5 Things to Know about Broadway in Fresno’s ‘Sound of Music’

UPDATE: Congratulations to winner Andrew Esquer.

ORIGINAL POST: When I catch up by phone with Keslie Ward, who plays Liesl in the national tour of “The Sound of Music,” she’s in Sioux Falls, N.D. Which is not the warmest place on the planet in February, particularly for someone who grew up in Texas. She’s happy that warmer California is on the horizon as the tour prepares for a two-night stand at the Saroyan Theatre (it opens Wednesday, March 14). Here are 5 Things to Know about Ward and the show.

Plus: You can win a pair of tickets to opening night and dinner at Cosmopolitan Tavern and free parking. See details at the end of this post.

Keslie Ward as Liesl and Chad P. Campbell as Rolf. Photo by Matthew Murphy

Keslie Ward as Liesl and Chad P. Campbell as Rolf in the national tour of ‘The Sound of Music.’ Photo / Matthew Murphy


She’s 24 going on 16.

But don’t worry: Ward is used to playing younger than she is. One of her gigs before the tour was working on a Disney cruise ship, where in one production she played a girl of 12. So pulling off an infatuated teen singing “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” is no big deal.


“I kind of take time before the show to remind myself what it was like at that age, what it was like to have your first boyfriend crush,” she says.


The production is “The Sound of Music” you know and love.

There’s no tinkering with the plot, no updating with contemporary references. The Rodgers and Hammerstein classic is a period piece. But the costumes and sets have been updated for a fresher look, Ward says.

“The only thing that people might seem differently is that in the movie Max and Elsa don’t sing. In the musical they do.”


She was destined to be in this show.

As a kid, Ward played the CD until there were scratches on it. But she took her love of the show to the next level:

“I recorded a video of myself singing ‘My Favorite Things.’ I think I was 7 or 8. My mom sent a letter to Julie Andrews. And she sent me back an autograph. It’s still in my bedroom. I didn’t want to bring it on tour because I didn’t want to lose it.”

All together now: Awwwww.


Remember that the show turns dark. It’s history, after all.

The movie version doesn’t exactly downplay the Nazi element, but it does understate it in certain key ways. The stage musical is a little more explicit. The Von Trapps don’t tackle the Alps because they think it will be a fun family outing.

“As a child, this was show was my first exposure to Nazi Germany,” Ward says. “Capt. Von Trapp takes down the Nazi flag and tears it up. I didn’t know what that was. The show definitely has the tension, the political part.”


Fresno is warmer than Sioux Falls.

And it’s a lot warmer than Saskatoon, in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, where Ward found herself in the middle of winter.

“It was, like, negative 20 degrees,” she says. “I’d never experienced cold like that.”

Welcome, then, to California in the spring. She can add it to her list of favorite things.

Win tickets

I’m offering a special prize package to a lucky reader of The Munro Review: a pair of balcony tickets to the opening night performance of “The Sound of Music” (7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 14, at the Saroyan Theatre); dinner for two at the Cosmopolitan Tavern (conveniently located in the convention center parking lot); and free theater parking. (Thanks again to Cosmopolitan and Broadway in Fresno for their generosity.)

To enter, leave a comment on this post answering this question: If you were on a desert island and had to choose between one of the items mentioned in the song “My Favorite Things,” what would it be? (All are eligible except for girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes; that would just be icky.) If you’re too shy to share, just tell me why you’d like to see the show.

Deadline to enter is 10 p.m. Monday, March 12. Winner selected at random. I’ll be notifying the winner on Tuesday morning so be sure to check your email. Please don’t enter if you won’t be able to attend.

Show info

“The Sound of Music,” 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 14, and Thursday, March 15, Saroyan Theatre, 700 M St. Tickets are $29-$69.

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Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

Comments (31)

  • Wild geese of course – I’d have something to talk to and something to eat when the conversation gets boring.

  • Stephen

    Oooh, tough question. Because to win tickets I’d be happy when the dog bites and when the bee stings!

    I’ll go with wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings…beautiful metaphor for their wild moonlight escape over the alps.

  • Patty Branco

    Brown paper packages tied up with string! (Containing snacks and an inflatable raft!)

  • Kaitlyn

    I could go for some crisp apple strudel on this Monday, post-Daylight savings time!

