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BWW Review: THE SOUND OF MUSIC National Tour Filled with Favorite Things

BWW Review: THE SOUND OF MUSIC National Tour Filled with Favorite Things

My favorite song from THE SOUND OF MUSIC is undeniably "My Favorite Things." It's one of those songs that fills you with joy no matter what kind of mood you're in. There is something about the image Maria creates for audiences as she reveals her favorite things to be "Raindrops on roses, and whiskers on kittens, Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, Brown paper packages tied up in string," that makes you feel warm and cozy all over.

THE SOUND OF MUSIC National Tour kicked off a three night run in Sioux Falls, SD on Friday night at the Washington Pavilion, with plenty of memorable moments to add to anyone's list of favorite things about this timeless production.

Most people in the audience, myself included, are probably most familiar with this story thanks to the 1965 Academy Award winning film adaptation starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. This is how I came to love the story of Maria, a young woman on her way to becoming a nun, until she is sent to serve as governess to the seven von Trapp children. Through the love of song, joy, and playfulness; wonderfully brought to life in this production by Jill-Christine Wiley, Maria brings life back into the von Trapp home and eventually marries the widowed Captain von Trapp. This classic tale, told against the backdrop of WWII, is ultimately about the love of family and the love of home.

With book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse (ANYTHING GOES; RED, HOT AND BLUE; CALL ME MADAM) and music and lyrics by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II (CAROUSEL; SOUTH PACIFIC; OKLAHOMA!), THE SOUND OF MUSIC made it's Broadway debut six years before the familiar film in 1959, going on to win five Tony Awards, including Best Musical. What turned out to be the last musical written by Rodgers and Hammerstein, is in good hands with this touring cast as they bring Austria to cities across the country.

Even if you are unfamiliar with the story of Maria and the von Trapp family, you have probably heard one of the show's classic songs at some point in time. The songs in this production really are unforgettable and are perhaps my favorite, favorite thing. It's easy for some of the lesser known songs to get overshadowed by the classics like "Do-Re-Mi," "Climb Ev'ry Mountain," and "Edelweiss," but it was one of these lesser known songs, "Something Good" sung by Maria and Captain von Trapp early in Act 2, that made me do a double take. In a move that deviates from the original Broadway production, this new production includes the song "Something Good" written by Rogers specifically for the film version as a replacement for "An Ordinary Couple." There was something about "Something Good" that caught my attention in a way it never did in the film, reminding me of the score from one of my other favorite shows by Rodgers and Hammerstein, CINDERELLA.

In the Act 1 closing number, "Climb Ev'ry Mountain," Lauren Kidwell's portrayal of The Mother Abbess is absolutely captivating. She owns the stage and her strong soprano voice lets everyone know it. While Kidwell brought some nice comedic moments to early scenes with Maria in the abbey, her shining moment was during this song, leaving me speechless and inspired.

One of the first things that stood out to me was the intricate details of the set design by Douglas W. Schmidt. What initially caught my attention was the simple elegance to the swirling pattern on the 'walls' of the abbey. The pattern truly reminded me of the intricate details you would find in the great churches and cathedrals of Europe. As the story moved from the abbey into the von Trapp home, I noticed this pattern returning; it wasn't until a few scenes in that I realized the mesmerizing pattern resembled that of lace. This small detail, carried through various scenes and locations, made a big difference by providing consistency to the set design while evoking a sense of both strength and delicacy that compliments the story.

I found the character of Captain von Trapp unfortunately forgettable until midway through Act 2. It is then that the audience begins to really see his strength as a leader because of his willingness to put his beliefs and love for homeland ahead of potential romantic love. This resolve is magnified in Mike McLean's performance of "Edelweiss" towards the end of the show. Standing tall in front of a Nazi propaganda backdrop, with his wife and children circled around him, a vulnerability and realness is brought to Captain von Trapp that made me pay attention to the character for the first time in the show.

While all the von Trapp children give stellar performances, I can't get over the cuteness that is Sophia Massa! She is simply adorable in her national tour debut as the youngest von Trapp child, Gretl. This pint sized performer stole every scene she was in, gaining audible awws from the audience with every single line.

As I walked to my car after the show, with snow falling onto my face, I found myself singing "My Favorite Things," my heart full of joy and nostalgia. THE SOUND OF MUSIC offers something for everyone, a classic that delivers for any fan looking for a good night of theater.

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy

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From This Author Katie Becker