Monday, February 20, 2012

The Sound of Music

I have quite the connection to some musicals. For whatever reason they stick with me. I can pin down my connection to The Sound of Music. Most of the lullabies my mom sang to me as a kid were from The Sound of Music, with a few mixed in from My Fair Lady, West Side Story, and South Pacific.

Later on in my life, The Sound of Music followed me. When I moved away from home for the first time, I bought two movies to take with me. The Sound of Music was one of them. Later, when I took my required music and art appreciation class in college I wrote my term paper on the effect of war on art & music. Naturally, The Sound of Music made it into my paper.

During my research for the paper, I discovered the book Forever Liesl: A Memoir of The Sound of Music written by Charmian Carr, who played Liesl in the movie. After sending a fan email of sorts to Ms. Carr, I got a response from her editor that they were composing a second book called Letters to Liesl and asked if they could include my email in the book. I agreed of course, and ended up with yet another connection to The Sound of Music.

The Sound of Music was one of the first shows of the year at Cumberland County Playhouse. It was, of course, at the top of my "must see" list. I was lucky enough to get to see it this past weekend when I went to Crossville and had a two-show day (more about the other show in another post!).

In case, by some miracle, you don't know the story, I'll give you a brief rundown. Maria is a postulant at Nonnberg Abbey in Austria in the 30s. World War II is happening all around them, but Austira has yet to become Nazi occupied. Quite the unlikely and troublesome girl in the abbey, the Mother Abbess sends Maria to the home of retired Naval Captain von Trapp to care for his seven children.

Maria helps to bring life, love and music to the von Trapp home and in the midst she learns about herself and that things aren't always supposed to go the way we think they should. Maria falls in love with the children, and they with her. Along the way, Maria also falls in love with the Captain.

The cast of this production is huge. I don't mean a little bit huge. According to the playbill the cast numbers 106. YIKES! Directed by Weslie Webster (quite well, I might add), this production turned out to be one of the most beautiful things I'd seen in a while. Perhaps because of my emotional attachment to the show, and perhaps because of the extremely high quality of this production, I spent much of the two and a half hours with tear in my eyes.

Lindy Pendzick & Stephen Len White
Picture taken from CCP's Facebook page.
Lindy Pendzick played the lead role of Maria. I have never seen Lindy perform anything but perfection, but her complete beauty and innocence in the role of Maria made my heart smile. Add in her lovely voice and I have to say that this may be my favorite role I've ever seen her play.

A newbie to the Playhouse, but coming in with quit the resume, Stephen Len White played the role of Captain von Trapp. I'm always curious of what to expect when there are new people on stage at CCP. Mr. White performed the role with talent, grace, and the perfect amount of emotion. His voice was haunting at times and defiantely stayed with me, even after the show was over.

Mother Abbess was played by Brenda Frye. In my opionion, the vocals required for the role of Mother Abbess are quite extensive and Brenda Frey did a fantastic job in both the vocals and the acting. I especially love the scene in which she and Maria sing "My Favorite Things" together. It shows such a human and fun side to a character that one would think should be nothing but serious.

Other notables in the cast were Jason Ross, who played the role of Max Detweiller (no surprise there, Mr. Comedy), and Lauren Marshall Murphey, who played the Baroness Schrader. Three casts of children rotate the roles of the von Trapp children and the role of Rolf, beau of the oldest von Trapp child. I was blessed to see the Red cast group and they were wonderful. Of course, the littlest von Trapp, Gretl, steals  hearts no matter who plays the role, but this child, Sasha Villaruz, was adorable AND talented. No a line was forgotten and I don't think there was a time the child spoke or sang that the entire audience didn't give a collective "Awww..."

The set was designed by Leonard Harman, with lighting by E. Tonry Lathroum. The two work well together because the mood of the scenes was nearly always set by the lighting with the set complimenting it beautifully. My most notable moment regarding this was when Captain von Trapp sang "Edelweiss" near the end of the show. At that time I felt the entire mood of the audience change and I would lay money on the fact that it had almost everything to do with the change in scenery and the lighting changes at that moment.

Overall this show is a beautiful production with some amazing talent. It's a show I think everyone should see at least once, and while I might be slightly biased due to my love of the show and of CCP, this production would be a great opportunity for anyone to experience The Sound of Music.

You can see The Sound of Music at The Cumberland County Playhouse throuch April 6th. You can get tickets by calling 931-484-5000 or by clicking HERE.

1 comment:

  1. The Sound Of Music was the first stage production that I saw. And it holds a special place for me too.

    What was your first stage show you ever saw? Actually, email me. I want to talk about you guest-blogging/podcasting the story. If you're interested.