BWW Review: THE SOUND OF MUSIC Delights Audience Members at Thalia Mara Hall
"Doe - A deer, a female deer." Well, we're definitely not lacking in deer here in Mississippi, but on Saturday, March 23rd, the term was put into a new context - a lesson on the major musical scale - courtesy of the cast of Rodgers & Hammerstein's The Sound of Music. The national tour of this classic musical stopped in Jackson, Mississippi at Thalia Mara Hall as a part of the Broadway in Jackson series presented by Trustmark. The tour itself is presented by NETworks Presentations.
With a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, music by Richard Rodgers, and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, The Sound of Music closely follows the beloved film of the same name, but also gives a glimpse into the life of a real family in Austria at a time when the German Nazi forces were building and beginning to cause trouble for surrounding countries.
Taking on the role of Maria Rainer, a postulate whose life plan is turned upside down when she's sent to be the governess for a family with 7 children, Jill-Christine Wiley gives herself to the role completely, beginning as a young woman sent away from the life she truly believed she wanted, not sitting idly by when she saw a wrong that could be righted, and finding her true passion quite unexpectedly, all the while singing iconic songs such as "The Sound of Music" and "My Favorite Things" exquisitely. Maria's journey to the von Trapp household begins when Mother Abbess, at this performance played stunningly by Kelly Glyptis, sees something in Maria that even Maria doesn't see. Mike McLean, in the role of widower Captain Georg von Trapp, is a man hardened by grief who thaws as the story progresses, with more than a little help from Maria. Once music is brought back into the household, the Captain's children, Liesl (Lauren O'Brien), Friedrich (Edward Turner), Louisa (Jenna Seasholtz), Kurt (Ethan Douglas Cutillo), Brigitta (Emily Strugatsky), Marta (Riley O'Kane), and Gretl (Quinn Eden Titcomb) go from solemn little things stuck in a military lifestyle to much more laid-back and happy kids in the time it takes them to learn to sing "Do-Re-Mi". Lauren O'Brien, the young lady playing Liesl, has an absolutely gorgeous voice and charm to match, delightfully showcased in songs like "Sixteen Going On Seventeen" as well as it's reprise. In an effort to give his children a mother, Georg tries to take his relationship with good friend Elsa Schraeder, depicted by Kate Turner, to the next level, but things don't always go to plan, and his heart is not part of that pairing. Georg comes to realize that along with having drastically different ideas than Elsa and his best friend, Max Detweiler, played by Jake Mills, though they provide brilliant comic relief, often with the help of the children, who ooze charm, sass, and wit. Pursued by Herr Zeller, the cauleiter, the family's life takes a different path than that they planned, but they do so as a unit and highlight the actors' commitment to each other's acting choices.
This beloved show is just as wonderful as you could possibly imagine, and the cast assembled is first rate. The tour's itinerary can be found at the link below, along with links straight to ticket purchase sites. This show is timeless and is not to be missed!