and powerfully accomplished that for almost everyone on the planet. We are, as a people, in various states of impossible trauma. The throttle hold of global circumstances has left us in almost complete isolation, coping with (as I write this) innumerable deaths around the world along with all the emotional, political, physical, economical and psychological devastation and chaos that comes in its wake.” 

This intimate and condensed production of the original story will entertain you and challenge you to experience it with new eyes and ears. More than 60 years after The Sound of Music blazed onto the American stage, this production will reveal just how relevant a story it still is.

Learn more about Parallel 45’s version of The Sound of Music on their website. Showtimes and tickets are available through that link.

Parallel 45 Theatre production of "The Sound of Music," starring Maya Lagerstam as Maria; premiering July 8, 2021 | P45 Photo
Parallel 45 Theatre production of “The Sound of Music,” starring Maya Lagerstam as Maria; premiering July 8, 2021 in Traverse City, Michigan | P45 Photo

Also this season, Parallel 45 will be presenting You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, P45 Play Reading Series (a festival of three plays in one day), and Ugly: A New Pop Musical.

Parallel 45 Theatre productions take place at the Civic Center in Traverse City. Learn more about the amphitheatre and seating plan here.

(Editor’s Note: Parallel 45 Executive Director Joe Beyer is also an OMP resident. -jb)

About Parallel 45 Theatre

Parallel 45 Theatre produces cutting-edge interpretations of plays and musicals, giving familiar stories new life – and fresh relevance – for northwest Michigan audiences. By producing a summer theatre festival of reinvented classics, new works and imaginative adaptations, they seek to entertain, encourage critical thought, and inspire conversation in our community.

Since 2010, Parallel 45 Theatre has brought more than 150 artists – from as far away as Berlin and as close as Traverse City – to create groundbreaking shows for our community. For ten seasons, they’ve offered the kind of adventurous professional work you might see in New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles – right here in northwest Michigan. In 2017, Parallel 45 Theatre’s production of Alice in Wonderland was nominated for a Wilde Award, which honors the best productions, performances, and technical work produced or presented by professional theaters across the state.

Here’s a look back at Parallel 45’s 2019 season…

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