The Sound of Music

Is it time for a revival? Sure. Especially with the winsome 20-year-old Kerstin Anderson as Maria. She has a beautiful singing voice without sounding strained or operatic. She brings energy and playfulness to the role of a novitiate in a convent who suddenly finds herself as a nanny for seven children who have a history of running off their nannies. They're not bad kids. Their widowed father, Captain Von Trapp (Ben Davis) has reverted to his military ways after the death of his beloved wife, and lines up his children for inspection, insists they wear unforms, and to come running when he whistles. Oh, and he's banned music in the house, since it reminds him of his wife.
Maria can't help but bring the music, though, and the kids love her for it, as well as for her fun-loving spirit and personal attention to them. “My Favorite Things” and “Do-Re-Mi” and “So Long, Farewell” are brimming with gaity, and the kids are good singers, also. And the Mother Abbess (Ashley Brown) soars when she sings “Climb Every Mountain.”
Criticisms? Sure, there are a few. The nuns as a whole are way too loud for a contemplative order in a convent. And with the softening would come a little better blending. Max (Merwinfoard) has a great deep bass voice, but rumbles too much to be understood clearly. Frau Schraeder (Teri Hansen) has a servicebable voice, but just doesn't add much. And she's hardly retreated off the stage from her broken engagement to the Captain when he starts putting the moves on Maria, which is probably more the fault of the original script, but still, some interlude would have been preferable. (Insert “The Lonely Goatherd” here, perhaps.)
Ben Davis is excellent as Captain von Trapp, though the chemistry with Maria seems a bit contrived. He does a fine “Edelweiss” on the guitar at the end. Mostly, it's Kerstin Anderson's show, and the family's numbers sag noticeably when she's not on the stage.
Musically, all the actors get high marks for singing a capella several times, and then when the orchestra comes back in, they're right on key. Not all performers are that talented! Liesl (Paige Silvester) looks too close to the same age as Maria (actually, she's older), but Rolf (Dan Tracy) looks 'way too old to be the messenger boy on the bicycle, making his interest in Liesl feel downright creepy. You know the orchestra is really good because you don't notice them. They aren't playing too loud, they're not making mistakes, and they add tremendously to the whole production.
Overall, a great night at the theater. This beloved classic is a straight-on homage to the original, and just a lot of fun to be around. Kudos to the whole company.

Ron Salfen