BWW Reviews: VON TRAPPED Climbs a Mountain of Parody at the Lisner Auditorium
Who knew that a romp through the Austrian countryside could leave one so bedazzled?
From Friday, March 14, to Sunday, March 16, the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington D.C. are hosting "Von Trapped" at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium. It is every bit as silly as the name makes it sound, as the 50+ men who make up the GMCW sing, dance and poke saucy fun at the Rodger and Hammerstein classic, "The Sound of Music."
It is a story very similar to the one Julie Andrews crooned into every musical theater lover's heart. Maria, played by Cooper Westbrook, feels compelled away from the abbey. His fellow sisters (Ray Jay Garcia, Justin Bank, Bill Cutter, Michelangelo Longaro, L. Owen Taggart, Greg Plavcan, Rick Yarborough) and the Mother Abbess (Montario Hill)-bedecked in glittering habits-cannot help but agree and send Maria out to become a governess for Captain Von Trapp's seven rowdy children.
The players in this show were the actors, the dancers and the chorus, who each whirled the audience into giggles, fits of applause and sequins.
However the primary joy from this show was not in the acting or the plot. The story may have transported the audience to Austria, but what kept them there was the music.
The chorus created a beautiful, melodic sound that both blended smoothly and excited the audience in turn. A special note goes to Cooper Westbrook and Christopher Harris, who played the Baroness, as their voices served as the whipped cream to this fluffy bit of fun.
The only hazard to this experience was the sound system itself, which sometimes crackled and fizzed. It also tended to make the general chorus hard to hear at times, even though their numbers were so many.
But the dancing was the most surprising piece to this show. "I Have Confidence" was performed as a dance, that occasionally carried Maria away with it. The dancers ranged in athleticism, but their grace was easy as they glided through each step.
Finally, the biggest kudos goes to Marcus Brown who played Gretl. While he may have never dreamed to play the well-known and beloved Austrian five year old, he certainly stole the show. Whether he was dancing with a fully bedecked curtain-complete with curtain rod-or singing a Jackson 5 tribute to "Do Re Mi," the audience could not help but burst out in laughter or break out in uproarious applause due to his performance.
With one more show available at 3 p.m. March 16, Washington D.C. audiences will hopefully get the chance to climb this very funny and charming mountain, "Von Trapped."
Photo: Cooper Westbrook as Maria and Montario Hill as Mother Abbess
Photo Credit to Emily Pinna