“The hills are alive …”
Wait. There aren’t any hills in Brunswick, however what the city is lucky to have is the Maine State Music Theatre, a blessing made evident by the corporate’s return after two COVID-constricted seasons. MSMT triumphantly reopened the Pickard Theater doorways this month with its revival of “The Sound of Music.”
Who wants hills amid the return of drills, thrills, trills and playbills?
“The Sound of Music,” not seen at MSMT since 2000, delivers consolation and familiarity. It’s a clever option to entice theatergoers to the velvet seats. Few individuals have by no means seen the present or film, and fewer nonetheless can chorus from buzzing alongside to the beloved songs that embrace “Do Re Mi” and “My Favourite Issues”. Although one may simply argue that the Academy’s Greatest Image award winner is the far more generally seen model of “The Sound of Music,” the movie and Broadway musical share almost an identical scenes with few minor exceptions.
For individuals who didn’t develop up with the annual Sunday night time film, the plot facilities on a younger postulant named Maria who leaves convent life to function governess to widower Captain Von Trapp’s seven kids, ranging in age from 16 to five. Regardless of pranks and a few head-butting with the captain, Maria rapidly adapts and thrives in her new place, gaining the kids’s respect and adoration.
In the meantime the captain is in want of a spouse and mom for his kids. May he see Maria as greater than a governess or will he decide to a wedding of wealth and comfort with Baroness Elsa? Will Maria return to convent life or will the 1938 Anschluss have an effect on their lives?
As recent and healthful as a newly picked alpine strawberry, MSMT’s manufacturing of this traditional Rodgers and Hammerstein musical is household pleasant, with a notable highlight on the Von Trapp kids who’re onstage for a lot of the present. Whether or not or not director Marc Robin deliberately determined to have the youngest actors seem extra typically than scripted advantages the general expertise. Casting director Bob Cline struck gold discovering seven gifted — and several other native — singers to play the Von Trapp kids.
Each time Portland first grader Josie Marzilli steps on stage as little Gretl, all eyes shift to her and never simply due to her hanging pink hair. She valiantly and adorably fought sleep to ship a closing solo greater than two hours into the Thursday night efficiency. Brunswick sixth grader Gregory Trapp, Jr. (any relation to the household?) as youthful son Kurt offers a robust vocal efficiency. Keep watch over him. And Kate Walters as Birgitta steal scenes in providing the required sardonic wit to counter the present’s sweetness. She effortlessly delivers comedic traces and collects the laughs.
Equally wide-eyed and dewy is the magnificent Hanley Smith as Maria. She performs the younger girl with a plausible mix of naivete and a eager understanding of human nature, particularly on the subject of regarding the kids. Smith’s expressive voice has the flexibleness and vary for the function and her tone blends magnificently with the attractive wealthy fullness of Will Ray’s timbre when Maria and the captain sing collectively. Beth Kirkpatrick portrays the required sympathetic but stern demeanor as Mom Abbess.
Blake Hammond seemingly walked proper out of Hollywood central casting circa 1939 to play Max, the formidable but lovable live performance promoter who’s clear in his “looking for himself” angle. And Katie Sina exudes Thirties stylish because the wealthy widow who has her eyes on the captain and his mansion. Sina and Hammond want a bit extra interplay after they sing the duet, “How Can Love Survive?” however their chemistry shines within the jibes and quips which can be as snappy as in any traditional discovered on TCM.
Anthony Lascoskie Jr. as costume designer and new employees particular person Kevin Koski as costume coordinator created a excessive society celebration scene in Act 2 that completely captures the kinds of the time. Much less profitable and correct are Maria’s costumes, particularly her sneakers, however the anachronisms are punchlines so this quibble could be neglected.
Scenic designer Michael Schweikardt invitations the viewers right into a peaceable house of consolation and reflection within the opening scene which contains a convent full of darkish wood arches and flickering candlelight illuminating the nuns’ evensong. A lot later, a easy but successfully chilling scene dressing of a microphone flanked by the big pink banners that includes the Nazi image shatters that peace towards the tip of the present. However when Will Ray steps into the highlight and sings the lullaby “Edelweiss” into that mic, the chilliness turns to heat because of Ray’s voice and Paul Black’s lighting design.
Being part of the viewers, seeing “The Sound of Music” stay and in particular person whereas surrounded by individuals who know and love the story of free-spirited Maria, helps one really feel like a part of society once more. Whether or not you could have seen “The Sound of Music” as soon as or 100 occasions, it’s properly value leaving the home, placing on a masks (or not, as it’s not required however most individuals had been sporting them), and shelling out the ticket value to see the Maine State Music Theatre’s manufacturing and help native theater.
“The Sound of Music” runs June 8 – June 25. For extra data, go to https://msmt.org/the-sound-of-music/