It’s Alpine-Hillbilly fusion in this Magpie Tale
When Larry Napier opened his Alpine Village in the hills above Lake Lucerne, Arkansas, in 1957 people said it would never fly. But today it is one of the leading international attractions of northwest Arkansas, having hosted many CEOs and heads of state visiting the Walmart headquarters and surrounding areas.
After nearly a decade of losing money and on the brink of closing, in 1965 and on the heels of the hugely popular film version of the musical, Larry mounted an all Arkansas cast version of The Sound of Music. With the 45-piece Banjo Orchestra of the Ozarks accompanying his daughter Lulu in the role of Maria, the familiar tunes were sung with a charming Arkansas twang. They took some liberties with the script, changing the convent into a Pentecostal all girls college and the Nazis were recast as members of the ACLU.
The premier on Christmas Eve 1965 was an enormous success and became a holiday tradition for the next decade, and even after marrying Bob Bornstein in 1972, Lulu continued to play the lead, even when pregnant with Bob Jr. in 1973 and LuAnne in 1975.
When Larry died in 1989, Bob and Lulu took over the Alpine Village, and a few years later LuAnne stepped in for the role of Maria. Lulu can still be found making her way around the Alpine Village, typically offering up her delicious oatmeal cookies that she presents to the guests before the lights go down and the curtain goes up for yet another production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic.