BWW Review: THE SOUND OF MUSIC Opens at the Kauffman Center For Performing Arts in Kansas City
With the onset of winter, snow-covered streets, no sunshine, and freezing temperatures, Kansas City can become depressing. Fortunately for Kansas City audiences, the snow-covered hills are filled with THE SOUND OF MUSIC. The hit Rogers and Hammerstein's musical opened Tuesday, January 15th at Kauffman Center for Performing Arts and runs through January 20th.
THE SOUND OF MUSIC, based on the memoir The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria von Trapp, opened on Broadway in 1959, winning five Tony Awards out of nine nominations. Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer starred in the 1965 film adaptation of Maria and the Trapp Family Singers. The movie won Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Music. THE SOUND OF MUSIC was the last musical written by Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Hammerstein succumbed to stomach cancer nine months after the Broadway premiere.
The story is set in 1938, on the eve of Austria being taken over by Nazi Germany. Maria Rainer, a Postulant at Nonnberg Abbey is sent to the home of Captain Georg von Trapp as a governess, to help her decide if becoming a nun is her true calling. Through music, she makes a dramatic impact not only on the children but also the captain who had been hardened by the death of his wife. The Captain, marvelously played by Mike McLean, is staunchly against the German annexation but is ordered to report for duty in the German Navy. The Trapp family must flee their beloved country or face the tyranny of the Nazi regime.
From the moment she sings the title song it is easy to understand why Jill-Christine Wiley returned for a second year in the role of Maria Rainer. Her stunning voice and superb stage presence are captivating. As she sings "My Favorite Things" with Mother Abbess this musical production truly becomes one of my favorite things.
The chemistry between Maria and the Trapp children is magical as they sing "Do-Re- Mi". The children, played by Lauren O'Brien, Edward Turner, Jenna Seasholtz, Ethan Douglas Cutillo, Emily Strugatsky, Riley O'Kane, and Quinn Eden Titcomb, combine into a glorious chorus while adding moments of comedy relief throughout the production. The first act concludes with the heavenly voice of Lauren Kidwell as The Mother Abbess sings "Climb Ev'er Mountain".
Everything about this production of the classic, from the scene changes to the magnificent vocals and the beautiful music of the orchestra, is enchanting. It is worth braving the cold winter nights to see a performance of THE SOUND OF MUSIC.
THE SOUND OF MUSIC runs through January 20 at the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts. Tickets may be purchased at www. americantheatreguild.com/kansascity/soundofmusic/.
Photo credit: Matthew Murphy