In 1938, Nazi Germany annexes Austria, goose-stepping Europe that much closer to WWII. Austrian Alps maiden Maria Rainer – spiritual but not religious enough to join the local nunnery – hires out as a nanny to the overly regimented children of a prickly widower, Captain Georg von Trapp. She loosens them all up, teaches the family to sing, and marries the anti-Nazi kapitän. As the Wehrmacht roll into town, the family escapes over the Alps, ultimately to the America of freedom, justice and crowd-thrilling concert tours.
No spoiler alert necessary. Many of us grew up on The Sound of Music, both the 1960s stage version and the blockbuster 1965 Hollywood movie musical starring Julie Andrews as Maria and Christopher Plummer as Cap’n Trapp.
And at the Dr. Phillips Center (Jan. 5 through Jan. 9), The Sound of Music continues to delight, especially with fresh direction by Tony winner Jack O’Brien (Hairspray, The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Coast of Utopia).
Direction: O’Brien and his crew made some updates for the better. Scenery is minimalist yet grand; song choice moves the story along; cast makes all the right moves.
Cast: Kerstin Anderson (Maria) is perfect. Awkward, a little spazzy, unsure of everything but her music & love for The Kids. Voice is terrific but not overmuch. Much better than Julie Andrews in the movie, who is a little too poised & perfect to have been drummed out of the convent. Ashley Brown as the Mother Superior has an outstanding voice, and is refreshingly non-ironic as a stolid religious figure. The children are well cast.
Lobby Buzz: “I grew up learning the scale through Do-Re-Mi, but never knew where that came from.” – Old Guy. “I Know those songs!” – 20-Something Hipster. “I didn’t know it would end on such a dark note” – Hipster No. 2.
Air Conditioning — Have mercy on us old, fat & sweaty patrons and crank the temp down to sub-zero.