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The Sound of Music

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bwayphreak234
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The Sound of Music#1
Posted: 9/13/20 at 8:32am

I find it interesting that The Sound of Music has only had one Broadway revival which was in 1998 with Rebecca Luker. Why is it that such a beloved and well known title hasn't been done more on Broadway? There was the Jack O'Brien directed tour a few years ago that did quite well on the road (granted it played to subscription based houses). If this were to come back, who would you like to see direct and/or star? I personally think Bartlett Sher could create a beautiful production at the Beaumont. Also, for those who saw the 1998 revival, how was it?

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BrodyFosse123
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The Sound of Music#2
Posted: 9/13/20 at 9:53am

I fully agree, Bartlett Sher is the only person who can fuel new magic into R&H’s THE SOUND OF MUSIC. The musical needs a retooling instead of mounting the original work almost intact as all other productions have done.

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The Sound of Music#3
Posted: 9/13/20 at 2:04pm

I do know that a lot of revivals borrow from the film version quite a bit. 

Dollypop
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The Sound of Music#4
Posted: 9/13/20 at 2:13pm
There was a revival of THE SOUND OF MUSIC , starring Debby Boone, at Lincoln Center several years prior to the Rebecca Luker version. The show and Debby got remarkably good reviews.
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The Sound of Music#5
Posted: 9/13/20 at 2:24pm
Almost forgot: There was the stunning concert performance with the NY PHILHARMONIC, too!
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Jarethan
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The Sound of Music#6
Posted: 9/13/20 at 3:57pm

I have always assumed it was because the movie is so loved, and there is no capturing the Alps or Julie Andrews on stage. Also, the one revival was not much of a hit.

Interestingly, I saw the a revival in December 2019 at the Asolo Theatre is Sarasota, that really got it right overall.  At the time, I concluded that it would be possible for it to be a hit on Broadway.  The biggest issue with the show IMO was that there were a couple of things that were done so much better in the movie.  As an example, the song 'My Favorite Things' conjures up the scene in the bedroom where Maria and the von Trapp children sing the song.  In the show, that song it sung by Maria and...Mother Superior???  It was nothing short of stupid, but easy to fix.  

The scene at the festival was exceptionally well-staged and really was chilling; the two songs cut from the movie worked well, etc.  The very last scene was staged so effectively (and simply) that you almost believed they were climbing the Alps.

Lincoln Center and Bartlett Sher sounds good to me.

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The Sound of Music#7
Posted: 9/13/20 at 4:16pm
I’d love to see What David Cromer could do with SoM and also Carousel. No gimmicks, no spectacle; and his attention to detail on the small, subtle moments could create something beautiful.
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joevitus
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The Sound of Music#8
Posted: 9/14/20 at 10:22am

I honestly think a big problem with reviving the show is that the second scene takes place in the hills. In the old days of painted backdrops and fake trees and foliage--in all sorts of shows--this wasn't a problem. But nowadays, it would look so phony and artificial as to look either second rate or camp. 

But there's also the fact that most people don't actually like the stage show much. The movie improved on it in almost every way (though stage orchestrator Robert Russell Bennet--who considered it the best of the R&H shows--thought the movie totally ruined everything that was great about the work to begin with). And Broadway is so far away from the sentiments of a show like this that a revival is near impossible for anyone in the creative community to really believe in or commit to a production for any reason other than money. 

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The Sound of Music#9
Posted: 9/14/20 at 11:31am
Given all the white supremicists who are not only receiving a terrifying amount of media attention and access to the global political landscape but are also posting on this board, I'd say a sharp, introspective remount of this show would be very interesting.
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The Sound of Music#10
Posted: 9/14/20 at 11:41am

I also feel it's one of those shows that's done so much regionally and in so many community theatres and high schools, that there's a huge question of whether people would really travel to New York to see it for Broadway prices when they can see it for $15 down the street.  And yes, you can make that same argument for a lot of shows that have been revived (South Pacific, Carousel, Gypsy, etc.), but combined with as others have said the movie is often regarded as superior to the stage version, there just doesn't seem like there would be a ton of demand for a Broadway revival.

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The Sound of Music#11
Posted: 9/14/20 at 1:02pm

joevitus said: "I honestly think a big problem with reviving the show is that the second scene takes place in the hills. In the old days of painted backdrops and fake trees and foliage--in all sorts of shows--this wasn't a problem. But nowadays, it would look so phony and artificial as to look eithersecond rate or camp.

