The hills are alive with The Sound of Music at the Pittsburgh CLO

Former “Trading Spaces” star Paige Davis makes her CLO debut as Maria!


Pittsburgh, Pa. (May 27, 2005) The Pittsburgh CLO is proud to present this uplifting story of family, love and courage at the Benedum Center June 14-26. Everyone’s favorite interior design TV host Paige Davis sings some of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s best-loved songs.


During The Sound of Music’s Broadway premiere season 45 years ago, which starred Mary Martin, one critic wrote, “The new Rodgers and Hammerstein show has a warm-hearted, unashamedly sentimental and strangely gentle charm that is wonderfully endearing.” After being transformed into a Hollywood classic starring Julie Andrews, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, the original musical by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II became even more popular. Children and adults continue to fall in love with Fraulein Maria as she wins over the Von Trapp family.


Families will delight in The Sound of Music classics “Do-Re-Mi,” “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” “Edelweiss” and “Climb Every Mountain.”


Paige Davis makes her CLO debut as Maria, but she is best known as the host of The Learning Channel’s “Trading Spaces.” Her book “Paige by Page: A Year of Trading Spaces” spent several weeks on The New York Times Best-Seller List. Last summer, Ms. Davis starred on Broadway as Roxie Hart in Chicago, a show with which she has previously been associated through National Tours, and has worked with Broadway veterans Bebe Neuwirth, Ben Vereen, Ann Reinking and Chita Rivera.  She has also performed in the National Tour of Beauty and the Beast where she met her husband Patrick Page who played Lumiere to her Babette. Her other credits include A Chorus Line, Hello Dolly!  and Company.


Robert Cuccioli (Captain Von Trapp) returns to the CLO where he has appeared in productions of The Pajama Game, Bells Are Ringing, Guys and Dolls and Funny Girl. Mr. Cuccioli made his Broadway debut as Javert in Les Miserables and has since gone on to star in other Broadway productions including the original title role in Jekyll & Hyde for which he received a 1997 Tony® Award Nomination. He has also had recurring roles on ABC’s “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.”


Meg Bussert returns to the CLO in the role of The Mother Abbess, which she played under the direction of James Brennan at the Paper Mill Playhouse. On Broadway, Ms. Bussert has performed in productions of The Music Man, for which she received the Theater World Award, and Brigadoon, which garnered her a Tony® Award Nomination and a Theater World Award.


Patrick Quinn reprises his role of Max Detweiler having performed the role on Broadway at the Martin Beck Theater. His other Broadway credits include the role of Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast and Perchik in Fiddler on the Roof with Zero Mostel. On TV, Mr. Quinn has made guest appearances in “Law and Order: CI” and “Law and Order: SVU.” He also played the role of Marty Bursky in “Bosom

Buddies.” Additionally, Mr. Quinn has appeared in several CLO productions including 1776, A Little Night Music, Can-Can and Fiddler on the Roof.


Donna English (Elsa Schraeder) makes her CLO debut, which reunites her with director James Brennan who directed her in the same role at New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse production of The Sound of Music. Ms. English has appeared in numerous Off-Broadway and regional theater productions including Ruthless!, for which she received a Drama Desk Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical.


Seventeen-year-old Emily Walton makes her CLO debut as Liesl, but has appeared in numerous theatrical productions in the northeastern United States. Her most recent theater experiences include playing the role of Lilli in Kiss Me, Kate, and Philia in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Ms. Walton will be graduating from LaGuardia High School in New York two days after The Sound of Music closes and will be attending Ithaca College in the fall.


Several CLO Academy students will play Von Trapp children including Alyssa Gephart (Marta), Allie Ryave (Gretl), Kristin Serafini (Brigitta), Alyssa Smouse (Louisa) and Trevor Misplay (Kurt). Patrick Sheffler will also be joining the group of children as Friedrich.


Also joining the cast are Mark Willet (Rolf), Terry Wickline (Frau Schmidt), Ted Brunetti, Sr. (Franz), Jeremy Holm (Zeller) and Gene Saraceni (Admiral Von Schreiber).



