“The Sound of Music” was first performed on Broadway in 1959, and there’s a reason it’s still so popular after all these years.
It has everything: a likable young person trying to find her place in the world amidst difficult challenges; unexpected love and memorable songs; precocious children and triumph over a great evil. When Maria leaves the abbey to face the formidable Baron von Trapp and his ungovernable brood, it’s a reminder of how we all must leave the shelter of family and face the world on our own.
“The Sound of Music” is Theatre Cambrian’s first production of 2016, and it’s bound to draw devoted audiences again.
I’d be embarrassed to count how many times I’ve watched the movie version. Each new member of the family is a fresh excuse to see it.
But I’ve also seen the stage version several times and there are some big differences between the two — familiar songs are performed at different points in the story, plus a couple of stage songs aren’t included in the film and two songs written for the film are now often included in the stage production ("I Have Confidence" and "Something Good").
The stage play places even stronger emphasis on the politics of the time (the Nazi annexation of Austria) and less on Baroness Schraeder’s jealousy of Maria. It’s well worth seeing a stage production because the effect is quite different.
Some people aren’t interested in live productions of the show because “nobody else can be Julie Andrews,” but in the Theatre Cambrian production Jennae Marriott’s lovely voice is up to the challenge.
You may have seen a televised version a couple of years ago starring Carrie Underwood — Ms. Marriott reminds me a lot of Carrie. She’s surrounded by a cast that does excellent renditions of songs like “How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria,” “My Favourite Things” and “Do-Re-Mi.” I get chills when I hear “Climb Every Mountain” and Marissa Charette’s performance as the Mother Abbess is no exception.
The von Trapp children do a charming job with songs like “The Lonely Goatherd” and “So Long, Farewell.” Mekaela Raymond as Marta, Jazmyne Thompson as Gretl, and Montana McCulloch as Liesl handle their larger roles with solid ability. Tanya Saari as both Sister Margaretta and Baroness Schraeder is another standout (though a very different Baroness from the movie’s Eleanor Parker).
Whether it’s because you love a timeless story, or you want to hear all of those wonderful Rodgers & Hammerstein songs again, or you just need some sunshine in a dark winter, go enjoy “The Sound of Music.” Again.
The Sound Of Music runs at Theatre Cambrian through Jan. 23. The box office number is 705-524-7317 or go online to TheatreCambrian.ca.
Scott Overton is the author of the thriller Dead Air. He writes theatre reviews for Northern Life.