Director Scot Denton left actor/vocalist James Frantowski and actor/vocalist/choreographer Beth Robertson taught Early Stages two year ago. This apprenticeship theatre program for local 10- to 14-year-olds forms part of the Highlands Summer Festival experience. /File photo

The Sound of Music to return to Summer Festival

By Echo staff

This year’s Highlands Summer Festival will kick off with an incredibly popular offering: The Sound of Music. The beloved musical set in Austria during the Second World War will once again be staged in Haliburton starting June 29.

“Patrons will recall we presented the show in 2004” said Scot Denton artistic producer during an announcement on Nov. 17 at McKecks Tap and Grill. “It was such an overwhelming success then we thought it was time to bring this inspiring family-friendly musical back.”

Maria a nun searching for her place in the world takes on the role of governess for a family of seven children living under the strict rules of widowed naval captain Von Trapp. Through the power of music and optimism Maria begins to change the lives of everyone in the household just as the Nazis begin their invasion of Austria.

The Sound of Music sold out when it was first performed in Haliburton and organizers said they expect an equally enthusiastic response over the 10 performances.

“This has to be one of the most crowd-pleasing musicals the world has ever enjoyed” Denton said.

Next up will be another well-known and beloved production: The Importance of Being Earnest a comedic play written by Oscar Wilde first staged in 1895.

“The script is one of Wilde’s best full of wit satire comedy and a biting commentary on the mores and manners of Edwardian England” Denton said.

Highlands Summer Festival describes the play as “one of the cleverest comedies by one of the greatest writers in the English language. … Oscar Wilde’s scintillating hilarious work introduces us to Jack and Algernon charming bachelors who are each living a double life aided by a fictional alter ego called Ernest. But the two fall truly in love with a pair of proper young women Gwendolen and Cecily – both of whom are partial to men named Ernest. Will Jack and Algy be able to bring an end to the charade and convince the formidable Lady Bracknell that they are suitable candidates for marriage?”

Following The Importance of Being Earnest is Lucien written and performed by Marshall Button. Lucien is an opinionated New Brunswick mill worker a character developed by Button based on his experiences working in the paper mill in Dalhousie. Nearly 2000 performances of Lucien have been staged across the country.

Every Brilliant Thing by Duncan Macmillan and Jonny Donahoe is scheduled to run July 27 to 31 and is an “uplifting play about depression and the lengths we will go for those we love” according to a press release. The Guardian called it “possibly one of the funniest plays you’ll ever see” tackling tough topics around mental health and making those around us happy.

The season wraps with Across the Pond celebrating 50 years of British music featuring the songs of The Beatles Elton John Adele Van Morrison Annie Lennox the Rolling Stones and more. Performed by Leisa Way and the Lonely Hearts Club Band. Performances begin Aug. 2.

Season passes are $160 individual tickets $37.50. For dates and times of all of this year’s Highlands Summer Festival performances and to buy tickets call 705-457-9933 or go to and click on “buy tickets.”

– Staff