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BWW Review: THE SOUND OF MUSIC at The Muny

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Now playing at The Muny through August 9th

BWW Review: THE SOUND OF MUSIC at The Muny

Tonight, the classic musical, The Sound of Music, opened as the second offering of The Muny's 103rd season. According to the show's director, Matt Kunkel, The Sound of Music, is a show about love of God, family, and country. Kunkel is helming his first full scale production after serving as a Muny directing intern during college. In a previous interview, he told BroadwayWorld that this production would strive to give people what they remember from the movie while staying true to the original theatrical source material. To connect to the movie, this production included the songs 'Something Good' and 'I Have Confidence' that were written for the film.

Often productions of The Sound of Music rely on the audience's fondness for the movie or the familiar score and settle for a flat production without an emotional connection to the material. Kunkel's The Sound of Music gives more than just a nostalgic look at a beloved classic. This production is rich with emotion and tension and exceeds all expectations.

Set against the backdrop of Nazi occupation, the tension builds from the beginning when the quartet of nuns sing about a problem like Maria. It is clear Sister Berthe (Andrea Jones-Sojola) and Sister Margaretta (Leah Berry) have a divided opinion about Maria's postulancy. This scene hits differently than usually played. It sets the tone for building tension that continues to mount throughout the show, concluding with the decision Captain von Trapp must ultimately make to serve in the Third Reich or flee his beloved homeland.

The emotional theme of love of God, Family and Country is present in every scene, flooding from the stage and enveloping the audience. The pure emotion of Liesl stealing a kiss from her first boyfriend, the caring guidance from The Mother Abbess, the children longing for love from their distant father, the chemistry between Captain von Trapp and Maria all pack a powerful emotional punch. The acting performances and directorial choices take this classic musical and turn it into a sentimental night at the theater.

The seven young actors portraying the von Trapp children illustrate immense talent that is beyond their years. The actors delivered rich, nuanced, and believable performances. Bryonha Marie Parham's "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" is a soaring master class in delivering a goosebump inducing vocal to close the first act. The chorus of nuns deliver a magnificent rendition of "The Wedding" that brought tears to the eyes of the Muny patrons.

An elegantly painted Periaktos, a three-sided set-piece, revolves to reveal the interior of the von Trapp home, Maria's bedroom, and the exterior terrace, allowing for seamless scene changes. Paige Hathaway's set design shrunk the vast Muny stage into an intimate setting that enhanced the emotional impact of the show. The projection effects complimented the revolving set piece and turned the stage into a colorful stained-glass cathedral that was among the most beautiful wedding scenes ever staged. Shelby Loera's lighting design was a lovely compliment to Hathaway's beautiful set. She, John Shivers and David Patridge (sound designers) create a realistic thunderstorm effect for the scene when the children are frightened into Maria's bedroom to take shelter.

This is a production that gets absolutely everything right. Like brown paper packages tied up with string this Muny production of The Sound of Music is one of my favorite things.

The Sound of Music, sponsored by Edward Jones, will be performed nightly at 8:15pm through August 9. Tickets can be purchased by visiting metrotix.com or The Muny Box Office in Forest Park. For more information visit muny.org.

The Muny's next offering, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, sponsored by US Bank, opens on August 12, 2021 and runs through August 18th.


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