But there's also the fact that most people don't actually like the stage show much. The movie improved on it in almost every way (though stage orchestrator Robert Russell Bennet--who considered it the best of the R&H shows--thought the movie totally ruined everything that was great about the work to begin with). And Broadway is so far away from the sentiments of a show like this that a revival is near impossible for anyone in the creative communityto really believe in or commit to a production for any reason other than money.
"

I don't know how you reached your conclusion in Paragraph 2, sentence 1.  I agree that the show is at a disadvantage because the movie is so well loved and took great advantage of the outdoors, which you can't achieve on stage.  However, an imaginative director can make it work.  I went to the production Sarasota because it was part of a subscription, which was pretty much the case with the other 5 people I was with.  All were generally surprised at how much we loved the performance, how imaginative the direction was, particularly of the festival and the last scene.  I have seen other productions of SOM (twice in London, surprising) that were not imaginative, and I did not have the same reaction.  If the direction is stodgy, the show is going to be stodgy and everyone is going to leave the theatre thinking about the movie; if the direction is imaginative, they will leave the theatre thinking about what they have just seen.

ScottyDoesn'tKnow2
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The Sound of Music#12
Posted: 9/14/20 at 1:11pm

I love Bartlett Sher's directing usually, and I usually roll my eyes at the new productions that take classic works and make them darker and oh-so-serious, but I think this is one show where I would prefer the latter take. I don't want the whole thing to be dark or anything, but I want a director to really delve deeper into the white supremacist/Nazi-themes while ensuring there's a real sweet chemistry between Maria and the children and then Maria and Captain Von Trapp. The real Maria was pregnant when she wedded Von Trapp, so maybe they could increase the lust factor. The real Maria was also not the warm, sweet parent and was haunted by her past whereas it was Captain Von Trapp who was the nice parent, but I'm not sure if I want that explored.

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The Sound of Music#13
Posted: 9/14/20 at 3:54pm

Jarethan said: "joevitus said: "I honestly think a big problem with reviving the show is that the second scene takes place in the hills. In the old days of painted backdrops and fake trees and foliage--in all sorts of shows--this wasn't a problem. But nowadays, it would look so phony and artificial as to look eithersecond rate or camp.

But there's also the fact that most people don't actually like the stage show much. The movie improved on it in almost every way (though stage orchestrator Robert Russell Bennet--who considered it the best of the R&H shows--thought the movie totally ruined everything that was great about the work to begin with). And Broadway is so far away from the sentiments of a show like this that a revival is near impossible for anyone in the creative communityto really believe in or commit to a production for any reason other than money.
"

I don't know how you reached your conclusion in Paragraph 2, sentence 1. I agree that the show is at a disadvantage because the movie is so well loved and took great advantage of the outdoors, which you can't achieve on stage. However, an imaginative director can make it work. I went to the production Sarasota because it was part of a subscription, which was pretty much the case with the other 5 people I was with. All were generally surprised at how much we loved the performance, how imaginative the direction was, particularly of the festival and the last scene. I have seen other productions of SOM (twice in London, surprising) that were not imaginative, and I did not have the same reaction. If the direction is stodgy, the show is going to be stodgy and everyone is going to leave the theatre thinking about the movie; if the direction is imaginative, they will leave the theatre thinking about what they have just seen.
"

Great. I have not seen a production that managed the feat you described. Glad that was not your experience. Still doubt many in the Broadway community have an affinity for or belief in the show and want to commit to a production, let alone one that doesn't just phone it in. But if I am proved wrong, again great. I have no grudge against the show no antagonism towards a revival. That you and five other people you known only went because you more or less had to and without any strong sense that you'd have a good time also speaks to why a revival is probably a gamble. 

Jarethan
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The Sound of Music#14
Posted: 9/14/20 at 7:36pm

joevitus said: "Jarethan said: "joevitus said: "I honestly think a big problem with reviving the show is that the second scene takes place in the hills. In the old days of painted backdrops and fake trees and foliage--in all sorts of shows--this wasn't a problem. But nowadays, it would look so phony and artificial as to look eithersecond rate or camp.

...

Great. I have not seen a productionthat managed thefeat you described.Glad that was not your experience. Still doubt many in the Broadway community have an affinity for or belief in the show and want to commit to a production, let alone one that doesn't just phone it in. But if I am proved wrong, again great. I have no grudge against the show no antagonism towards a revival. That you and five other people you known only went because you more or less had to and without any strong sense that you'd have a good time also speaks to why a revival is probably a gamble.
"

Your last point is valid.  I think that selection of a director, and his sharing his vision, will be a starting point.  It may be helped initially by the person chosen to play Maria.  But, it may turn out that reviews are going to be the most important thing here.  No one expected the Cabaret or Chicago revivals to become the monumental hits they became.  I think it came down to the rapturous reviews they received.  No, both are darker pieces that SOM, but it can be darkened a little bit in a good way, so that it it not all peaches and cream.  

That said, lightening does not strike that often.  There are... Cabaret and Chicago, both dark, both sophisticated, both containing lots of dancing and (in a good way) gaudy production numbers with flashy star turns.  SOM is never going to have 'gaudy' production numbers with lots of dancing, is never going to be sophisticated, and the darkness is going to be limited (I think).

I do believe that a very good production of SOM can be a big hit, however.  

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The Sound of Music#15
Posted: 9/14/20 at 7:51pm

This would be a great show to revive post-Covid (whenever that may be). Big show, familiar name, throw some names into the mix (maybe Hugh can do this one instead) and you could have a hit. Bartlett Sher is essential. 

