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Worth seeing with the entire family!

The hills are alive with “The Sound of Music”, as Lincolnshire’s Marriott Theatre brings a new and fresh look to an old classic. It seems all of the regional subscription theaters are doing at least one classic to their stages aking the return to theater (post-Covid) fun. As I have said over and over, even if you have seen a musical before, seeing it on a different stage, with a different director’s view and a different cast, can change the entire look and feel of the show. Over the past years, we have watched musicals change many times under the direction of Nick Bowling. His eye sees the musical in a different light than many previous directors and I love what he has done to bring “The Sound of Music” to Marriott’s in-the-round theater.

When doing in-the-round, sets are limited but Collette Pollard has mastered the art of creating illusions on this stage. The choreography by William Carlos Angulo is a sheer delight ( there is not a lot of dance in a show about Nuns and escapes from Nazis). In the “Sixteen Going on Seventeen″ number with Liesl (an awesome performance by Campbell Krausen) and Rolf (Emmet Smith), we see a scene that is powerful and probably the best I have ever seen of this number. I am not sure if the toss of the bag on the bag was as planned or just happened, but the audience was ready to explode with applause for just that 10 seconds.

The cast is a well oiled machine. While I felt that Erik Hellman was a bit weak as Captain Von Trapp, he did get better as the play progressed, but I never felt that he was the man who would risk everything for his family and his country. On the other hand, Addie Morales is adorable as Maria. She can dance, she can sing and she is truly versatile (many of us just witnessed her spectacular ” Evita in “Evita” at Drury Lane). You cannot help falling in love with this amazing actress. The Mother Abbess is played to perfection by Daniella Dalli (welcome to Chicago theater) and when she does “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” to end the first act, you will feel chills up your spine.

The Captain’s best friend Max is played with just the right comic touch by Rob Lindley and Elsa Schraeder by Chicago favorite Heidi Kettenring who always gives us a 110% performance. The other adults of note are Mark Ulrich as Franz the Butler and Laura T. Fisher as Frau Schmidt, the housekeeper. Other ensemble members are: Elaine Cotter, Mitchell J. Fain, Nancy Voigts, Joe Capstick, Tafadzwa Diener, Dan Gold, Maya McQueen, Amanda Walker, Terry Hamilton and Brandon Dahlquist.

The nuns of the Abbey doing “How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria” are Susan Moniz as Sister Berthe, Lydia Burke as Sister Margaretta and Ana Silva as Sister Sophia. They are delightful and make this number a solid memory that will be hummable on the way home.

The children are truly exceptional. I have done this show several times and finding the right mix of kids is not easy. They must have personality, vocal ability and also be adorable. This cast has them all. In addition to Ms. Krausen, who as I previously said is a standout performer, we have six more kids that were as fun to watch as one could ask for. Brody Tyner is Friedrich, Milla Liss is a wonderful Louisa (the troublemaker), Archer Geye is an adorable Kurt, Omi Lichtenstein handles Brigitta to perfection, Olivia O’Sullivan is the perfect Marta and last but certainly not least, Reese Bella is a loveable Gretl (you just want to squeeze her!).

I would think that everyone knows the actual story (which is indeed an actual story), so just to make sure, I will tell you that during World War II, the Germans in their march to take over the World took over Austria and The Von Trapp family escaped by becoming singers, giving up a very wealthy lifestyle for one much simpler, but with great love. A nun want-to-be, Maria Rainer, was brought to the family as a nursemaid and ended up become the step mother that changed the family and saved them from what could have been a fate worse than one wants to image.

The songs are memorable, the story factual (to a point) and the production is one that is worth seeing with the entire family. This is their story based on the book “The Trapp Family Singers” by Maria Augusta Trapp with the play book by Russel Crouse and Howard Lindsay and the Music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II.

“The Sound of Music” will continue at The Marriott Theatre of Lincolnshire located at 10 Marriott Drive in Lincolnshire thru June 5th.