One of the best performances of this production I have ever seen!
The Sound of Music is a musical with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, and a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, translated from the 1949 memoir of Maria von Trapp, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, a real-life Austrian musical family. Marriott Theatre's presentation of The Sound of Music couldn't have imagined that the timing of this play, where love heals and endures over hostility, would make you wonder what sound of music will come from Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Still, that timeless masterpiece is just what the world needs.
The place is Austria, 1938 in Anschluss, was the annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany on Mar 12, 1938. We learn of a young postulant, Maria Rainer, who regrets leaving the beautiful hills ("The Sound of Music"), but is committed to serving God. The head mother, who isn't sure Maria is ready to be a nun, gets a request for Captain von Trapp to send a nun to his house to serve as governess to his family and seven children.
Unfortunately, Maria doesn't know how to be a governess. She seeks spiritual guidance on working with the Captain's children but runs into a militant father who, the loss of his wife has wounded him, causing him to be distanced and continuously away from his children. His warlike methods include teaching his children to reply to individual signals from a whistle, which Maria openly dislikes.
Nevertheless, her presence transforms the children from the rigid authoritarian lifestyle of the Navy submarine Captain. However, upon his return, to review and provide his demands for the children, the joyful spirit of Maria's presence also changes him after hearing his children sing. She falls in love with the children and, eventually, their widowed father, who is engaged to another; however, he can't deny his love for Maria. Georg and Maria marry, yet, their forced loyalty to Germany's Nazism causes them instantaneous crises. As a result, Georg is ordered to serve under the commission of the German navy, which he vehemently opposes. They plan an escape after a concert previously arranged for the family to sing. As Georg von Trapp sings his farewell song, "Edelweiss," the family flees Austria with the children.
Marriott Theatre's The Sound of Music is one of the best performances of this production I have ever seen. From the nuns to the children, this play is magnificent. And the singing will have you captivated, thrusting you to sing out your favorite songs. Everyone in this play is amazing. Addie Morales, who plays Maria, the postulant seeking to become a nun at the Nonnberg Abbey, and Daniella Dalli (The Mother Abbess) had the audience singing, dancing, and in tears with their incredible voices. Addie, who credits her goofy dad for forcing her to take voice lessons, where she discovered her astonishing voice, rendition of The Sound of Music was breathtaking. Danielle wowed the audience, singing Climb Ev'ry Mountain, received joyous roars and applause, and even her beagle Charlie would have been howling her praises.
And the superb execution of the nuns singing Godeamus Domino and Confitemini Domino could have converted the audience and made any postulant excited about joining the nunnery. Erik Hellman, Heidi Kettenring, and Rob Lindley's performances were impeccable. And Emmet Smith (Rolf Gruber) is a natural-born star in the making. But the night goes to the von Trapp children, featuring Cambell Krausen (Liesl), Brody Tyner (Friedrich), Milla Liss (Louisa), Archer Geye (Kurt), Omi Lichtenstein (Brigitta), Olivia O'Sullivan (Marta), and Reese Bella (Gretl).
I have to admit, I teared up each time I saw them on stage. Their performance of So Long, Farewell made you feel like you were listening to a Broadway broadcast. The camaraderie between the children convinced you they were seven unruly, mischievous children fighting for love and attention, yet like a family. The glow on their faces on stage was magical. These kids performed like superstars!
And who could forget the magical songs written by Rodgers and Hammerstein? From The Sound of Music, Do-Re-Mi, Climb Every Mountain to Sixteen going on Seventeen, and the witty, How Can Love Survive were priceless. These music numbers will live forever as classical songs that triumph over tyranny. The story of The Sound of Music is eternal and brings out the light of joy during a cataclysm.
Lindsay and Crouse altered the storyline of the Trapp Family in The Sound of Music for dramatic effects. The real Georg von Trapp only had one child and asked the Nonnberg Abbey in for a nun to tutor the child after his wife died, and Maria was sent to the Trapp house.
I was thoroughly impressed with this performance of The Sound of Music. And Kudos to Marriott Theatre for dedicating the opening night performance to acclaimed Chicago performer Hollis Resnik. Resnik, who studied piano, took voice lessons, and performed with the Cleveland Symphony Children's Choir at a young age, is a Chicago theater legend. Her theater performances include (Sunset Boulevard, Les Miserables, Man of La Mancha, and Evita), who tragically died at the age of 66 from heart failure.