  • Jennifer Money

    Brown paper packages tied up with string hopefully caring all of my favorite things. I received that as a gift once and it was very clever and thoughtful.

  • Brad Davis

    Rain drops on roses for sure.

  • Sierra Hoff

    Well, I’ve basically been a huge fan of the Sound of Music ever since I was nine years old. Like the girl who plays Liesl, the film was my first exposure to Nazi Germany as well, but it was also what gave me the theatre bug. I auditioned for it twice in 2010 and 2011 for two different companies for the roles of either Liesl or Louisa. I didn’t make either one but I know that I will somehow perform in it one day. Maria Rainer is one of my top dream roles and if I’m ever casted as her, I know I’d be in a puddle of tears of joy! I learned how to sing because of this show through basic Solfege (aka Do Re Mi). I have seen my old high school’s production of it back in 2006 (when I was in 6th grade) and it was the first live musical I have ever seen in life. It would be a huge honor if I got to see a professional production in order for my love of the show to come full circle. Thank you so much for the opportunity to participate!

  • Cathy Davis

    Wild goose that fly with the moon on their wings

  • Nina

    Cream colored ponies. What can I say. I’m a equine lover.

  • Margie Vogt

    Crisp apple strudel, a la mode of course! As I recall, this was the first theatrical movie I ever saw, on a trip to San Francisco. I wanted to be Liesl!

  • Andrew

    I think the favorite thing I would want on the island with me would be raindrops on roses, if only because of the implication that raindrops on roses means rainfall means I get to drink water. More practical than anything, I suppose, but also pretty to look at.

  • Erin Chavez

    Definitely the cream colored ponies.

  • Amanda

    Love love love Sound of Music! Brown paper packages tied up with string these are a few of my favorite things! Hoping the packages contain food and shelter 😊
    My daughter and I watch and sing Sound of Music every Christmas

  • Jackie Ryle

    Thank you, Donald. It’s a show I love. Look forward to seeing it on Wednesday. Sure do appreciate your reviews

  • Clora Ann Crum

    Whiskers on kittens. Nothing like a sweet kitten to keep you company!

  • Monica K Flick

    I love raindrops on roses! I love looking at my roses after it rains.

  • Madisen Padilla

    Whiskers on kittens! Kittens are sweet and having a companion on this deserted island would make it a bit better. You could also go for the geese, but they’re not nearly as nice as a kitten. Thanks for a great opportunity to see the show!

  • Selene Ramirez

    If I’m a desert island, then definitely rain drops on roses.
    I want to see this show in order to learn how to solve a problem like Maria.

  • Cymone Sandoval-Hopper

    (I don’t think this posted the last time, so if it did, sorry for the double post.)

    If I was stuck on a desert island, I’d probably choose cream colored ponies. They’d be able to be used for hunting, exploring, hauling, and perhaps even farming. They could also be eaten as a last resort if need be. I would prefer not to, but they’d be really useful for awhile as long as I could keep them alive.

  • Jeremy Adams

    Since we’re talking hypothetically: Bright copper kettles for me. Time to rev up my stranded-on-an-island-professor side and build a steam engine boat out of those and, of course, the naturally provided coconuts! Hopefully Gilligan doesn’t show up.

  • Evelyn Sharwood

    Brown paper packages tied up in strings as long as it doesn’t contain land mines from the dogs or creamed color ponies

  • Linda Ramirez

    I’m thinking brown paper packages like amazon boxes full of food.

  • Being on a desert island— and not a dessert island— I would surely be craving crisp apple strudels so I’m going with that.

  • Anjali Kapoor-Davis

    Rain drops on Roses and whiskers on Kittens, Water to drink and the company of a kitten would be wonderful. On a side note, every time I have to go through cancer treatment or scans this is the musical that gets me through it.

  • Allison

    My sweet tooth would be screaming for crisp apple strudel. 🍎

  • Evelyn

    Brown paper packages tied up with string! I love it when I find packages on me front porch. I love surprises.

  • Kristy

    Brown paper packages tied up with string! These are a few of my favorite things!

  • Erika

    Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes❄️

  • Liz

    Brown paper packages tied up with string!

  • Shannah

    It’s a toss up between snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes OR schnitzel with noodles!

  • Thanks ffor a great read


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