Two authors join Summer Place Theatre in talk about the history behind 'The Sound of Music'

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Two authors join Summer Place Theatre in talk about the history behind 'The Sound of Music'
Matt Whalen
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Two authors join Summer Place Theatre in talk about the history behind 'The Sound of Music'

North Central College Cultural Events will present an "Author Talk" on "The Times Surrounding The Sound of Music" on Tuesday, April 12, at Meiley-Swallow Hall. It will be held at 7 p.m. at the hall on campus, 31 S. Ellsworth St. in Naperville.

Judy Brodhead, associate professor of English and administrative coordinator of cultural events, will introduce Don Gingold, president of The Summer Place, Naperville's Community Theatre, who will talk about the upcoming performance of "The Sound of Music" and show parallels between the beloved play and the turmoil in Europe today.

"Typically, we picture Julie Andrews and the von Trapp kids when we think of the movie. But there are in fact two stories: the love story of Georg and Maria, and the story of their reaction to the Nazi invasion of their homeland," Gingold said. "The play gives more balance to these stories. And that's extremely relevant to the world today."

Gingold will then interview two authors who shine a light on extraordinary people of World War II and what they were likely thinking back then, which may help us understand and react to recent world events.

Mari K. Eder, a retired U.S. Army Major General, has written the book "The Girls Who Stepped Out of Line" (available on Amazon and at the event), untold stories of the women who changed the course of World War II.

Eder is a renowned speaker and thought leader on strategic communication and leadership, having held important positions in NATO, the Pentagon, and the Department of Defense. She will tell some of the fascinating stories found in the book, and how it relates to present day events.

Author and storyteller Jennifer Coburn, whose own writings include seven books and five literary anthologies, has written "Cradles of the Reich," a fictional account of the amazingly true story of the Nazi Lebensborn breeding program to create "the master race" (available in October on Amazon).

Aside from her many author credits, she's a performer, producer and coach at So Say We All, a live storytelling organization, and also volunteers at Reality Changers, a nonprofit that helps low-income high school students become the first in their family to attend college.

Her research into the Lebensborn Society includes rare perspectives into the minds of the people in Germany at the time preceding the war, including a Hitler youth as a next-door neighbor.

"These women can help us better understand today's actions in Ukraine and even our own country. We can learn from our past, and thankfully, there are people like Mari and Jennifer who can teach us," Gingold said. He will be on stage at Meiley-Swallow while the two authors will Zoom in from their homes on either side of the country.

The authors' works being discussed this night are both published locally by Naperville's own publishing company, Sourcebooks.

The event is free and open to the public.

Special VIP seating is reserved for Summer Place VIP Members, part of their pass to this and other special events leading up to their performances of "The Sound of Music," including a red carpet, member-only sing-along version of the movie at Hollywood Palms in June.

Performances of the musical, which differs from the movie, will open July 15 for three weekends at the Naperville Central High School Auditorium. Membership passes and individual tickets are available at their website,

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