One of the undisputed classics of musical theater is undoubtedly The Sound of Music. Practically everyone has seen the classic movie on television and video. And now you can see it currently at Grand Rapids Civic Theater Wednesdays through Sundays until December 15th. The cast and crew put on an excellent event that exceeds the film version. A stage show of this caliber is just the thing that the season needs to uplift everyone to approaching holiday spirits.
The settings of this show stand out more than anything. The sets are spectacular, notably that of the mountaintop where the lead songstress Maria sings the title tune and later stages a daring escape from the inevitable Nazi takeover of Captain Von Trapp’s beloved Austria with her new family. The greenery and the granite reproductions restore the atmosphere of the hills of Austria, before the war clouds covered them up. The Von Trapp mansion is also notably reproduced, showcasing a classy grandeur of the Captain and his slew of children, along with their two servants, Frau Schmidt and Franz.
The cast is also excellent, boasting veterans of the stage and newcomers. Jessica Doyle, a voice teacher in the Grand Rapids area, plays the lead Maria with gusto and a pixie-like presence, sweet and nurturing at once. Meanwhile, David Duiven plays the Captain with a restrained formality that showcases professionalism as well as a restricted love that he eventually reveals. The children all give solid performances, especially the eldest daughter Liesl, played by Civic debutante Lydia Blickley, who performs an effortless and classic ballet routine in the number “Sixteen Going on Seventeen”, with her almost beau, the town messenger boy Rolf, played by Josh Regan. Special mention also goes to the unmatched talents of the nuns who open the musical with a wonderful rendition of the 110th Psalm, and the wonderful Darla Wortley reprising her award-winning turn as the Mother Abbess, mixing unquestioned authority with adorable moments of childishness and exquisite vocals to boot!
If you had doubts about this serving as an appropriate holiday theatrical outing, think again. The show has so much zest and upbeat cheer in the face of danger that no one shall leave the auditorium unhappy. Go out and buy your tickets, the show is still proving a popular draw after all these years.