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Whitworth Theatre and Music Departments Collaborate on "The Sound of Music"

September 27, 2022

Something truly special is happening at Whitworth this fall. The fall main-stage production, The Sound of Music, Oct. 14-23 in Cowles Auditorium, will be a collaboration by Whitworth’s theatre and music departments, with both alumni and current students taking part.

The entire cast will be led by Whitworth music and theatre alumna Ann Benson ’94, who makes her directorial debut this fall. She returns to the stage in tribute to one of her mentors, the late Pat Stien, Whitworth associate professor emerita of theatre.

“I’m still in touch with several of my music and theatre professors and, especially with the recent passing of Pat Stien, it has felt meaningful to put to use in this way the skills and knowledge I gained at Whitworth,” Benson says. “I have found the cast to be creative, hardworking and hilarious – rehearsals are a total blast!”

She also has a special mission in mind.

“Whitworth theatre students really love doing work that has social relevance and so, when I was offered the opportunity to direct The Sound of Music, I was asked to help the students connect with it on that level. Examining the script through that lens, that relevancy emerged very quickly. Each of the main characters in Sound of Music lost everything they had come to count on, but embraced a new path. Similarly, each of us has experienced that same seismic shift in circumstances in the past three years – some of us temporarily, some of us not so – because of the pandemic.”

Also returning to the Whitworth stage is theatre alum and Saint George’s School music teacher Cynthia Romoff ’91, who is coaching the actors playing the Von Trapp children.

Philip Baldwin, Whitworth professor of music, started this semester by teaching his students all the musical numbers. The symphony orchestra strings is made up of about 20 student and professional players who will play behind the actors during the entire production.

Xiaosha Lin, Whitworth’s director of choral activities, is preparing the Forest Treble Choir to fill the roles of the nuns chorus. 

“It doesn’t get any better than Rodgers and Hammerstein for orchestral musical theatre; one beautiful, memorable piece after another played by a full, live orchestra filling the theatre,” says Scott Miller, Whitworth director of vocal studies and Sound of Music musical director. “This music is for everyone… young and old. The Sound of Music is a true classic. It stands the test of time and it bears repeating!”

The production runs Oct. 14, 15, 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m.; and Oct. 16 and 23 at 2 p.m. To purchase tickets, click here.

About Whitworth University:

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Kim Dawson, theatre department program assistant, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3707 or

Trisha Coder, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or