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City Councilman Jumps in Head First in Lead Role of ‘The Sound of Music’

Noblesville Common Councilman Mark Boice drove his oldest daughter, Ali Boice, to a show audition and was just along for the ride to support her.

And the next thing he knew, he was asked to sing musical scales, read lines and have his photo taken with others auditioning for a role.

I was at the auditions with my own daughter, who was also auditioning. I saw and heard Mark Boice talking to guest show director Evan Elliott and going into another audition area. Just a few days later, we would find out that Mark Boice was cast as Capt. Georg von Trapp, the father and male lead, in The Belfry Theatre’s holiday production of “The Sound of Music,” which opens Friday and continues for a total of eight performances through Dec. 4 at The Ivy Tech Auditorium in Noblesville.

Ali Boice was cast as one of his children.

Just eight days after their auditions, Kristen Boice posted on her Facebook page: “He is still in shock, excited for the memories that will be made with Ali and petrified all at the same time to be in his first-ever show after being an owl in preschool and a brief run at show choir in high school, which was a long time ago.” She was so proud of her husband for “stepping way out of his comfort zone” and being the “amazing dad” that he is.

So I had to ask Mark Boice what he was thinking when he accepted this huge acting role?

His reply: “I love trying new and difficult endeavors to challenge myself to learn and grow,” he said. “I compete in endurance barefoot waterski races and recently completed my first half-Ironman. I believe the best and most rewarding experiences come from pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zones. Acting on stage is certainly one of those experiences pushing me personally.”

(Photo by Rob Slaven courtesy of Indy Ghost Light Photography)
Noblesville Common Councilman Mark Boice will make his community theater debut as Capt. von Trapp in The Belfry Theatre’s holiday production of “The Sound of Music,” opening Friday at The Ivy Tech Auditorium

While Mark Boice admitted it’s his “first time acting since being an owl in preschool,” he said it’s far from being his first time on The Ivy Tech Auditorium stage. The 1993 Noblesville High School graduate was a member of the NHS Singers mixed show choir on that very stage, the site of the former high school where he graduated. He was also in the orchestra and multiple NHS bands at NHS, where he placed second in the state music competition playing the trumpet.

This show offers an opportunity that not many people get. “It is a joy to play this role as a father alongside my daughter,” Mark Boice said. Ali Boice portrays the captain’s mischievous 13-year-old daughter, Louisa von Trapp.

“Ali is a junior at Legacy Christian School, so I won’t have many more opportunities to do things with her before she goes to college,” the dad said.

So what’s it been like rehearsing for a show with his actress daughter Ali? “It has been even more of a bonding experience and created some cherished memories together,” he said.

While the dad doesn’t have any acting experience since elementary school, he is familiar with theater productions, months of rehearsals and what it takes to be in those actor shoes, because both of their daughters, Ali and Kate Boice, have been acting on stage since they were elementary age, both at school, and at community and equity theaters.

“It has been so much fun to debrief after rehearsals with Ali nightly.”

(Photo courtesy of Mark Boice)
“It is a joy to play this role as a father alongside my daughter,” said Noblesville Common Councilman Mark Boice, who plays Capt. von Trapp alongside Ali Boice, as Louisa, in The Belfry Theatre’s “Sound of Music.”

He said, “Ali jokingly wants to know which child is the Captain’s favorite.”

Their other daughter, Kate, a freshman at NHS, acted on stage over the weekend as Hunyak, an innocent Hungarian immigrant accused of murder, in NHS’s “Chicago: Teen Edition” fall musical. Mark and Kristen Boice attended nightly to support Kate.

Mark Boice enlisted the advice and help of both of his daughters, who have “both been inspiring and encouraging for me in this opportunity.”

Kate Boice ran countless lines from the 116-page script with her dad during Noblesville Schools fall break.

“Her favorite line is when I tell everyone I am very happy with absolutely no enthusiasm conveying to the audience that I am not joyful.”

He said, Kate loves acting, so she has spent hours giving me advice on being in character, singing and conveying emotions.”

Mark Boice didn’t count the number of lines he had to memorize for the show, “but it was more than I remembered,” he said. “When I first got the script, I highlighted all of my lines. I then flipped through it and there was so much yellow that I got overwhelmed.” (My daughter, who is a friend of Kate Boice, also recommended to him a LineLearner phone app “which has been a big help and allowed me to learn lines while in the car and on the go,” he said.

Kristen Boice has been great and supportive of her husband’s adult acting debut.

“Balancing my job, City Council, being a dad and the role has been a challenge, and I could not have done it without Kristen. We go over the family calendar at the beginning of every week and figure out how we can divide and get all four of us everywhere on time. She is also the mom manager doing things like writing up the girls’ bios for shows, so it is fun to watch her add ‘my things’ this round,” Mark Boice said.

And as far as playing the lead role, he said, “I am excited and honored to play Captain von Trapp. He is such an interesting and complex character. The captain feels the stress of raising his children alone while bearing the weight of his entire country. He lost his wife, and his best friend seems to only like him because of his money. Trapp was a successful Navy captain where he ruled with order and discipline, so he uses those tactics in all facets of his life. When Maria (the lead actress, played by XxxxxXX) shows how this method isn’t working, he instantly feels disappointed and failing.”

