I could describe last night's musical experience in three words for you- beautiful, nostalgic, and captivating. But, because I have a flair for specifics, I'm going to tell you all about why I absolutely loved the new The Sound of Music production, directed by three time Tony Award winning director, Jack O' Brien, in great detail! There's a reason The Sound of Music is the most successful movie musical of all time.
First and foremost, I cried my way through the whole performance. Chalk it up to nostalgia, but The Sound of Music was one of my favorite films growing up. I performed Do-Re-Mi in my Kindergarten end of year program and I have been in love with the story since.
With O'Brien at the helm, the musical has definitely seen a slight face lift, particularly with the inclusion of a younger and more energetic Maria, played by newcomer, Kerstin Anderson. If you were expecting a replica of Julie Andrew's Maria, well, you are in for a surprise. Kerstin is not only physically, a younger Maria, but she brings a fresh and enthusiastic vibrancy to the role, evident in her interaction with the Von Trapp children, who are quick to fall in love with her. Sometimes, she seems almost kid-like herself!
I have many memorable moments from last night's show, but a duet of My Favorite Things sung by Maria and Mother Abbess (played by a phenomenal Ashley Brown), literally gave me goosebumps. It was such a tender moment between these two leading ladies.
Another performance that literally brought me to tears, was Ashley Brown's (Mother Abbess) rendition of Climb Ev'ry Mountain. The audience came alive when she hit the final note of that song and the applause continued well after the curtain dropped. It was a show-stopping performance. As my husband said, 'she just stole the whole show.'
The Von Trapp children were all charming and engaging and they each complimented the other in musical style and personality. The exchange between the witty Brigitta and a dumbfounded Maria on the staircase on the night of the party (Brigitta confirms what we all know by now- Maria and the Captain are in love), was surely funny and sweet! And their performance of So Long, Farewell was just as enchanting and melodious as I remember it (If I could only get my four year old to sing like that before bed every night)!
The power of a great musical is falling in love with it all over again no matter how well you know it or how many times you've seen it. There's a scene in the production where after banning music from his home and turning his children into 'marching machines' as Maria jokingly calls them, the Captain (played by a dashing Ben Davis) returns from his trip ready to dismiss Maria, only to be distracted by the sound of his children's singing. It is at that moment, that you witness this grand and powerful man, let down his emotional walls to feel the beauty and joy of what he's been missing all along. He comes alive and the rest is history.
Before I wrap up my recap, I must make note of Merwin Foard, who plays the self-proclaimed 'lovable' and unforgettable, Max Detweiler. His robust delivery during the How Can Love Survive number, was a definite scene stealer! My husband and I sat mouth-agape in awe of his vocals and presence. I have a new love for Max!
The Sound of Music continues to captivate audiences, old and young, with its classic story, it's invigorating music, and beautiful set design! What a wonderful excuse to enjoy a night at the theater with your family!
The Sound of Music is playing through January 3rd at the Ziff Ballet House at the Adrienne Arsht Center (http://www.arshtcenter.org/tickets/calendar/2015-2016-season/broadway-in-miami/the-sound-of-music/) and you can find tickets for as low as $29! Don't miss out on this extraordinary opportunity to catch the Roger and Hammerstein classic!