Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Review: The stage is alive with THE SOUND OF MUSIC at ZACH Theatre

Review: The stage is alive with THE SOUND OF MUSIC at ZACH Theatre

The production runs through July 24, 2022

In a final collaboration between Rodgers & Hammerstein, one of the most beloved musicals of all time was born. With a score that includes "Climb Ev'ry Mountain," "My Favorite Things," "Do Re Mi," and the title number, The Sound of Music won the hearts of audiences worldwide, earning five Tony Awards and five Oscars.

Review: The stage is alive with THE SOUND OF MUSIC at ZACH Theatre
PC: Suzzane Cordeiro / Zach Theatre

The Sound of Music is set in Austria on the eve of the 1938 Anschluss, the annexation of the Federal State of Austria to the German Reich. Based on the memoir of Maria Augusta Trapp, the story follows a rebellious nun-to-be who serves as governess to the seven children of Captain von Trapp, a widower who hides his broken heart behind the sound of a whistle. Maria brings joy and fun to the household through music but as the forces of Nazism take hold of Austria, Maria and the entire von Trapp family must make a decision that will change their lives forever.

The Sound of Music is a classic that needs little introduction. Most people have either seen the 1965 film, starring Julie Andrews (Maria) and Christopher Plummer (Captain von Trapp), or the many productions of the musical that have been performed around the world since its original Broadway staging in 1959.

Zach Theatre's production of The Sound of Music gives this classic a fresh new look with small modern touches (costumes, neon signs, and some updated language) and a different type of staging. While I was not initially excited about the modernization of this classic, I very much enjoyed David Steakley's choice of a diverse cast. It was refreshing to see a show cast on talent rather than race or ethnicity, even if it made more historical sense otherwise. Furthermore, the collective talent on stage was impressive, with most adult actors dubbing as members of the live orchestra.

Stephanie Busing's simple but clever set is designed around a gorgeous tree that acts as the Austrian Alps, the center staircase of the von Trapp household, and the abbey's wall. The open stage concept transports audiences to an outdoors Biergarten and invites them to be participants in the plot. That is, for the lucky ones that purchased table seating. The rest of the audience will have to peak in from the window.... or the regular theatre seats.

Amanda Rivera is a wonderful Maria. The stage comes alive when she sings her opening song The Sound of Music. As she seats on that tree, playing the guitar and transporting us to the Austrian Alps, she has us all in the palm of her hand. Rivera commands the stage and the entire theatre, the attention is all on her as we follow along Maria's journey to find her true purpose in life. A multi-talented artist (plays guitar and violin), Rivera brings a sort of youthful sassiness and charm to her character helping bring her closer to the 21st century.

Review: The stage is alive with THE SOUND OF MUSIC at ZACH Theatre
Amanda Rivera as Maria (center) with the von Trapp children
PC: Suzzane Cordeiro / Zach Theatre

Trevor Martin, like his character Captain von Trapp, is a little harder to embrace. Martin remains detached from the audience until he opens up to Maria halfway through Act 1. Although there is a lack of intimacy in an open stage concept that brings the audience onto the stage, Martin and Rivera manage to make their falling in love moment believable. As the Captain's outer shell starts to crack, we get to enjoy the depth that Martin brings to the character. In his expressive and gentle eyes, we see the struggles of a single parent to fall in love, protect his family, and stay true to his convictions in the wake of one of the darkest times in human history.

Review: The stage is alive with THE SOUND OF MUSIC at ZACH Theatre
Trevor Martin as Captain von Trapp (center) with the von Trapp children
PC: Suzzane Cordeiro / Zach Theatre

Kenny Williams as Captain von Trapp's friend Max Detweiler is engaging and entertaining. Jill Blackwood (Baroness Schraeder/Sister Sophia) brings golden-era style and class to the role of the Baroness, lighting up the stage with her beautiful voice and acting talent. She is equally exquisite on the Clarinet and Sax.

Tyler Hecht (Rolf Gruber) and Francene Bayola (Liesl) delight us in the musical number "Sixteen Going on Seventeen", a number that provides a moment of lightness for these two teenagers that will soon be forced to grow up. Bayola, a Zach Pre-Professional Company alumni, adds a subtle modern spark to her interpretation of the song, making the lyrics feel less dated but still conveying the sweet innocence of first love. Rounding up the von Trapp adorable bunch (the night I watch the show) are Gabriel Beach (Freidrich), Victoria Hernandez (Louisa), Benjamin Walk (Kurt), Claire Buttler (Brigitta), Emily Wolfman (Marta), and Camille Bergman (Gretl). With fresh and fun choreography by Anna McGuire, the von Trapp children have a few shining moments with "Do-Re-Mi" and "So Long, Farewell", two of the most endearing numbers in musical theatre history.

