The Sound of Music, based on the book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, tells the true story of Maria von Trapp. Set in 1938 during Germany’s annexation of Austria, Maria, an unbreakable and energetic postulant, cares for seven children belonging to Austrian Captain Georg von Trapp. Caught between love, duty and an encroaching Nazi regime, Maria and Georg must navigate their love for one another and avoid the impending invasion. The story that unfolds is full of laughter, love, heartfelt moments and, of course, music.
Originally performed on Broadway in 1959, The Sound of Music has numerous adaptations, from West End tours to film and television. On April 5, 2019, The Sound of Music made its season premiere at Cottage Theatre. Directed by Joel Ibáñez, Cottage Theatre’s rendition of The Sound of Music lives up to the original Broadway performance. Ibáñez proves, from his portrayal of Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, that not only can he act, but he can also direct with the same energy, emotion and talent.
The delightful and memorable music and lyrics by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II are performed live and will entrance the audience for its entire two hours and forty-five-minute run-time. With music and vocal direction by Chris King, Mark VanBeever, Trisha Butcher, Liam Onaitis and Joshua Sheetz, Rodgers and Hammerstein would be proud of their performances.
Expertly executed dance scenes are choreographed by Janet Rust, and with her direction, the actors ”flit and float” around the stage with elegance and beauty.
Sabrina Gross plays a deeply caring and lively Maria Rainer as she cares for the von Trapp children and struggles with her love and faith. The Mother Abbess, played by Tracy Nygard, offers real counsel and understanding to the confused and misunderstood Maria. Nathan Blakely, acting as Captain Georg von Trapp, commands the stage as he marches, sings and dances across the room.
The love Gross and Blakely’s characters feel for one another is palpable and radiates across every seat of the house.
Rolf Gruber, performed by Oshen Parris-Austin, was a complex and interesting character who’s pain and confusion shined brightly on the stage. Blake Nelson, playing Max Detweiler, and Brittany Dreier, portraying Elsa Schraeder, were humorous, charming and added excellent support to the story.
The von Trapp children, portrayed by Hanna Foshay, Maia Wilhour, Kira Carver, Nicole Wilhour, William Blakely, Audriahna Jones and Zoe Goings, were lovable from their first scene, all the way until the end of the musical.
Costumes, set design and lighting was engaging, making me feel as if I were a fly on the wall of the von Trapp home or the Abbey in pre-wartime Austria.
Act II, when the musical involves its audience members, is an example of why live performances of The Sound of Music are superior to its film adaptations. Being surrounded by Nazi soldiers and playing a role in the characters’ turmoil was both exhilarating and horrific.
No matter whom I focused on while enjoying the musical, each and every person acted, sung, and performed beautifully and without misstep or mistake. The sheer vocal and acting talent Cottage Theatre has attracted over the years is extraordinary.
The emotions The Sound of Music can illicit are astonishing. Whether it’s the happy memories of ”My Favorite Things,” or the haunting and powerful performance of ”Edelweiss,” this musical will surely have its audience mesmerized until the end.
After the ”Finale Ultimo,” the cast and crew of The Sound of Music received a standing ovation from the audience.
Don’t miss this magical experience before it says ”so long, farewell” at The Sound of Music’s final performance April 28, 2019. Visit www.cottagetheatre.org or call 541-942-8001 for showtimes and more information.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: The Sound of Music
WHERE: The Cottage Theatre, 700 Village Drive
WHEN: Every Thursday – Sunday thru April 28.
MORE INFO: 541-942-8001 and www.cottagetheatre.org