One of my top three favorite movies (I can only get it down to three) is The Sound of Music, but I’ve rarely seen the stage production. I was very excited to see The Sound of Music on Tour, the touring production that’s currently showing at The Kennedy Center (through July 16th). I wondered if director Jack O’Brien (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) could create a version of the stage show that this diehard film fan could appreciate. I’m pleased to say that I was utterly enchanted with this show and fell in love with this work all over again.
I liked the elegant minimalism of the set. It wasn’t competing with the grandeur of the Austrian Alps in the movie. But, it did suggest place and time in a way that was engagingly tranquil without feeling gimmicky. The tone of the work was also very modern and feels relevant in America where the “other” feels more rejected in and peril daily. Watching the giant swastika flags unfurl and hearing the innocent voices of children reminded me why the resistance to Trump is important. It was a completely shocking though simple moment that spoke to other members of the audience judging by the slight gasps echoing around the theater. “The Final Ultimo” has never been more encouraging and more personal to me.
Who could fill the shoes of my beloved Julie Andrews? Charlotte Maltby, that’s who. Ms. Matlby’s performance was warm, endearing and made you fall in love with the impetuous Maria Rainer. She injected humor and sweetness with an almost Kate McKinnon-like flair that made the heroine bloom anew under the stage lights. Nicholas Rodriguez, Merwin Foard and Paige Sylvester all gave solid performances as the Captain, Max and Liesl, respectively. Local favorite Austin Colby (Smokey Joe’s Café, Crossing) turned in a very developed performance as Rolf. The children were darling and wonderful singers. My only complaint was that the boys seemed so much younger than the roles required. Melody Betts stole the show as The Mother Abbess, every time her rich, melodious voice began singing you were completely transported to another world. Her performance was a perfect mix between tough-love and compassion that emboldened not only Maria, but the audience as well.
In conclusion I can only think of two seemingly simple compliments to offer further evidence of how wonderful The Sound of Music truly is.
- It FLEW by. If I didn’t have access to a clock I would have thought the whole show took 45 minutes.
- I laughed, I cried and I went away feeling inspired.
You truly can’t ask for better reactions to a work than that. Make sure to make plans to take your whole family to The Sound of Music on Tour!
Kari Liked: Maria and The Mother Abbess were amazing. The costumes were lovely. This whole production of The Sound of Music, it just so charming and inspiring.
Kari Didn’t Like: The boys looked a lot younger than the ages they were supposed to be playing.
I’ve watched the movie The Sound of Music for many years, but have never seen the story in its original setting: on stage. Lucky for me a production of The Sound of Music has come to the Kennedy Center, and is delightful.
One problem I sometimes have with the movie is that it can feel very long. This version moves fast and never has a dull moment. I also loved that this production embraced that it was for the stage. Too often stage adaptations of movies try to compete with the movie, but there would be no way to create that same spectacle here. They do some neat things with the stage that make it feel very inclusive into the world. I especially like how Douglas W. Schmidt designed the walls of the house. It was very beautiful.
The performances were great as well. Charlotte Maltby did a great job adding a touch of modernity to her role of Maria while still keeping the overall feel fitting in well with the period. She brought a really great singing performance to the classics “The Sound of Music,” “My Favorite Things” and “Something Good.”
I have to admit I had some misgivings about Nicholas Rodriguez as Captain Von Trapp when I read his resume; he’s played so many ruffle and tumble, action roles. But, he gave a multilayered performance that was really captivating and sang very well on my favorite song of the whole show, “Edelweiss.” He also sang “Something Good” very well, and I loved the moment in the garden.
The stage version of this story requires a lot of the Mother Abbess, and Melody Betts really lived up to the vocal expectations. Her “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” is one of the biggest treats of this show.
When watching this show, you won’t wish you were watching the movie. You will instead be engrossed with a great story that is well paced and features stellar performances from all of its players.
RJ Liked: Everything
RJ Didn’t Like: I can’t think of anything.
For more information about The Sound of Music on Tour now playing at the Kennedy, click here.
(We were provided with complimentary media tickets in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are our own.)