The production was stellar in every respect!
I can’t think of a better way to spend an evening than to enjoy a fantastic production of The Sound of Music, and this is exactly what The Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire provided to myself and the rest of the delighted and grateful audience this past week. I have been impressed with every production I’ve seen at The Marriott Theatre, especially with its unique and intimate in-the-round configuration, and this was no exception. The production was stellar in every respect and the vibe throughout the evening was pure musical joy.
Most of us know the story based on true events, right? Set in the glorious mountains of Salzburg, Austria in 1938, Maria, a young postulant of Nonnberg Abbey, is sent to be the governess to the seven children of former naval officer and widower, Captain Georg von Trapp. Maria’s presence transforms the home from sterile order and obedience to one that welcomes music, laughter and affection once again. Simultaneous to the story of family and love are the mounting horrors of World War II and how Austrians faced the dilemma of either acquiescing to what was happening, or holding their ground to stay true to their beliefs. Ultimately, it is love, music and perseverance that allows Maria and her new family to escape the eventual takeover of Hitler and the Third Reich, without having to compromise like so many others eventually did.
The story is familiar to most and committed to memory for many, including myself, but even so, this new production is fresh, timeless, and timely. Addie Morales, as the beloved Maria, has the exuberance that allows the audience to believe the love that the Von Trapp children and their father grow to have for her. Ms. Morales also has an exceptionally strong voice that never sounded strained throughout the two and a half hour show. Daniella Dalli as The Mother Abbess, Heidi Kettenring as the wealthy widow Elsa Schraeder, and Rob Lindley as the ambitious and self-centered Max Detweiler were also in very fine vocal form. Ms. Dalli has performed the role before and her absolute command of the challenging vocals is obvious.
Then there are the children, from supremely lovely Campbell Krausen as Liesl, who is actually sixteen going on seventeen, down to the chubby cheeked charm of 1st grader Reese Bella as the youngest Von Trapp, Gretl. Both boys, Brody Tyner as Friedrich and Archer Geye as Kurt, are also uber charming. All seven children performed with youthful exuberance, strong vocals, and obvious affection for each other.
Erik Hellman’s Captain von Trapp is solidly acted, but his whistling and singing skills could use a bit of work. Another standout of the evening is Emmit Smith as Rolf. Mr. Smith added a welcome touch of physical comedy, as did Rob Lindley. Their comedic timing is impeccable and I appreciated both roles in a new way. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Marriott veteran Nancy Voigts, who is delectable in her roles as a Nun, Baroness Elberfeld, and the very grateful 3rd place winner of the Kaltzberg Festival!
Nick Bowling’s direction is masterful... as well as how the cast uses the offstage perimeter of the stage as the garden where they sing and dance with Maria or hide from Nazi soldiers. William Carlos Angulo’s choreography is just the right amount of novel and familiar, and the set, designed by Collette Pollard, is visually beautiful yet practical for the space. The rest of the artistic team, led by Associate Artistic Director Peter Marston Sulllivan, is top notch.