Credit the savvy of director and music director Susan Weingarten and Doug Lewis.
The duo is the combined mastermind which steers this “Sound of Music,” by the only star that makes sense; which is to say the music and lyrics by Rodgers and Hammerstein.
The story is there.
Set designs and costumes by Susan Weingarten and Barbara Anderson establish the place as Austria, 1938, when Hitler’s Nazis were threatening invasion. The mood is fearful, tentative, uncertain.
Action generates when a Mother Abbess (Laurie Miller) sends away on temporary assignment a likable but intractable, free-spirited Postulant, Maria Rainier (Lindsay Powers). Maria’s assignment is to fill in until replaced as a children’s governess for the von Trapp family.
Maria’s childlike innocence wins over the emotionally starved von Trapp children and soon thereafter, their widowed father. Mom-to-be and pop’s love affair flourishes. The broken von Trapp family reconstructs. The Nazi menace spreads. Collaborators spawn. A Hollywood ending ensues.
All of which germinates out of author Maria Augusta Trapp’s “The Trapp Family Singers” but hardly warrants the attention that it gets and wouldn’t get if it weren’t for Rodgers and Hammerstein. It is their music and their lyrics that make the story go.
You can’t help but strive for the best in yourself after hearing Laurie Miller hit that final, high note of “Climb Ev’ry Mountain.”
Lindsay Powers’ soprano isn’t Miller’s equal. But her “Sound of Music,”“Do-Ri-Mi” and “My Favorite Things” stirs the childlike simplicity of outlook that no one ever really wants to let go of.
“Sixteen Going On Seventeen” still evokes those tender, transparent, bewildering moments of embarrassment that go on between a teenaged boy and a teenaged girl.
“How Can Love Survive” will always make people laugh; the rich, because they know love thrives with wealth and everyone else, because they are sure of it.
“No Way to Stop it” will never be sung by boat-rockers and social reformers.
“So Long, Farewell” is so catchy TV commercials have picked it up, now that the copyright has expired.
Acting is a little uneven. Set changes sometimes make for delays. But the kids in the cast are terrific. Sincerity comes through. Family values are celebrated.
You won’t leave without a little more spring in your step and people and things around you looking a little brighter, a little more hopeful.
Also, you won’t see them. But credit those savvy Savoyards, Weingarten and Lewis. They tuned in this “Sound of Music.”
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