A nostalgic yet fresh take on Rogers and Hammerstein’s original The Sound of Music comes to stage at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. An absolutely divine all-new production that was made just in time for the movies 50th anniversary. While the Tony Award winning musical from just 6 years prior to the popular film has had its fair share of revising, this new tour is near perfection. Keeping nearly every captivating song that audiences have already been engrained with, The Sound of Music captures the true embodiment of what we have all cherished from our childhood. A cast that can emulate even the incomparable Julie Andrews to the pure charm of the seven adorable Trapp family children, this production will have your heart wanting to sing every song you hear!
Even though The Sound of Music is far more recognizable for its 1965 film counterpart, the stage production stems from before the iconic frolicking through the hills of Austria scene. Based on a real families struggle leading up to the beginnings of Anschluss, a subject matter of such seriousness is hard to fathom would be part of such a cheery musical thats so uplifting and loving. However, to this day The Sound of Music has continued to be arguably the most admired musical of all time. Perhaps it has been contributed to it receiving a Tony, Grammy, and Academy Award-winning Best Score, including “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” “Edelweiss” and the title song. You know you are about to belt it out!
While it’s a story surrounded by the Austrian singing family, the Trapps, The Sound of Music is truly a story of our heroine Maria Augusta. The silly yet joyful woman of faith is forced by her Mother Superior to take a job as governess to a large wealthy family while she learns the righteousness of love, acceptance of herself, and whether nunhood is right for her. During her trials and tribulations she falls in love with the children, and eventually their widowed father, Captain von Trapp. Bringing music and happiness to the family Captain von Trapp and Maria are both faced with their own internal struggles searching for the answer to what’s worth fighting for.
All of your favorite things songs are performed with such elation and energy that one cannot help themselves from slipping into a state of ecstasy. These songs are beloved for their simplicity yet honored for their intricacy and intelligence leaving nearly all of them as musical standards. Each new number should bring goosebumps throughout your entire body even if your just vaguely familiar with the film.
From the powerful somber of the nuns hymns to the note belching epics of Mother Superior to the sophisticated “Do-Re-Mi”, the audience will smile throughout every note. Every song is crisp and composed similarly their original counterpart. Less surprises but more of what the audience wants is what helps The Sound of Music soar to a new musical benchmarck.
This could not be done without such a talented cast. Kerstin Anderson could not have been more delightful as Maria. Her vocalization is superb and her presence on stage is second to none; a perfect Maria that holds just as much gleefulness as Julie Andrews did in the movie. While I can praise everyone for their amazing performances, I must first speak of everyones chemistry. This subtle piece to any show is often overlooked, but the chemistry between actors in this performs helped show me whats been lacking from other musicals.
From the very beginning, you will see the realness had onstage between Kerstin and the amazing Melody Betts playing Mother Abbess. True magic is had between these two, but perhaps even more between Kerstin and her male counterpart Ben Davis as the polished Captain von Trapp. Delivering true heartfelt emotion to charisma not nearly like the stiff Christopher Plummer, Davis is able to provide a more caring and lovable character than the film’s counterpart.
The sophisticated semi-flamboyant comic-relief loyal family friend Max is played by Merwin Foard, a voice talent mecca that has been in countless animated films, delivers an upbeat fun performance that never feels forced or upstaged. The whole family of cast members all played an integral part in making this a show that cannot be missed.
I would imagine audience-goers would have some idea of what they’re getting themselves into, but if you have ever had any inkling of care for the music, the characters, or any musical theater, The Sound of Music is not one to skip-over.
The entire production is solid, grand, and creative. While perhaps not as intricate and detailed of other passed productions, this show strives for musical perfection and tops other musicals in recent memory. The show has a running time close to 3 hours, but never dragged… not once. Not only is it paced and pieced together well with some songs relocated to better tell the story, its a top notch production and flows like one should come to expect.
Several songs may become repetitive with a couple too many reprises, though warranted, but I still cannot get over how well the standards were performed. Nothing made me feel as though I would rather be watching the movie, instead I just found myself enthralled with a world class performances right in front of me.
The Sound of Music shows what a little love can bring to your life, what a little bit of music and singing can do for your enjoyment, and what facing your problems and standing up for what you believe in can do for your own life fulfillment. Maybe a little song is all I need. Rogers and Hammersteins last musical together is something to be held up on pedestal. It’s one that is well deserving of its praise and will take its theatergoers to a simpler more classic time in Broadways history. No evolution in storyline or style is needed, this timeless musical sensation will remain in audiences hearts for many generations to come.
The Sound of Music is playing thru July 31st with tickets starting at $29. More details are available on SCFTA.org.
For further reading, and for those that are true Sound of Music fans, or just want to learn more about the creation and backstory of this story, might I suggest “The Sound of Music Companion” by Laurence Malson. This is an incredibly detailed large format book with 150+ images from the film and theater productions along with detailed information of the real Trapps and backstory of Maria. It includes a ton of wonderful tidbits from other past productions and goes through the story from Broadway, to film, to where it is today. Click Here to buy your copy!