The innumerable von Trapp children, clad in floral lederhosen and ready to sing their hearts out, will swarm the stage of Artpark’s Mainstage Theater for “The Sound of Music,” which opens at 8 tonight and runs through July 19.

The annual Artpark musical, always family friendly and typically cast with a combination of local and national talent, has become one of Western New York’s most reliable theatrical traditions. As in past years, the show will be directed by MusicalFare Theatre founder Randall Kramer and choreographed by former University at Buffalo professor Lynne Kurdziel-Formato, who has recruited several students from her current post at Elon University in North Carolina to appear. Jason Bravo serves as music director. For those who haven’t seen the show, or who have somehow missed the seemingly unavoidable 1965 film of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, it tells the story of a young Austrian nun who serves as governess to a large brood belonging to one Captain von Trapp during the ominous rise of the Third Reich. Its songs, from the joyous title number to “My Favorite Things” and “Edelweiss” have become hard-wired into the American musical consciousness.

The production will be dedicated to the late Brother Augustine Towey, who founded Niagara University’s theater program and directed several plays at Artpark. Towey died last November. Captain von Trapp and Maria will be played by local favorite Paul Todaro and Emilie Renier, who played the title role in last year’s Artpark production of “Cinderella.” The show also features Zane Phillips, David Autovino and Debbie Pappas along with a large supporting cast.

Tickets are $25 to $49, with information at 754-4375 or

– Colin Dabkowski