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The Sound of Music#16
Posted: 9/15/20 at 1:08am

Good points, Jarethan. 

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The Sound of Music#17
Posted: 9/15/20 at 3:05am

BrodyFosse123 said: "I fully agree, Bartlett Sher is the only person who can fuel new magic into R&H’s THE SOUND OF MUSIC. The musical needs a retooling instead of mounting the original work almost intact as all other productions have done."

Out of curiosity, what do you think needs retooling and/or how would you suggest the show and story be retooled? Do you mean a revised book or just new vision? 

 

 

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The Sound of Music#18
Posted: 9/15/20 at 3:55am

joevitus said: "I honestly think a big problem with reviving the show is that the second scene takes place in the hills. In the old days of painted backdrops and fake trees and foliage--in all sorts of shows--this wasn't a problem. But nowadays, it would look so phony and artificial as to look eithersecond rate or camp.

But there's also the fact that most people don't actually like the stage show much. The movie improved on it in almost every way (though stage orchestrator Robert Russell Bennet--who considered it the best of the R&H shows--thought the movie totally ruined everything that was great about the work to begin with). And Broadway is so far away from the sentiments of a show like this that a revival is near impossible for anyone in the creative communityto really believe in or commit to a production for any reason other than money.
"

Regarding your first paragraph, about the outdoor scenes looking phony or camp, I think we can look to the revivals of Oklahoma from twenty years ago or the Sher South Pacific to see that these can be done without trying to do a pictorial realism that would indeed look silly today. Both of the films took great advantage of their locations but the revivals still looked great without even trying to look realistic in any way. 

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The Sound of Music#19
Posted: 9/15/20 at 8:22am

Well...we actually have had two big television revivals...well, the Brit one wasn't broadcast here originally but it is now a PBS staple...

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The Sound of Music#19
Posted: 9/15/20 at 8:22am

Well...we actually have had two big television revivals...well, the Brit one wasn't broadcast here originally but it is now a PBS staple...

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The Sound of Music#20
Posted: 9/15/20 at 8:26am

I'd love to see a production that went with a "puppet show" aesthetic, kind of mirroring the puppet show version of Lonely Goatherd from the movie.  To be entirely honest, I wouldn't mind if they had some of the people from the 2012 NBC production do a revival - I don't think Carrie would want to do it again (although I didn't think she was nearly as bad as many others did), but Christian Borle and Laura Benanti as Max and Elsa was pretty perfect casting, and they NAILED "How Can Love Survive" and "No Way to Stop It."

"It's you." "It's me. Orpheus." "Eurydice..." *crying*
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The Sound of Music#21
Posted: 9/15/20 at 8:46am

One thing that I've always felt the stage production did better than the film was the inclusion of the two songs for Elsa and Max, especially "No Way to Stop It". Both songs seems out of place, and like there is this "impending doom" with the rise of the Nazi's  that makes me uncomfortable. Therefore, the stakes are higher in the latter section of the show. The Von Trapps aren't just running away because Captain Von Trapp doesn't want to fight, it's also because you can trust no one. Even those you thought you were friends with might end up on the "wrong side" of history. 

I also think about that while "My Favourite Things" does make the bedroom scene stronger, to me, it almost makes it a copy of "I Whistle a Happy Tune" from The King and I, which does the bravery theme better imo. Telling a fluffy story about goats is so wacky, but it is suppose to soothe the children and take their minds off of it.

I did see the recent tour, although after it went non-Equity, and still did enjoy it. I think it was better than the Andrew Lloyd Webber produced revival that we got in Toronto in 2008 with a fantastic Captain Von Trapp in Burke Moses.

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Updated On: 9/15/20 at 08:46 AM
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The Sound of Music#22
Posted: 9/15/20 at 12:09pm

fashionguru_23 said: "I did see the recent tour, although after it went non-Equity, and still did enjoy it. I think it was better than the Andrew Lloyd Webber produced revival that we got in Toronto in 2008 with a fantastic Captain Von Trapp inBurke Moses."

Jack O'Brien mentioned his production of The Sound of Music in his Playbill Live interview and hinted that there may be some plans for it once we can all return to the theatre.

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The Sound of Music#23
Posted: 9/15/20 at 3:56pm

Why doesn't Stephen Sondheim like this musical?

He says Richard Rodgers didn't write anything good after The King and I.

Do other people feel this way?

Sick, pathetic POS
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The Sound of Music#24
Posted: 9/15/20 at 4:14pm

Jay Lerner-Z said: "Why doesn't Stephen Sondheim like this musical?

He says Richard Rodgers didn't write anything good after The King and I.

Do other people feel this way?
"

I don't about Steve but I have heard some say that Sound of Music wasn't really a fitting end for R&H's collaboration because, unlike their previous works, it didn't break new ground in any way, but was rather just a well crafted 50s musical.