Mark Boice said, “I think many of us can relate to the shame he experiences with regards to parenting, leading others and even feeling alone and lost at times.”

WIth only two days until opening night, is he a little nervous?

(Photo courtesy of Mark Boice)
Noblesville Common Councilman Mark Boice and his daughter, Ali Boice, read their parts in The Belfry Theatre’s “Sound of Music.”

“At first, I was just scared to get up on stage and sing in front of people, but I am getting more excited as we get closer to the show. I have a lot of friends coming to the show, and I’m very excited for them to experience it.”

He commended fellow cast members. “The cast is incredibly talented, so I’m excited for my friends to experience the songs. Kristen made up the word last week that I am ‘scited,’ both scared and excited,” he said.

“‘The Sound of Music’” was the first musical my daughters fell in love with as little girls. I think we wore out the DVD when they were little from playing it so much. Learning the part has brought us so many great memories from the past. I hadn’t watched the show in years before getting cast, but now I have scoured the internet and watched almost every YouTube version I can find. I’ve tried to study every Captain (von Trapp) to get inspiration and learn from each individual.”

He is taking this role very seriously and will be ready to go on stage when the curtain opens on Friday night.

When he was asked if he would put a Belfry Theatre “Sound of Music” yard sign in his front yard to promote the show, he said he would be happy to put up a sign. But he admitted, “I think everyone on our street has purchased tickets (for opening night)  … I’m worried there is going to be a lot of heckling that night.”

He said, “The first thing people ask him is if I am going to sing ‘Edelweiss’ alone. That song is iconic with the Captain, and everyone knows it so I have been practicing it daily. My neighbors have probably heard it countless times as I sing it while walking the dogs on our trail.”

Mark Boice said, “I had forgotten how many songs the Captain really sings, though. He has parts in eight songs, so getting my voice back in shape has been a priority.”

Brenna Whitaker, the musical director, has been “excellent” to work with and has recorded multiple tracks and scales for him to practice with and helped with his breathing and diction. He said, “I always sang the bass (lowest) part in high school show choir, but Brenna thinks I am more of a baritone.”

Elliott, assistant director for NHS Thespians and who is enjoying his first time as guest director for The Belfry’s production of “The Sound of Music,” had great things to say about his lead actor.

Elliott said, “Mark has been a joy to direct. He was one of the first actors off-book and takes pride in the entire process. From audition day to dress rehearsals, his role as a father has helped him to find the nuances in the Captain’s behavior. Mark’s ‘Captain’ is authoritative but also explores the show’s softer moments. ‘Edelweiss’ his featured song, is very well done. I hope this is just the beginning for him in the local theater scene.”

Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com. Read about Elliott’s guest director debut in the Betsy Reason column in next week’s Times.

Want TO GO?

What: Hamilton County Theatre Guild’s The Belfry Theatre presents “The Sound of Music,” directed by guest director Evan Elliott of Noblesville.
When: Opens Friday and continues through Dec. 4. Show times 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Where: The Ivy Tech Auditorium, 300 N. 17th St., Noblesville.
How much: $20, all tickets, general admission seating, online, and at the door, if available.
Info: thebelfrytheatre.com

Meet THE CAST

Maria Rainer: Ellen Vander Missen
Captain von Trapp: Mark Boice
Mother Abbess: Susan Smith
Max Detweiler: Rob Lawson
Elsa Schraeder: Katelyn Maudlin
Sister Margaretta (u/s Mother Abbess): Christina Burch
Sister Berthe: Amanda Lindorf
Sister Sophia: Karter Conrad
Liesl: Kalyn Melham
Friedrich: Jackson Mullen
Louisa: Ali Boice
Kurt: Timmy Quinnell
Brigitta: Elena Shonkwiler
Marta: Sadie Ohning
Gretl: Olivia Cook
Rolf: Troy Bridges
Frau Schmidt/Nun: Lindsay Davis
Franz: Jim Gryga
Herr Zeller: Ronn Johnston
Admiral Von Schreiber: Kurt Weigel
Baron Elberfeld: Guy Grubbs
Baroness Elberfeld/Nun: Melissa Cook
Baroness Zeller/Nun: Allison Epp
Lieutenant/Ensemble: Abel Powers
Postulant/Nun: Mylee Ellis
Postulant/Nun: Kestrel Dunn

Meet THE CREW

Director: Evan Elliott
Vocal Director: Brenna Whitaker
Assistant Director: Susan Nieten
Technical Director: Josh Vander Missen
Choreographer: Elizabeth Pike
Producer: Paula Elliott
Stage Manager: Fran Knapp
Assistant Stage Manager: Anne Auwaerter
Lighting Designer: Clay Howard
Sound Designer: Geoff Lynch
Lighting Operator: J Herold
Mic Operator: Aidan ‘AJ’ Johnston
Costumer: Jessica Oldfield
Costumes: Elizabeth Ruddell
Stage Crew & Follow Spot Operator: Addison McMillan
Stage Crew: Violet Krupa
Headshots Photographer: Hannah Lockhart