Pittsburgh CLO welcomes back James Brennan (Director) who starred in last summer’s production of Me and My Girl as Bill Snibson. Mr. Brennan is a veteran of both Broadway and regional theater having starred in 42nd Street, Singin’ in the Rain and Me and My Girl. He has also received a Barrymore Award for his portrayal of John Adams in 1776. His directing credits include The Sound of Music, Noises Off, Chicago and Cabaret.


Dan Mojica (Choreographer) returns to CLO after choreographing last summer’s production of Hello, Dolly! Mr. Mojica was a part of the original Broadway creative team for Beauty and the Beast as the associate director and choreographer for more than eight years, supervising all 16 companies of the show around the world including premieres in London, Tokyo, Madrid and Buenos Aires.


Tom Helm (Musical Director) is in his ninth year as CLO's musical director after serving extensively in the Broadway community including three years as musical director of Les Miserables and more than

three years as music director of Me and My Girl. He also conducted Sandy Duncan's 5-6-7-8 Dance at Radio City Music Hall and worked as the original musical director for the first national company of

Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats. Mr. Helm also serves as the resident musical director for the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey.



The story of The Sound of Music is hardly imaginary. The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical arose from the story of the Trapp family singers who fled their native Austria to escape the Nazi regime. The story of the family was told in a novel by the Baroness von Trapp titled “The Trapp Family Singers.” However many Americans remained ignorant of the family’s story until it was turned into a musical.


The idea for the musical first came about after a German film about the Trapp family, directed by Vincent Donehue. Donehue believed the story to be a perfect vehicle for a musical, especially if tailored to fit theater star Mary Martin. Martin and her husband became interested in the project and sought assistance from producer Leland Hayward. Hayward brought on Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse to write the libretto, and Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein to write the music and lyrics.


Finally, in 1959, The Sound of Music opened in New York to raves from both audiences and critics. In 1965, a film version of the musical starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer was released and won five Academy Awards including Best Picture of the Year.



Richard Rodgers (Music) had already begun to establish himself as a force on Broadway before graduating from Columbia University. His first musical score was heard in a Broadway musical comedy titled A Lonely Romeo in 1919. He then teamed with Columbia classmate Lorenz Hart to write two shows, one of which, The Poor Little Ritz Girl, appeared on Broadway. Spurred by their success, the duo penned scores for more than 40 stage and movie productions. Following Hart’s death, Rodgers teamed up with another Columbia classmate, Oscar Hammerstein II to write some of Broadway’s most famous musicals including their first collaboration, Oklahoma, as well as Carousel, South Pacific and Cinderella.


Oscar Hammerstein II (Lyrics) was already having tremendous success as a lyricist before teaming with Rodgers. Working with composer Jerome Kern, Hammerstein penned the words for the musical


Pittsburgh CLO

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Show Boat. Beginning with the 1943 production of Oklahoma, Hammerstein teamed with Rodgers to

pen nine musicals. On the night of the lyricist’s funeral, Broadway darkened its lights for five minutes as a final farewell to one of its greatest contributors.



Tickets to all 72 Pittsburgh CLO performances are available online at or by calling (412) 456-6666. Patrons can also order tickets in person at the Box Office at Theater Square. Tickets start at $14.


Pittsburgh CLO’s 2005 Season is also the perfect outing for any social group! Groups of 10 or more should call the Group Sales Hotline at (412) 263-2560 to learn more about special discounts.



June 14            Tuesday           8 p.m.              June 21            Tuesday           8 p.m.

June 15            Wednesday      8 p.m.              June 22            Wednesday      8p.m.

June 16            Thursday          8 p.m.              June 23            Thursday          8 p.m.

June 17            Friday              8 p.m.              June 24            Friday              8 p.m.

June 18            Saturday           2 & 8 p.m.       June 25            Saturday           2 & 8 p.m.

June 19            Sunday 2 & 7:30 p.m.   June 26            Sunday 2 p.m.


In addition to The Sound of Music, Pittsburgh CLO is proud to present four more captivating shows this summer including The Pirates of Penzance (June 28 – July 10), Tommy (July 12 – 24) and Carousel (July 26 – 31). The season also features the American premiere of Doctor Dolittle (August 2 – 14).


The Sound of Music is sponsored by PNC as part of the PNC Spotlight Series. CLO also gratefully acknowledges our season Sponsors: American Airlines, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and WTAE-TV.