Published online July 27, 2018
What is not to like about “The Sound of Music,” the delightful story taken from the real-life story of the von Trapp family? With music and lyrics by Rogers and Hammerstein, (their final collaboration), and book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, the production is stacked for success. The show is now playing at the Smithwick Theatre at Foothill College until Aug. 5.
“The Sound of Music” originally opened on Broadway November 1959. It starred Mary Martin as the incorrigibly delightful Maria and went on to win seven Tony Awards. It ran for 1,443 sold-out performances. Opening in London in 1961 the production held the record for the longest running American Musical in London’s West End after a six-year run. Continuing the winning streak in 1965 the movie, starring Julie Andrews ran away with the five main Academy Awards. Sadly, the beautiful “Edelweiss” was the last song Oscar Hammerstein wrote a few days before he died.
The story takes place in Salzburg, Austria, in the late 1930’s. It tells of a rollicking, optimistic joyous postulate nun. Maria (Jillian Bader), whose calling is questioned by the Mother Abbess (Rachel Michelberg). She is sent to become the temporary governess to the seven children of the rigid, highly controlling Naval Captain Georg von Trapp (Scott Solomon). The Nazi invasion of Austria ominously hovers over the plot. The story continues with the realization of the love felt for von Trapp by Maria even though he is engaged to the sophisticated Baroness Elsa Schraeder (Elizabeth Claire Lawrence). The politics of the impending regime causes a breach with von Trapp and his fiancée causing a break in the engagement and the marriage of von Trapp and Maria. The war becomes a realization and von Trapp is called to serve the Nazi’s, whom he is opposed. Maria arranges a plan to escape to Switzerland.
The production is delightfully scattered with enchanting standards we never tire of hearing. “My Favorite Things,”, “Do-Re-Mi,” “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,”” Climb Every Mountain,” “The Sound Of Music,” “So Long Farewell” are all individual masterpieces and I challenge anyone to leave the theater without humming one of these gems.
Scott Solmon carries the role of Captain von Trapp with authority. Jillian Bader plays Maria with gay abandon with a touch of the tom-boy and Huckleberry Finn while always being aware of her femininity. Rachel Michelberg as The Mother Abbess makes “Climb Every Mountain” hers and delivers a high point in the performance.
Elizabeth Claire Lawrence plays Baroness Elsa Schraeder, von Tarpp’s fiancée with subtle sarcasm without being abrasive. She brings a fine tuned voice to her role. Aaron Hurley as Max Detweiler adds just the right comedic touch with well-timed interjections.
All seven von Trapp children are charming, talented, and well cast. Of course, Alyssa Kim as Gretl the littlest von Trapp and Wesley Stewart as Kurt the youngest boy steal their scenes. Not only are they adorable they deliver their lines and songs like pros.
Lightly directed by Milissa Carey, add sound by Andrew Heller and creative sets by Kuo-Hao-Lo, lighting by Michael Ramsaur, with costumes by Mae Matos and Liza Rozman that are colorful and blend well with the production. Of course no show goes anywhere without a strong orchestra and conductor William Liberatore leads a fine group (heavy on strings and a glorious harp) that serves as the glue that keeps the production together.
“The Sound of Music” is a feel good show with wonderful songs that stays with you and a story that is memorable for the entire family.
The Sound Of Music
Where: Smithwick Theatre – Foothill College
280 and El Monte Rd -Los Altos Hills CA
Through: Aug 5
Tickets $12 – $32
Information and Reservations: 650/ 949-7360 or visit www.foothill.edu/theatre
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