The Stage Was Alive with “The Sound of Music”

Wow! What a show! This new production of the 1959 play was launched in September and is based on the 2015 national tour production. The new players bring a freshness and brightness to this much-loved musical.  If the current tour it is coming to your city, I highly recommend going to see it.

My expectations were set by the 1965 musical film starring Julie Andrews and I was hoping that my internal sing-along to the iconic Rodgers and Hammerstein songs would not be thwarted. (A few years ago, I went to see “West Side Story”, only to find that half the songs were sung in Spanish!) This production of “The Sound of Music” uses the original 1959 libretto of Lindsay and Crouse, which itself was inspired by “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers” by Maria von Trapp. While the order of the songs is different than in the movie, lovers of the movie will not be disappointed.

Sound-of-Music Maria

Source: Family Fun Vancouver ; Photo by Matthew Murphy

When Jill-Christine Wiley as Maria started to sing “The hills are alive…” I actually got shivers! Her voice is just right, and she brings sparkling personality to the part. I found Mike McLean as Captain von Trapp to be a bit theatre-ish (unnaturally stilted) at the beginning, but as the Captain loosened up I grew to like him more and more. (Reminded me a bit of Jake Gyllenhaal.) His chemistry with Maria is palpable and their kisses are both romantic and passionate.

Sound of Music Captain and KidsThroughout, I found myself wondering how they were able to find so many exceptional singers for the roles! Lauren Kidwell as the Mother Abbess produces a soaring rendition of “Climb Every Mountain” that brought the loudest applause of the evening. On her first national tour, Keslie Ward as Liesl has a stage presence that reminds me of a young Judy Garland, although her wonderful voice is all her own. The children are so cute and funny, particularly the littlest one, and keep the audience smiling throughout.

In addition to the singing and the acting, one of the best things about this production is the stage backdrops. In the abbey, they are designed to give the impression of beautiful stained glass, creating a tranquil atmosphere with streams of light shining through onto the stage and the players. The von Trapp living room has lacy wallpaper setting the stage for the simple furniture. And when the family steps onstage at the music festival, tall red banners with stark black swastikas in the centre suddenly unfurl from the ceiling. At the performance I saw, you could hear the sharp intake of breath as the shockwave went through the audience.

I wished I could have gone back to see this more than once, as it was so good. My friend went home and watched the movie the next night to continue the experience.

8 thoughts on “The Stage Was Alive with “The Sound of Music”

  1. That feeling of “this isn’t my version” is well-known to me. I accompanied this when I was a high school senior and when I see the film I always feel slightly uncomfortable at the changes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My mom used to tell a story about me seeing The Sound of Music. I was about 5 and it was the first movie they’d ever taken me to. After the early show ended, my parents got us all up to leave, we’d been sitting on the front row of the 2nd tier. I told them i wanted to see it again and we should stay. Mom grabbed my hand and said it was bedtime. I wrapped myself around the brass poles of the handrails and sobbed, begging to watch it again. Apparently, I screeched that I could watch it a million times! My dad finally peeled off arms and legs from the pole and picked me up. I begged, pleaded, howled, sobbed till I was shuddering and gasping. Mom reported the many ‘what a lousy parent’ looks she got as we finally exited the theater.
    I don’t have a memory of that, though the movie has always been my favorite, and I doubted her memory until I looked up a history of the show and found a re-release in 1973…perfectly time for me. lol
    The spine tingling moment for me was joining in singing Edelweiss, every night for two weeks from stage left as I waited to help my sister (Maria) change her costume for the next scene. It brings me to tears, just remembering it. The swell of sound as the entire audience and all the back stage workers joined in a farewell song to the Von Trapps. Do other theaters also do that?

    Like

    • I think the first movie I went to was also a musical — “Mary Poppins”. I loved that one too.

      Parents tell the darnedest stories, don’t they? I have one with my younger son at about age 4, when he just could not accept that he was too small to go on the bungee Drop Zone attraction at the fair!

      Unfortunately there were no sing-along moments at this production, although we wanted to! I hear that sometimes there is a sing-along showing of the movie, though.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s