The Sleepless Critic has reviewed a few beautiful productions of ‘The Sound of Music,’ a riveting true story set in Austria about the resilient Von Trapp family who not only attempt to resist the Nazi regime in 1938 Pre-war Salzburg, but also attempt to move on without their late mother. A blend of grace, faith and strength in the face of an indelible sadness, no doubt makes it a stirring classic. Yet, with the exception of Audra McDonald’s brilliant turn as Mother Abbess in NBC’s 2013’s ‘The Sound of Music Live‘ musical, her extraordinary vocals lifting Fox’s arguably mediocre production with this glorious anthem, Climb Every Mountain, the music to ‘The Sound of Music’ has generally never been my favorite.
Make no mistake, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic, Academy Award-winning musical score is nevertheless respected and appreciated for its mark in musical history. However, what makes Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston’s musical, ‘The Sound of Music’ particularly special is its resonant harmonies, a brilliant lead in Aimee Doherty as Maria, and the lively vocals and playful choreography delivered by this wonderful, lighthearted cast. It convinced me to care for ‘The Sound of Music’ score, which has never sounded lovelier.
With a mix of tradition, opulence, and a few songs not featured in the iconic 1965 film starring Julie Andrews, Reagle Music Theatre’s ‘The Sound of Music’ is the perfect lighthearted summer treat, even in its serious moments. ‘The Sound of Music’ continues at the Robinson Theatre in Waltham, Massachusetts through Sunday, July 21. Click here for more information and tickets.
The Sound of Music has many highlights, but one of its brightest is Aimee Doherty’s glowing, enchanting turn as Maria. This Maria is a tad more youthful, boasting flowing dark hair and a wide, playful smile. Doherty brings light and gravitas to the role, her infectious charm and soaring vocals especially noticeable during the playful, yet pensive number, I Have Confidence. Paired with Daniel Forrest Sullivan’s buoyant choreography, it is one of Maria’s more subtle, but powerful moments.
Each of the adorable Von Trapp children featuring Emma Heistand as sweet, but rebellious Liesl, Wade Gleeson Turner as Friedrich, Jane Jakubowski as precocious Louisa, Ryan Philpott as Kurt, Fiona Simeqi as Brigitta, Addison Toole as Marta, and Libby Sweder as Gretl have their moment to shine, and their charming number Do-Re-Mi with Doherty is a delight. The children’s colorful, identical, and traditional Austrian wardrobe enhance each scene. Liesl, portrayed by Emma Heistand and Rolf, depicted by Max Currie impressively develop swift chemistry over the playful number, Sixteen Going on Seventeen, largely thanks to Sullivan’s breezy choreography.
There is a moment during the production where Doherty states, “When God closes a window” and Mark Linehan completes her sentence with, “he opens a door.” The expression is actually the other way around, but Mark Linehan as Captain von Trapp instantly picks up on her phrase and completes her statement, indicating how in tune they both are onstage. Mark Linehan has shown a natural charisma in other productions and there is no shortage of that here, delivering a powerful performance in the dour, firm, but forthright Captain. However, his biggest strength is in the quieter moments of the show, especially in the moving reprise of the title song The Sound of Music and bittersweet Edelweiss.
From the first few notes of the Nuns’ gorgeous, a capella chant, Preludium, Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston have certainly outdone themselves. Their resonant harmonies are among the production’s most beautiful moments. Mara Bonde delivers an understated performance as patient, insightful, and ceaselessly faithful Mother Abbess, enhanced by a soaring rendition of the show’s inspiring anthem, Climb Every Mountain. Ever the standout, Yewande Odetoyinbo also makes a remarkable impression as outspoken Sister Berthe.
Elsa, portrayed with flashy elegance by Janis Hudson, is a sophisticated, marginally manipulative socialite, with a taste for the finer things. In what could be a potentially unlikable character, Hudson strikes a delicate balance of a woman who struggles with what she wants and yet, wishes to do the right thing. She and Robert Orzalli as comical and seemingly smarmy Max are quite a comical pair, especially during the little known number, How Could Love Survive.
As wonderfully potent to the ears as visually vibrant, experience Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston’s ‘The Sound of Music’ though Sunday, July 21 at the Robinson Theatre, 617 Lexington Street in Waltham, Massachusetts. Reagle Music Theatre will soon cap off its summer musical season with the comedy classic, ‘La Cage aux Folles’ in August. Click here for more information and tickets. Follow Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston on Twitter and Facebook for upcoming events and more.