Under the musical direction of Allen Robertson and with a cast of multi-talented artists that dub as members of the orchestra, Zach Theatre's The Sound of Music showcases the versatility and creativity of our regional theater and performers. The dual orchestra-cast includes Alexa Holland (Mother Abbess/Baroness Elberfeld/Guitar), Katie Horner (Sister Berthe/Trumpet/Flugelhorn), Selene Klasner (Sister Margaretta/Frau Schmidt/Violin), Kent Lewis (Admiral von Schreiber/Franz/Bass/Accordion/Cornet), Beau Moore (Herr Zeller/Ensemble/Tuba/Guitar/Madolin/Drums), Hector Moreno (Baron Elberfeld/Ensemble/Cello). To complete the orchestra are Ken Mills (Trombone) and Andrew Malay (Flute/Clarinet/Oboe).

Despite the minor tweaks and modern aspects of the production, this is still the same classic musical that is suitable and enjoyable for the entire family. If you want to make the experience more unique and try that old acting bug, you can purchase table seats and learn how to Waltz with Max, Liesl, and the rest of the von Trapp children.

The Sound of Music

Music by Richard Rodgers and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein

Book by Howard Lindsey and Russel Crouse

Directed for Zach Theatre by David Steakley

Music Direction by Allen Robertson

Choreography by Anna McGuire (in collaboration with Jennifer Young Mahlstead)

June 15, 2022-July 24, 2022
ZACH 360 on The Topfer at ZACH




From This Author - Sabrina Wallace

Sabrina Wallace is a Tony Award Nominated Producer, Blogger, World Traveler, and Leader at a Online Retail Giant. She is a strong supporter of Theatre and the Arts, focusing on original ideas and powerful... (read more about this author)


Review: The stage is alive with THE SOUND OF MUSIC at ZACH TheatreReview: The stage is alive with THE SOUND OF MUSIC at ZACH Theatre
July 9, 2022

Despite the minor tweaks and modern aspects of the production, this is still the same classic musical that is suitable and enjoyable for the entire family. If you want to make the experience more unique and try that old acting bug, you can purchase table seats and learn how to Waltz with Max, Liesl, and the rest of the von Trapp children.

Review: WHEN SHE HAD WINGS lifts the spirit at The Violet Crown City ChurchReview: WHEN SHE HAD WINGS lifts the spirit at The Violet Crown City Church
June 16, 2022

If you are looking for a tender story that has real intellectual depth and a piece of theatre that will encourage great family discussions about the meaning of life, this is the play for you. Take your youngsters, take your elders, enjoy wholesome family theatre and learn a little bit about a female pioneer of aviation in the process.

BWW Review: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM at Zilker's Hillside TheatreBWW Review: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM at Zilker's Hillside Theatre
June 5, 2022

BWW Review: The company of Austin Shakespeare brought 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream' to the stage with such impeccable acting that it easily transported audiences back to the days when the Bard himself would see his words come alive at the London Globe Theatre. The show is now closed.

BWW Review: A LEAGUE OF HER OWN by the Bottle Alley Theatre Company And Just FriendsBWW Review: A LEAGUE OF HER OWN by the Bottle Alley Theatre Company And Just Friends
June 5, 2022

'A League of Her Own' invites audiences into Sam's hiding place where they spend an hour living in the nightmare that has become her life. This is an original play that explores the effects of mental abuse and harassment. The show is no longer running, but I recommend following Bottle Alley Theatre Company and Just Friends for more unique original plays.

BWW Review: SEUSSICAL at Patti Strickel Harrison TheatreBWW Review: SEUSSICAL at Patti Strickel Harrison Theatre
April 24, 2022

A rendition of a classic that finally makes sense of Dr. Seuss' unique characters. Scarlata gives us a compelling story about real people with beautiful imperfections that make them so perfectly human. With a talented cast, outstanding choreography, and a lot of imagination, this is a SEUSSICAL you don't want to miss.